In Kentucky, if a dog owned by someone injures you, the owner is held responsible, even if the dog hasn’t bitten you or anyone else before, or doesn’t have a history of aggression. In legal terms, this is known as “strict liability.” If you experience a dog bite in Kentucky, the owner is required to cover your expenses, especially if the injury is severe.
Here at Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, we know the distress that dog bites can cause. We’re ready to help you in navigating the legal process of seeking compensation from the dog’s owner. Our team will outline your legal options and provide a straightforward guide for the claims process. Dealing with dog bites can be challenging, but our knowledgeable Kentucky dog bite lawyers are here to simplify the process for you. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Kentucky Law and Dog Bites
In some states, they have a “one bite” rule for dogs, where any dog–but particularly ones that haven’t shown a history of aggression–can have one “free” bite incident and their owner won’t be punished. Kentucky, however, has no such rule. Rather, the law provides that:
- Owners are responsible for any injuries or damage caused by their dog, regardless of whether they’ve shown a history of aggression
This “strict liability” applies in every situation where a dog bites or causes an injury, regardless of outside circumstances. In simple terms, this means that the dog owner’s insurance carrier is responsible for covering your injuries. So, it’s important to understand what this means in terms of you being able to file a claim.
Does Kentucky Have a One-Bite Rule?
There’s a key difference in the claims process for any injury in Kentucky, even dog bites. Basically, there are two interrelated options: filing an insurance claim and filing a personal injury lawsuit. The main difference between an insurance claim and a lawsuit is that an insurance claim is typically resolved “out of court,” where you file a claim with the dog owner’s insurance company following an accident. Conversely, a lawsuit is a formal legal action taken in a court setting to seek compensation.
The decision to pursue an insurance claim or file a lawsuit depends on various factors, such as:
- The amount of financial support needed for your injuries.
- The specific details of your case.
- Your personal preferences regarding the effort required.
Here’s a quick overview of the two processes:
Filing an Insurance Claim
When injuries occur, involving an insurance company becomes a necessary step. Once you file your injury claim for assessment, the insurance company will contact you. They may choose to accept the claim as presented, propose an alternative amount, or outright reject it–although this is rare in dog bite cases, where liability is mostly straightforward. The typical process of an insurance claim involves the insurance provider and their representative, known as an adjuster, taking the following actions:
- Conducting thorough investigations into the insurance claim.
- Collecting crucial documents, such as photos, videos, and witness statements.
- Evaluating the coverage of the claimed loss under the insurance policy.
- Determining the appropriate amount for reimbursement.
- Assessing the legitimacy of claims.
- Communicating with the claimants’ doctors or employers for additional information in cases of doubt.
- Seeking advice from legal advisors when necessary.
- Engaging in negotiations to reach settlements.
- Approving payments for authorized claims.
Filing a Lawsuit
In certain situations, if reaching an agreement with the insurance company proves challenging, your next step may involve taking legal action by filing a lawsuit against the individual responsible for your accident. Typically, this person is represented by their insurance company. This legal process involves presenting your case in a court of law, where a judge or jury carefully evaluates the arguments and evidence before reaching a verdict.
When you file a personal injury lawsuit in Kentucky, the goal is to seek compensation for the significant injuries you’ve suffered. In legal terms, this compensation is referred to as “damages,” intended to reimburse you for the losses you suffered due to the accident or injury. Common types of damages available in dog bite claim includes:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship
- Scarring or disfigurement
- In certain cases, punitive damages
The severity of your injuries and the specific details surrounding your accident will play a crucial role in determining your course of action. In many cases, it’s in your best interest to file both an insurance claim and a lawsuit to make sure you pursue the full compensation you deserve. Before you do that, though, you should speak with our team of highly experienced Ketucky dog bite lawyers.
Should You Hire a Lawyer in a Kentucky Dog Bite Claim?
It’s common in the aftermath of a dog bite injury to feel overwhelmed. That’s why it’s essential to know that you don’t have to navigate this challenging situation alone. While Kentucky doesn’t mandate legal representation, having our team by your side can significantly influence the outcome of your claim.
Our approach is all about tailoring our assistance to your specific needs. With our knowledge and strategic approach, we aim to build a strong case that ensures you receive the compensation you rightfully deserve. Letting us handle negotiations with the insurance company can benefit you in several ways:
- Experience – Our team has extensive experience in dealing with dog bite claims and all that comes with them. From negotiating with insurance companies to helping you file a lawsuit, we’ll stand by your side the whole way and give you guidance on how to proceed.
- Evaluating your claim – Most of the time, an insurance company is going to try to pay you less than you deserve–even in a dog bite claim. Our lawyers understand how to evaluate claims, so they can figure out the real value of your dog bite claim. We carefully look at how the accident affected you, collect important evidence, and work hard to get you the financial support you rightfully deserve.
- Standing up for your rights – Insurance companies have teams to protect themselves, but our personal injury lawyers are here for you. We make sure your rights are protected. If the insurance company tries anything unfair, we fight back and work tirelessly to make sure you get a fair and right settlement.
- Easing your burden – Navigating insurance negotiations can be exceptionally stressful, especially when recovering from an injury. Our lawyers take charge of all communication, paperwork, and legal intricacies on your behalf. This eases the burden, allowing you to concentrate on your recovery without unnecessary stress.
What Should You Do After Being Bitten by a Dog in Kentucky?
The aftermath of being bitten by a dog is important not only as it relates to the claims process, but your overall health:
- Get to safety – If the dog displays continued aggression or poses a threat, move to a secure location to prevent further harm.
- Seek immediate medical attention – Regardless of the bite’s severity, promptly consult with a healthcare professional. Dog bites carry the risk of infections or complications, making it crucial to have the wound examined promptly.
- Report the incident – Inform the dog’s owner or any relevant parties about the dog bite occurrence. This ensures appropriate actions are taken and documents the incident.
- Identify the dog’s owner – If possible, try to get information about the dog’s owner. This will be necessary for reporting the incident and seeking financial support for your damages.
- Gather witness information – If there are witnesses present, collect their contact details. They may provide valuable insights if needed at a later stage.
- Document the incident – Take pictures of the dog bite and any injuries sustained. Make notes regarding the time, location, and circumstances surrounding the incident.
- Contact local animal control – Report the dog bite to the local animal control agency. They can conduct an investigation, check the dog’s vaccination records, and ensure public safety.
Remember, these steps are not just important for keeping yourself healthy but also for gathering crucial information in case you need to make legal or insurance claims after a dog bite. Your quick and effective response increases the chances of successful claims.
Experienced Kentucky Dog Bite Lawyers Will Fight For You
If you’ve been bitten by a dog in Kentucky, getting the right legal support is crucial. At Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, we understand the importance of protecting your health and legal rights. You don’t have to face this situation alone. Our team of Kentucky dog bite lawyers has the experience, knowledge, and dedication to support you.
We are committed to working tirelessly to achieve the best outcome for your case and make sure you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.