Dogs are commonly referred to as man’s best friend. The fact remains, however, that dog bites lead to a large number of injuries each year. Such dog bites can be unexpected and painful, both physically and emotionally.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 4.5 million people sustain dog bites each year in the United States. Further, nearly 1 in 5 people who sustain dog bites require medical attention. Even more concerning is the fact that children are the most common victims of dog bite injuries.
So what do you do if you or a loved one sustains a dog bite injury in Kentucky? The Kentucky personal injury lawyers at the Flora Templeton Stuart Injury Accident Lawyer are here to help. Here’s everything you need to know about dog bite injuries in Kentucky and what you can do to recover.
Common Injuries Caused by Dogs
People frequently think that dogs are incapable of causing injuries. However, this is not the case. In fact, dog bite injuries can range from minor to severe.
Some of the most common types of injuries people sustain due to dogs include:
- Puncture wounds,
- Facial injuries,
- Nerve damage,
- Broken bones,
- Infections (i.e. rabies),
- Psychological damage, and
- Head injuries.
In some cases, dog bite injuries can even result in death.
If you or a loved one has sustained injuries as a result of a dog bite, you may have a claim for relief. Contact a Kentucky dog bite lawyer to discuss your case and see what you can do.
Can I Sue for a Dog Bite in Kentucky?
Yes, under Kentucky dog bite law, you do have a right to sue in the aftermath of a dog bite injury. Pursuant to KRS 258.235(4), Kentucky places “strict liability” on dog owners. Kentucky law states that “[a]ny owner whose dog is found to have caused damage to a person, livestock or other property shall be responsible for that damage.”
This means that Kentucky courts will hold dog owners liable for any injuries that their dog causes, regardless of fault. Even if the owner was exercising reasonable care to protect others from their dog or had no reason to know that their dog was dangerous, the owner will still be liable for injuries their dog causes.
The Kentucky Legislature made these “strict liability” changes in the law in an effort to place liability only on the dog owner, and not the property owner or landlord. If the property owner and dog owner are different people, you likely will only be able to recover from the dog owner. Kentucky Statute 258.095 defines a dog “owner” as every person who:
- Keeps or harbors the dog;
- has the dog in his or her care;
- Permits the dog to remain on or about the premises owned and occupied by him or her; or
- Permits the dog to remain on or about premises leased and occupied by him or her.
What Damages Can I Recover Under Kentucky Dog Bite Law?
After a dog bite, you may sustain injuries that cause you to incur time and expenses as you recover. Fortunately, certain damages are recoverable under Kentucky dog bite law.
Following a dog bite, the victim may pursue the following damages:
- Costs of medical bills and expenses incurred arising out of the injury;
- Lost income while the victim was unable to work due to his or her injury;
- Lost earning capacity as a result of injuries sustained;
- Compensation for physical pain and emotional trauma suffered by the victim as a result of the attack; and
- Compensation for any property that was damaged, including livestock or other personal property, during the attack.
In some cases, a victim may also recover punitive damages. However, such punitive damages are only awarded when the dog owner’s behavior is particularly egregious.
How Comparative Negligence in Kentucky Dog Bite Law Cases Can Impact My Recovery
As discussed above, Kentucky operates under strict liability laws when it comes to dog bites. However, Kentucky comparative negligence still applies when determining a financial award in a dog bite case.
Under Kentucky law, KRS 411.182, a dog bite victim’s monetary recovery will be reduced by the percentage of that victim’s own fault in causing the accident. This is referred to as “comparative negligence” or “comparative fault.” This means the court considers both the nature of the conduct of each party at fault and the extent of the causal relation between the conduct and the damages claimed.
Thus, if a dog injures you, that dog’s owner will be strictly liable for your injuries. However, if you were partially at fault in causing the incident that led to your injuries, your total recoverable damages will be reduced.
For example, if you were 20% at fault because you left a gate open, leading a dog to get out and injure you, your total compensation will be reduced by 20%.
Calculating damages under Kentucky dog bite law can be complicated. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your case and see what damages you may be entitled to recover.
What Should I Do If My Dog Bit Someone?
Dog bites are tricky situations for everyone involved. Whether you are the dog bite victim or the owner of the dog, moving forward can be an awkward and difficult process. Kentucky dog bite laws are relatively victim-friendly. Thus, if it is your dog that bit someone else, overcoming liability can be an uphill battle.
Again, because Kentucky is a strict liability state, if your dog injures someone else, you will be held strictly liable. However, there are certain scenarios in which you may be able to reduce your liability under Kentucky comparative negligence laws.
If you can show that the victim provoked your pet, which caused the dog bite, you may be able to reduce your liability. Provocation includes hurting your pet, invading your pet’s space, or any other action that would be likely to elicit an aggressive response from the dog.
If you can prove that the victim was responsible in part for his or her own injuries due to provocation, you can reduce the total monetary compensation owed to the victim.
Trespass is another way in which you can show that your liability should be reduced.
If you can prove that the victim was trespassing on your property at the time the dog bite occurred, the victim’s total recovery must be reduced.
Damages are an important part of every Kentucky dog bite case. Regardless of whether you are the victim or the owner of the dog, you have rights. Contact an attorney to discuss those rights and see whether and how you can pursue or defend against a Kentucky dog bite lawsuit.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit or Settle My Kentucky Dog Bite Claim?
Kentucky law, 413.140(1)(a), provides that you have one (1) year from the occurrence to file suit or settle your dog-bite claim. It is important that you speak to a Kentucky Dog Bite Attorney as soon as possible to ensure that the necessary steps are taken to protect your claim.
Consult a Kentucky Personal Injury Lawyer Today
For your Kentucky dog bite case, you don’t need just any firm. Rather, you will need a personal injury firm with the knowledge and experience necessary to aggressively fight for your rights. We are confident that the Flora Templeton Stuart Injury Accident Lawyer has the tools and resources necessary for a successful dog bite case.
The Flora Templeton Stuart Injury Accident Lawyer has been in practice for over forty years. During that time, we have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for deserving clients, and we hope we can do the same for you.
We are available 24 hours a day and seven days a week to get you the representation you need. So contact us today online or by phone at (866) 673-0935. We are proud to offer free consultations to discuss your case and see what we can do for you.