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Louisville Child Dog Bite Injuries

Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC represents child dog bite victims in Louisville. The unfortunate reality is that children are particularly vulnerable to injuries in these situations and may suffer lasting damage. If your child has been injured in a dog bite incident, contact us for a free consultation to talk about your options.

Do You Need a Lawyer?

When your child gets bitten by a dog, it’s undeniably traumatic. The combination of a child’s smaller physical frame that’s still developing and a dog’s powerful jaws and teeth make the potential for injuries much more probable. Still, in terms of your legal options, a lawyer isn’t technically required. At the same time, given the circumstances, having our experienced team on your side can really help.

We’re here to guide you through every step of your child’s case, from investigating the incident and explaining legal options to gathering evidence and negotiating with insurance companies and opposing lawyers. Our primary goal is to make things easier for you and your family.

What Should You Do If Your Child is Bitten by a Dog?

There’s no more helpless feeling than watching your child get hurt in an accident, particularly if it involves a dog. It’s true that most dogs in Louisville are well-behaved and properly trained, but the fact is that any dog can give in to their nature and bite when your child is around. When this happens, it means taking steps to protect your child’s health and potential legal claim. Here are a few of the most important steps:

  • Get to safety – First things first, get your child away from the dog. Then, check your child for any immediate injuries and try to stay calm. Once everyone is safe, try to stabilize any injuries.
  • Call an ambulance or get further medical care – Call 911 if the injuries are serious so an ambulance can respond. You can then let the EMTs take care of your child’s immediate injuries. If the injuries aren’t as noticeable, you still must take them to get medical attention at an ER or urgent care to take care of any lingering complications.
  • Document what happened – Write down details of where the bite happened, including the dog’s owner and breed. Also, take pictures of any injuries and other damage to your child for claim purposes. If the bite happened at a city park or public property, inform whoever is in charge, like the city’s parks department.
  • Report the bite to Animal Control – Let Louisville Animal Control or Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) know about the incident. They’ll investigate to make sure the dog isn’t a danger to anyone else, and will also get you information on the owner and any vaccination status.

Injuries in a Child Dog Bite Situation

A dog bite, whether it happens to your child or to an adult, is likely going to cause injuries. Child dog bite injuries can vary widely depending on the size and aggressiveness of the dog, as well as the circumstances of the bite. However, some common injuries that children may sustain from dog bites include:

  • Bite wounds – The dog’s teeth can cause deep puncture wounds that may result in tissue damage and potential infection for your child. These commonly happen to your child’s hands, face, ankles, and feet.
  • Broken bones – It’s not just the dog’s teeth that can hurt your child, but the dog’s jaws can break bones or cause partial fractures and crush injuries to your child when the dog clamps down on their bite.
  • Lacerations – Dog bites can cause cuts and tears in the skin, which may require stitches or other medical intervention to properly heal.
  • Bruising – The force of a dog’s bite can lead to bruising around the bite area, which may be painful and tender to the touch.
  • Soft tissue damage – In severe cases, dog bites can result in significant tissue damage, including damage to your child’s muscles, nerves, and blood vessels.
  • Infections – Dog saliva contains bacteria that can lead to infections through the bite wound. This risk is especially high if the wound is not properly cleaned and treated.
  • Emotional damage – Beyond physical injuries, your child getting bitten by a dog can cause emotional trauma, including fear of dogs or anxiety about future interactions.
  • Scarring – In some cases, particularly severe bites or bites to the face, your child may be left with permanent scarring or disfigurement.

Since each bite incident is unique, the injuries to your child can vary. However, what remains the same are your legal options and the necessary steps to take following the bite incident.

Claims Process After a Child Dog Bite

Legally speaking, your child has the same rights as any other dog bite victim in Louisville. This raises two very important points: liability and damages. In Louisville and throughout Kentucky, the law says that the dog’s owner is: 

  • “Strictly liable” for any injuries and other harm caused by their dog.

This means that the dog’s owner is responsible for any harm to your child. There is the concept of comparative negligence, which may come into play if your child was unsupervised or something similar when the bite happened. However, you still have the right to file a claim for damages on behalf of your child.

Damages

In terms of your child’s damages, it’s not just the initial bite that you have to worry about. Often, the injuries that result from the bite last well after the initial incident. From physical damage to emotional scarring, your child can face a long road to recovery. This makes the legal process of recovering “damages” very important.
Whether you decide to file an insurance claim or a full lawsuit, here’s a look at the damages that are generally available in these claims:

  • Medical expenses
  • Ongoing care needs
  • Scarring/disfigurement
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Wrongful death expenses, if the injuries turn fatal

It’s important to note that the statute of limitations for an injury claim in Kentucky is usually one year from the date of the accident. However, when a child is involved, this doesn’t kick in until the child turns 18. So, when a child is bitten by a dog, they have one year after turning 18 to file the claim. Despite this extension, it’s vital to act quickly to get this financial support.

Legal Guidance From Experienced Louisville Dog Bite Lawyers

At Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, we know that any injury your child suffers can have long-term implications not just for them, but for your entire family. This is all the more likely in a dog bite case. However, when your child is injured by a dog bite, you can count on experienced legal guidance from our Louisville dog bite lawyers. We’ll make sure your child has the support they need to make a recovery. Contact us today for a free consultation to get started.

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