Lexington has many offerings for owners of dogs to let their pets explore and roam to burn off some energy. Of the city’s many offerings, this includes dog parks. Lexington’s numerous dog parks provide a great place for both dogs and their owners to meet, socialize, and play. However, sometimes dogs can still become alarmed or protective in these environments and end up biting someone.
Under normal circumstances, when a dog bite happens in Kentucky, the dog’s owner is responsible for any resulting injuries or damages because of the state’s “strict liability” statute. But what happens if you’re bitten while at a dog park? Figuring out liability in these situations can be a bit confusing, but it’s nonetheless important because you will likely need medical treatment to pay for.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Lexington Dog Bite Lawyer
You shouldn’t have to face the burden of a dog bite injury in Lexington alone. No matter how serious your injuries are, you have the right under Kentucky law to recover support and damages from the dog’s owner.
The easiest way to do this is to schedule a free consultation session with a skilled Lexington dog bite lawyer at Kaufman & Stigger. With our free consultations, you can find out what you’ll need to demand in an insurance claim and understand what your other legal options are. Insurance companies have various methods to devalue your potential claim, but with our team by your side, we can make sure that your potential claim remains strong.
To learn more, contact us to schedule your free consultation.
Kentucky Dog Bite Laws
In Kentucky, there are specific laws that govern dog bites and who is responsible. Legally, speaking, Kentucky is a “strict liability” state, which means that the owner of the dog that bit you is considered liable for an injury, even if the harmful incident was not caused intentionally.
Kentucky has further protections for dog bites, which differs from most other states. While other states have exceptions to strict liability in cases where a dog bite victim was trespassing on the owner’s property illegally or provoked the dog into attacking them, Kentucky has no such exceptions. This means that, regardless of where or how a dog bite happens in Kentucky, the owner is responsible for your injuries and damages.
While strict liability always puts the liability for a dog bite on the owner in Kentucky, our state does also have a “comparative negligence” statute for injury claims. What this means is that in a dog bite case, any percentage of fault attributed to you can be deducted from your gross award. So, if you were found to be 15% at fault for the dog bite incident, 15% of your gross damages will be deducted from your overall settlement.
Lexington Dog Park Tips and Guidelines
While dog bites do occur at many of the dog parks scattered around Lexington, the fact is that most, if not all of them, are preventable. Dog parks in Lexington are considered public property, meaning that anyone can access them, even if they have a larger or more aggressive dog. This scenario can often lead to dog bite injuries, but there are several steps that you can take for you and your dog to avoid a dog bite incident in Lexington, along with some dog park guidelines that the city puts in place to keep owners and other dogs safe:
- Dogs should be on a leash at all times while at a dog park, especially if they have never been to that particular park before. Letting a dog run unsupervised through a dog park commonly leads to biting incidents.
- If a dog’s owner knows that the dog has the potential to be dangerous, they shouldn’t take them to any dog park at all. Most “dangerous dogs” haven’t been properly socialized or have a traumatic past, and being at a dog park can trigger the animal.
- If a dog has a history of biting or injuring someone, the owner shouldn’t bring them to a dog park, even if the dog is secure on a leash.
- Most of Lexington’s dog parks have separate areas for larger and smaller dogs. Thus, larger dogs shouldn’t be in “small-dog areas” and vice-versa. When larger dogs are in a smaller dog’s area, they can attack the smaller dog and cause serious harm to them–along with someone else.
Unfortunately, even with these tips and guidelines in place, dog bites can still happen at a Lexington dog park. When they do, it’s important to know what to do next. The steps you take in the immediate aftermath of a dog bite can be extremely important to a potential claim you make for damages.
What to Do After a Dog Bites You In Lexington
Even though strict liability applies in a Kentucky dog bite claim, insurance companies will still try any way they can to devalue your claim. Usually, their strategy centers on any inaction or misstep you make after the bite occurred. With strict liability, this is really the only option the insurance company has. Thus, it’s extremely important to do the following after a dog bites you in Lexington:
- Seek medical attention
- Document the bite wound and other details of the incident
- Follow your doctor’s wound-cleaning orders
- Report the incident to local animal control officers
- Identify witnesses
Taking these actions will make sure that your claim remains solid and viable. This is very important because a Lexington dog bite most likely has left you injured and in need of medical care. This care costs time and money, so any insurance claim you make will take this damage into account. In a Lexington dog bite claim, the following damages are usually available:
- Medical bills and ongoing care, like rehabilitation
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost income
- Any property damage related to the incident, such as a damaged phone or broken sunglasses.
- Punitive damages, if the dog owner’s conduct was particularly negligent.
While Kentucky’s strict liability makes a dog bite claim fairly straightforward, every case is unique. Thus, there is never a guarantee of a positive outcome. But with our team of experienced and skilled Kentucky dog bite lawyers by your side to guide you through the claims process, we can help make sure your case is as strong as possible.
Lexington Dog Bite Lawyers Will Stand With You
A dog park should be a safe place to bring your dog so that it can enjoy the outdoors and have fun with other dogs. However, anytime there are many dogs in one place, a biting accident can happen. Lexington’s various dog parks are all open to the public, but there is still an overriding responsibility to make sure your dog doesn’t hurt others.
When these unfortunate accidents happen, the skilled Lexington dog bite lawyers at Kaufman & Stigger can shepherd you through the claims process. We know the law, and how it applies in your particular case. To schedule a free consultation with our office, contact us here.