A dog bite can happen anywhere in Kentucky, virtually at any time. However, there are certain situations and conditions where a dog is much more likely to bite you or a loved one. One of the most common of these is when a dog is not restrained by a leash, and is just running free. In response to this, most Kentucky cities and towns have “leash laws” on their books that require owners to keep their dogs leashed when on public property.
Get the Help You Need After a Kentucky Dog Bite
If you’ve been bitten by a dog in Kentucky, it’s crucial to get the legal help you need. At Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, we understand the difficulties of dealing with dog bite injuries– especially if the dog wasn’t properly leashed. Regardless of the situation, we’re here to guide you through the process of seeking financial benefits and support from the dog’s owner and other potentially responsible parties.
Our skilled team of Kentucky dog bite lawyers is prepared to discuss your legal possibilities and stand with you and your loved ones as you move forward with your claim. Contact us today for a free consultation.
What Should You Do After a Kentucky Dog Bite?
No matter how it happens, a dog bite can be extremely traumatic. A common reason that many dog bites happen in Kentucky is when the dog itself is off its leash. Normally, a dog may bite when it feels threatened or when it’s trying to defend its owner or territory. However, if a dog is running free and uncontrolled, it may also feel the need to bite out of stress or simply from the lack of control.
Regardless of the surrounding circumstances, if you get bitten by a dog in Kentucky, it’s important to take the following steps to protect your health and any potential legal claim:
- Ensure your safety – Move away from the dog to a safe distance to avoid further bites or attacks.
- Seek medical aid – Even if the bite seems minor, clean the wound thoroughly and seek medical attention. Dog bites not only leave puncture wounds but can also lead to infections and other complications.
- Document the incident – Gather evidence of the injury, where the bite occurred, and any recognizable features of the dog and owner. These records can be valuable if you decide to take legal steps.
- Identify the dog and owner if possible – If you can, try to identify the dog and its owner. This information is important for reporting the incident and any potential legal actions. It might be more difficult if the dog is off-leash, but local authorities or witnesses can help.
- Exchange contact information – If you can identify the dog’s owner, exchange contact details. This could be useful for legal or medical requirements.
- Report the incident – Reach out to local animal control and law enforcement to report the dog bite. Provide them with as much information as possible. This will create a record of the incident and can help you with any identification.
Keep in mind that taking quick and appropriate steps following a dog bite is crucial for both your safety and any potential legal actions. Still, it’s important to understand how both local and state law in Kentucky approaches dog bites.
Leash Laws in Kentucky
Again, there’s no statewide leash law for dogs in Kentucky. Rather, the state leaves it up to the individual city, town, or county governments to establish laws for how dogs are to be controlled. Thus, in taking a look at some of the more prominent leash laws across Kentucky, it shows the importance of keeping dogs properly controlled:
- Jefferson County Code Section 91.002 – In Louisville and throughout Jefferson County, all dogs are required to be restrained at all times. This means that if you have a dog and are walking it out in public, you’re required to have it on a leash that doesn’t exceed four feet in length. In addition, “dangerous dogs” are required to have a muzzle.
- Lexington/Fayette County – Under the law in Lexington and throughout Fayette County, all dogs must be on a leash, inside a fenced area, or on their owner’s property while being supervised whenever they’re outside. Dogs aren’t allowed to roam freely, even if they’re being controlled by voice commands. Additionally, they need to wear their up-to-date license and rabies tags at all times.
- City of Bowling Green – Any dog in Bowling Green must either be kept on a leash or confined to the owner’s premises at all times. This is for the safety of not only the public but for the dog as well. In addition, if Animal Protection detains an unleashed dog, it will be placed in the care of the Bowling Green-Warren County Humane Society. Apart from the fees related to the impoundment, owners could receive a citation and be subject to fines due to a breach of the City Ordinance.
You’ll find similar laws in towns and counties throughout Kentucky. However, it’s important to understand that just having these laws in place doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get bitten by a dog. Thus, if this happens to you, you need to know what your options are.
What Legal Options Do You Have After a Kentucky Dog Bite?
Leash laws aren’t the only laws pertaining to dog bites in Kentucky. There’s also a legal framework for managing cases of dog bites and determining accountability. This framework is referred to as “strict liability,” which holds that an individual:
- Could be held responsible for an injury even if the harmful incident wasn’t intentional.
So, when you experience a dog bite in Kentucky, the owner of the dog is deemed liable and is required to cover the costs associated with your injuries. Kentucky’s dog bite law also covers additional aspects of liability:
- The owner remains liable even if the dog bite happens in a public area or on private premises where the injured person was invited–like a store or dog park.
- You can’t seek damages if it’s determined that you provoked the dog into attacking.
For your situation, this means that in the majority of instances involving dog bites, the owner of the dog will be held liable for your injuries. The only circumstances under which the owner wouldn’t be held responsible for your injuries are if you were trespassing on the owner’s property or if you provoked the dog to bite you.
Generally speaking, as a dog bite victim in Kentucky, you have two options for recovering damages from the owner: filing an insurance claim with their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance or filing a lawsuit. Obviously, in cases where a dog is running off its leash, this can be made a bit more challenging. However, by working with our team of experienced Kentucky dog bite lawyers, we can help you cover all your bases.
Regardless of which option you choose, and sometimes you may choose both, you can recover much-needed financial support for your injuries and any other losses. In legal terms, these are known as “damages.” In a typical Kentucky dog bite claim, these include:
- Expenses related to medical bills and ongoing care, including surgery, physical therapy, and rehabilitation.
- Support for the pain and suffering you went through.
- Recovery of damages for emotional distress the incident caused.
- Reimbursement for lost income due to the incident.
- Coverage for any property damage resulting from the incident.
- Potential punitive damages, if the dog owner’s behavior displayed significant negligence.
Despite the existence of strict liability laws in place, each dog bite case is unique in its own circumstances. Additionally, the outcome of any claim cannot be guaranteed. Nevertheless, working with our team of skilled and committed dog bite lawyers can ease the burden on you and your family. We can manage the day-to-day tasks associated with your claim, enabling you to focus on your recovery.
Supportive Kentucky Dog Bite Lawyers
Most dogs are loving companions to families, providing constant affection and companionship. This makes dog bite incidents sad and upsetting. Usually, dogs are just protecting their territory based on instinct. But being a dog owner in Kentucky comes with a big responsibility. So, if a dog bite happens to you because the owner doesn’t have it leashed properly, Kentucky law says the owner must take responsibility and be accountable for any injuries that result.
If you or someone you care about was bitten by a dog in Kentucky and want to know what you can do, contact our knowledgeable dog bite lawyers for a free consultation.