Getting bitten by a dog can lead to a bunch of potential outcomes, but they almost always affect both your well-being and your ability to go about your daily routine. In Kentucky, the law allows you to seek compensation for damages, and it holds dog owners responsible for any harm caused by their dogs under the “strict liability” principle.
Even with this legal protection, dealing with a dog bite is a serious matter that requires assistance. That’s where our team at the Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC comes in. Our Kentucky dog bite lawyers are here to walk you through your options and guide you through the claims process. Feel free to reach out for a free consultation today.
Liability in Kentucky Dog Bites For Trespassers
Generally speaking, a Kentucky dog’s owner is responsible for any injuries or damages their dog causes in a bite or attack. While there is no exception in terms of the law, there are certain scenarios where liability isn’t as straightforward. One of the most common is if you’re trespassing on the dog owner’s property.
It’s here that Kentucky’s premises liability law comes into play. Basically, the property owner’s duty to keep others safe and free of hazards doesn’t apply as heavily to trespassers. However, as a dog bite victim, you’re still able to file a claim because of the “strict liability” principle.
That said, because this is a tricky scenario, the circumstances are extremely important. As a victim that was trespassing, you’ll need to be able to show:
- Determining ownership or control – Identify who owned or was in charge of the dog when the bite occurred.
- Circumstances of trespassing – Clarify the specific details surrounding the trespassing incident. Were you on private property without permission? This factor might affect your ability to file a claim.
- Assessing dog aggression – Provide evidence of the dog’s past aggressive behavior. This can be challenging if the bite was the dog’s first offense.
- Owner’s negligence – Demonstrate that the dog owner failed to exercise proper control over the dog, especially considering the trespassing situation. Were there insufficient warnings or restraints in place?
- Establishing causation – Establish a direct connection between the dog owner’s negligence and the injuries you sustained. Did their lack of control lead to the dog bite?
- Comparative negligence consideration – Keep in mind that Kentucky operates on a comparative negligence system. If your trespassing played a role in the incident, it could impact the amount of damages you’re eligible to receive.
How Can Our Team of Kentucky Dog Bite Lawyers Help You?
Obviously, this scenario is legally complex. That’s why it’s extremely important to have experienced, knowledgeable lawyers on your side to help you navigate this situation and do everything you can to gain some measure of compensation. Here’s how our team can help you:
- Case evaluation – We will conduct a thorough review of your case to determine the legal merits and assess liability. This includes examining the circumstances of the dog bite, the severity of the injuries, and any available evidence.
- Legal advice – Our team will provide you with legal advice tailored to your specific situation. We can explain your rights, the relevant laws in Kentucky regarding dog bites, and the potential legal options available to you.
- Gathering evidence – We will work to gather all relevant evidence to support your case. This may include medical records, witness statements, and any documentation of the dog’s history of aggressive behavior.
- Negotiation and settlement evaluation – Our experienced lawyers can engage in negotiations with the dog owner’s insurance company or legal representation to seek a fair settlement on your behalf. We will advocate for compensation to cover medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.
- Legal representation in court – If a fair settlement cannot be reached, our team is prepared to provide strong legal representation in court. We will build a compelling case to present before a judge and jury, seeking the compensation you deserve.
- Support and guidance – Throughout the legal process, our team will provide you with support and guidance. We understand the emotional and physical toll of a dog bite, and we are committed to helping you navigate the legal system.
Again, because this is such a complex legal situation, having our team on your side is extremely important to your overall chances. While you can file a claim without having a lawyer, you’re ultimately going to go up against an insurance company with less than favorable circumstances. So, in order to make sure you’re treated fairly, it’s important to work with our team during the legal process.
Claims Process in a Kentucky Dog Bite When You Were Trespassing
When it comes to handling your dog bite claim in Kentucky, it’s essential to understand how insurance companies approach the process–particularly if you were trespassing on the owner’s property. Comparative negligence is just one of the tactics they might use to diminish the value of your claim. The primary objective for insurance companies is to minimize expenses, aiming to pay you as little as possible. To achieve this goal, adjusters and investigators employ various strategies, focusing on:
- Delay – The initial step involves prolonging the claim process as much as possible. This can include administrative delays, such as providing unclear guidance on claim forms or consistently requesting additional documentation. Some insurers might impose tight deadlines for filing claims. Another delaying tactic is presenting a low settlement offer, anticipating your refusal and thereby extending the overall process.
- Deny – If delaying tactics prove insufficient, insurance companies may attempt to outright deny your claim. In dog bite cases, this is challenging due to strict liability. However, insurers may still try to create confusion regarding the incident’s circumstances. They might aim to obtain a detrimental statement from you, accuse you of not seeking timely medical attention, or argue that you failed to report the incident promptly.
- Defend – When the first two strategies fall short, the third approach involves using the insurance company’s substantial resources to defend against a lawsuit. Lawsuits are inherently uncertain, even in dog bite cases with strict liability. Additionally, litigation is time-consuming and costly, and insurance companies are well-equipped to endure a prolonged legal battle.
Dealing with an insurance company in a dog bite claim mirrors the challenges faced in other personal injury claims. The goal is to minimize the insurer’s financial exposure. Therefore, taking immediate action after a dog bite is crucial to ensure the viability of your claim.
What to Do After a Dog Bites You
The tactics employed by insurance companies revolve around your actions in the aftermath of the incident. Given strict liability, your prompt response is a critical aspect of the defense against potential devaluation of your claim. Here’s what you should do immediately after a dog bite:
- Seek immediate medical attention.
- Document the bite wound and other incident details.
- Follow your doctor’s wound-cleaning instructions.
- Report the incident to local animal control authorities.
- Identify witnesses.
These actions not only strengthen your claim but also provide a solid medical and legal foundation for your damages, which may include:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Lost income
- Property damage
Help From Experienced Kentucky Dog Bite Lawyers
While every case is unique, a dog bite claim in Kentucky is relatively straightforward, especially when compared to other personal injury claims. However, a positive outcome is never guaranteed. With our experienced team by your side, we can guide you through the process, ensuring your claim is as strong as possible. Contact us today for a free consultation.