A dog bite is incredibly stressful, both in terms of the potential injuries and the overall traumatic nature of the incident. After all, most of the dogs you encounter in Kentucky will be well-behaved and trained. But that doesn’t mean that you won’t get bitten, and when you do, it’s extremely important to your overall recovery to take legal action and to understand your legal rights in these situations.
At Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, we can help you do this. Our team of experienced Kentucky dog bite lawyers understand how the law approaches these incidents and what you need to do to fully explore your legal options. Don’t wait–contact us today for a free consultation to learn more.
What Legal Rights Do You Have After a Kentucky Dog Bite?
What makes a dog bite different from other personal injury cases in Kentucky is the fact that the law holds owners to “strict liability.” This means that, regardless of the circumstances, the owner is responsible for covering your injuries and damages.
In terms of your legal rights, this means two things:
- You can file an injury claim against the dog’s owner
- You don’t have to establish negligence on the part of the owner, you just have to prove that the dog is owned or controlled by them
From there, your legal options are clear: filing a claim, either through their insurance or a personal injury lawsuit. Both will allow you to recover certain “damages”:
- Medical expenses – Dog bites often result in serious injuries requiring immediate medical attention. This includes coverage for all medical costs like hospital bills, surgeries, prescription medications, rehabilitation, and any ongoing medical treatment. The goal is to ensure you receive necessary care without facing a financial burden.
- Lost income – If a dog bite prevents you from working, you may experience a loss of income. Compensation for lost wages accounts for the income you’ve missed due to your injury, preventing financial hardship resulting from the incident.
- Pain and suffering – Beyond physical injuries, dog bites can cause emotional and psychological distress. This category acknowledges the emotional trauma, pain, and suffering you endure due to the incident, offering financial support for intangible hardships.
- Property damage – Dogs may damage personal property during an attack, like destroying clothing or belongings. This category covers any property damage and ensures reimbursement for these losses.
- Scarring and disfigurement – Dog bites can lead to permanent scarring or disfigurement, impacting self-esteem and overall quality of life. Compensation in this category addresses the physical changes and emotional distress resulting from scarring or disfigurement.
- Punitive damages – In specific situations, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the dog owner for gross negligence or reckless behavior. These damages act as a deterrent and can be significant in cases of extreme misconduct by the dog’s owner.
How Can Our Kentucky Dog Bite Lawyers Help You?
Dealing with insurance companies during the claims process can be complicated, despite the fact that the law is on your side in terms of your options–and their insured’s liability. They often try to pay as little as possible, leading to disputes. It’s important to know they prioritize profit over your best interests. That’s why working with experienced lawyers like us is crucial. Here’s how we can help you:
- Investigation – Our team always conducts a thorough investigation of the dog bite incident, including visiting the scene, gathering witness statements, reviewing security footage, and obtaining relevant documents.
- Figuring out liability – We can identify all potentially responsible parties, such as the dog owner, property manager, or property owner if negligence is a factor.
- Establishing fault – We’ll work to establish the dog owner’s liability for the attack and confirm that you were lawfully on the property.
- Gathering evidence – A big part of our approach involves assisting you in collecting medical records and other losses to evaluate your damages.
- Communicating and negotiating with insurance companies – We manage all communication and negotiation with the dog owner’s insurance company to secure a fair settlement on your behalf, leveraging our experience with insurance adjusters.
- Legal action – We’ll file a lawsuit and represent you in court if a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiations, fighting for your rights in court and presenting your case before a judge and jury. Further, we’ll make sure that your claim is filed within Kentucky’s statute of limitations (currently one year from the date of the accident) to protect your right to seek compensation.
Getting compensation in Kentucky for dog bites can be challenging, even when fault is clear. This challenge can be heightened when you’re simply trying to help someone else and get bitten. Regardless of the circumstances, dealing with insurance companies is inevitable to recover your damages. That’s why having our experienced team of Kentucky dog bite lawyers is a wise choice. We know how to handle these cases effectively.
What Could Trigger a Dog Bite in Kentucky?
The reality is, even a well-behaved and trained dog may find a particular environment in Kentucky overwhelming. Additionally, not everyone follows a place’s no-pet policy. While this raises liability concerns, encountering a dog while being out and about in Kentucky is quite probable. So, the question is, what might lead a dog to bite you or a loved one? Like any other incident, there’s a variety of factors that go into a dog bite:
- No restraints – If a dog is not properly restrained or kept on a leash, it may pose a risk to others, increasing the likelihood of a bite.
- Aggression – Dogs may display aggression due to fear, anxiety, or territorial instincts. Feeling threatened or cornered can prompt a dog to react aggressively.
- Not being properly supervised – Inadequate supervision by a dog owner can lead to encounters with other people, potentially resulting in a dog bite incident.
- Poor training or socialization – Dogs that haven’t been properly trained or socialized may react negatively in new or busy environments, making them more prone to biting.
- Health issues – Dogs in pain or with health problems may be more likely to bite as a defensive reaction.
- Protective instincts – Some dogs may have strong protective instincts, leading them to bite if they perceive a threat to themselves, their owners, or territory.
- Fear – Dogs that feel frightened may resort to biting as a way to protect themselves from perceived threats.
Understanding these triggers can help you take precautions and prevent dog bites in Kentucky. It’s essential to promote responsible pet ownership, proper training, and awareness of dog behavior to minimize the risk of incidents. If a dog bite does occur, seeking medical attention and understanding legal options are crucial steps to take.
Contact Our Experienced Kentucky Dog Bite Lawyers
There’s no situation that should result in the trauma and harm of a dog bite. Unfortunately, this is a fairly common occurrence throughout the state. At Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, our team of seasoned Kentucky dog bite lawyers can make sure your rights are safeguarded. We work to provide you with every opportunity to access the benefits and support available under the law.
If you’ve been bitten by a dog anywhere in Kentucky, reach out to us today for a free consultation and let us help you recover.