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Legal Consequences of Dog Bites

If you or someone you love has been bitten by a dog, you may be forced to deal with costly medical treatment as a result of the attack. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), dog bites are a serious problem in the U.S., with over 4 million attacks reported each year. The unfortunate fact is that dogs, even as beloved pets, can and do attack other people, especially children. Nearly one million people each year seek medical treatment for a dog bite, and the costs of this treatment are often staggering. That’s why the Louisville dog bite attorneys of the Sampson Law Firm have committed themselves to helping the victims of dog bites in Kentucky recover the compensation they are owed following a dog bite attack. Contact us at (502) 584-5050 to find out how we can help you.

We firmly believe that dog owners have a responsibility to keep their pets on a leash at all times, and should keep them away from friends, neighbors, family members and other potential victims if they are aggressive or have shown signs of an attack. Even if a dog has not been aggressive in the past, the owner should still monitor their pet and make sure that it does not harm others. If the dog does bite someone and cause injury, the owner should be held responsible for the cost of treatment, as well as any additional pain, suffering, and mental anguish the victim suffers. We have helped victims of dog bites recover the compensation they are owed following an attack, and we are ready to help you. Don’t wait until it is too late to file your claim. Contact us by filling out a contact form, chatting with us live, or by calling us at (502) 584-5050 today.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

You should not have to pay out of pocket for medical treatment following a dog attack that could have been prevented if the owner had been more careful. Unfortunately, you may not be able to recover the compensation you need without an experienced attorney on your side to help guide you through the process. After a dog bite in Kentucky, an injured victim has approximately one year to file a civil lawsuit in court according to the state’s “statute of limitations.” It’s very important to keep the statute of limitations law in mind after a dog attack. If you or someone you know has been attacked by a dog or other animal, a civil lawsuit must be filed within a year. Otherwise, the court may refuse to hear the case.

What are my chances in court?

Fortunately for dog bite victims in Kentucky, the state holds a “strict liability” policy for dog bites. Strict liability means the owner of the dog is completely liable for the injury inflicted by the dog, with little to no regard for contributing factors to the case. This means that even if the dog had never shown a tendency to be aggressive nor attacked anyone before, or even if the owner took precautions to keep the dog from attacking, the responsibility is still on the dog owner. To say it differently, there is no need to prove a dog owner’s negligence during a dog bite case in a state like Kentucky where strict liability policy is practiced.

The specific statute in Kentucky law that imposes the strict liability policy for dog bites is in section 258.235(4). It specifies what dog owners can be held liable for, which is damage to “a person, livestock or property” which covers a wide array of damages a dog could cause.

The statute does not limit the types of injuries the dog could inflict. Any attack by a dog, not just limited to a bite is covered by this Kentucky law. For example, if one were to be visiting a neighbor, and the neighbor’s dog jumped on the visitor, knocking them down and inflicting injuries, the statute would protect the visitor in this instance. The visitor would be able to file a suit against the dog owner for the injuries inflicted by the dog. There is no consideration for whether the dog was just being playful or was aggressive, so long as a dog causes injury, the owner can be held responsible for it.

Are there Defenses Against a Kentucky Dog Bite or Injury Claim?

While many states make exceptions to their strict liability laws, Kentucky does not. Some states specify that a dog owner may have a defense when the dog bite victim provoked the attacking dog or was trespassing on property the dog was protecting. Kentucky law does not make exceptions for these scenarios, and places full liability on the dog owner for any injuries or bites his or her dog may inflict on others.

With time, however, Kentucky courts have found that although dog owners are responsible for whenever their dog attacks, they are not completely responsible every time. The Kentucky law that allows for courts to determine the level of responsibility a dog owner has is called “comparative negligence.” The courts have deemed comparative negligence to apply to dog bites and attacks and can be used to limit and reduce how much a dog owner must pay for damages. The law allows for this to be done on a percentage basis, reducing the amount to be paid out by the owner relative to the percentage the court finds the dog bite victim responsible for the attack.

With so many different exceptions and rules to the law, and changes that can happen in court, it’s always better to hire an experienced attorney like ours at the Sampson Law Firm. If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite, contact us today at (502) 584-5050 for a confidential consultation to help get the compensation you need.