Dog Bites Attorneys in Louisville, Kentucky
More than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About one in five people bitten by dogs – about 885,000 people – require medical attention for dog bite-related injuries. In certain extreme cases, some dog bites can prove fatal, and there may be grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.
Though most animals kept as pets are domesticated, some may revert to their instinctual habits occasionally. Animals that bite or attack people constitute a serious danger. Dog owners may be held legally liable for the consequences of such incidents.
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury from a dog bite or attack in or around Louisville, Kentucky, contact the dog bite lawyers of Slechter Law Firm, PLLC. We will work with you in a personalized way to help you get the compensation you rightfully deserve. We also serve clients in Lexington and throughout the state of Kentucky.
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Kentucky Dog Bite Laws
Unlike some other states, Kentucky law does not observe the “one bite” rule that basically forgives a dog for its first bite. Instead, Kentucky is what is known as a “strict liability” state. The dog and its owner are always liable. Kentucky law holds the dog owner liable for any damage to "a person, livestock, or other property."
Some states also forgive the dog and its owner if the animal is provoked by the other person or if the other person is trespassing and the dog merely protects the property. Strict liability in Kentucky is thus all-encompassing.
However, though Kentucky law has no carve-out for provocation and trespassing, courts have generally applied Kentucky’s standard of pure comparative negligence in awarding compensation in dog bite cases. In other words, say you did actually provoke the animal. The court may find you 30 or 40 percent (or another percentage) at fault and reduce your compensation.
Pure comparative negligence means you can still recover compensation if you’re 90 percent or more at fault, whereas in states observing modified comparative negligence, you cannot recover anything after you’re found to be more than 50 percent at fault.
The statute of limitations for filing a civil action for a dog bite is one year, generally dating from the time of the injury.
Who Is a Dog Owner Under Kentucky Law?
Kentucky law has several categories of who can be considered a dog owner, going beyond just the person who takes a pet into his or her possession. These categories include:
Anyone who keeps or harbors a dog
Anyone who has a dog in his or her care, even if just walking the dog
Anyone who permits a dog to remain on premises owned or occupied by him or her
Anyone who permits a dog to remain on premises leased or occupied by him or her
Common Injuries Caused by Dog Attacks
Common injuries resulting from dog bites may include:
Viral infections, such as rabies
Premises Liability in Dog Bite Cases
Most homeowners’ and renters’ insurance companies cover dog bites while excluding from the coverage certain breeds known to be more dangerous. Many dog bite incidents occur between neighbors, and no one really wants to sue a neighbor and see them have to sell their home to pay for damages. Fortunately, an insurance claim is available.
Most likely, you as the neighboring dog bite victim will be filing your claim with the dog owner’s homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policy, which can range from $100,000 to $300,000 and sometimes more in liability protection.
Some policies, however, restrict personal injury claims to $90,000 per incident and $30,000 per person. This is important to know because the Insurance Information Institute (III) estimates the average settlement for dog bite claims in 2021 was $49,025.
Damages You Can Recover
If you or a loved one is a victim of a dog bite, there are going to be medical expenses, both immediate and stretching into the future, until full recovery has taken place. In addition to recovering compensation for your medical expenses, you can also recover for:
Lost earnings if you have to miss time from work
Incidental expenses such as childcare
Pain and suffering
Disfigurement if there are going to be lifelong physical reminders
Psychological counseling if you suffered emotional trauma
Establishing Liability in Court
To prevail in your court case, you will have to establish four elements:
The defendant was responsible for the dog under one of Kentucky’s definitions of an owner.
The dog bit you or your loved one.
As a result, you or your loved one was harmed.
The defendant’s dog was responsible for the harm you or your loved one suffered.
Dog Bite Attorneys Serving Louisville, Kentucky
What would you do if you were attacked by a dog? How would you pay your medical bills? Who would you trust to fight for your rights? You need someone who knows all the nuances of dog bite laws. You need Slechter Law Firm, PLLC. We tenaciously investigate every case and work tirelessly to obtain complete compensation for all your injuries. Reach out immediately wherever you are in Kentucky if you or a loved one has been injured in a dog attack.