Louisville Dog Bite Injury Attorney
Most people do not think of dogs as being dangerous, but these incidents can cause serious injuries. If you or someone you care about has been harmed due to a dog bite, you should seek assistance from Hendy | Johnson | Vaughn | Emery today. Our Louisville dog bite injury attorneys have vast experience handling these cases and we will work to secure any compensation you are entitled to.
Why choose Hendy Johnson Vaughn Emery for your case?
Finding an attorney to handle your dog bite injury case correctly daunting, but the Louisville personal injury lawyer team at Hendy | Johnson | Vaughn | Emery has vast experience in this area of law.
- We focus only on personal injury law, which has allowed us to become recognized as authorities in this field and to gain specialized experience to help us win your case.
- Our attorneys are directly and personally involved with each case so that you can count on the quality and skilled legal handling of your case from start to finish.
- We take Louisville dog bite injury cases on a contingency fee basis, which means there are no upfront costs for clients. You only pay legal fees after we secure the compensation you are entitled to.
Do you need an attorney for this?
Dog bite cases are rarely straightforward, especially when aggressive insurance carriers get involved. Insurance companies look out for their own profits and best interests, not a claimant’s. An attorney can help you balance the scales and avoid being taken advantage of by a pet owner’s insurance company after a harmful dog attack.
Your Louisville dog bite injury attorney will investigate every aspect of your case. They will speak to any eyewitnesses to the event and gather your medical records. It is vital that your total losses are properly calculated so your attorney can vigorously negotiate with all parties to secure the compensation you are entitled to. If necessary, your attorney will take the case to trial.
Dog bites can lead to serious injuries
When we look at statistics provided by Canine Journal, we can see that there are approximately 4.5 million dollar bite cases each year in the United States. To be clear, not all of these bites require medical attention. However, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates, approximately 800,000 dog bite victims receive medical care at hospitals annually.
Dogs have extremely powerful jaws, and they can inflict extreme damage on a person’s body. It is not uncommon for our Louisville dog bite accident attorneys to help clients who have sustained the following:
- Severe lacerations and puncture wounds
- Damage to veins or arteries
- Damage to tendons, muscles, and ligaments
- Nerve damage
- Broken bones
- Crush injuries
- Degloving or other losses of skin tissues
- Facial injuries
- Amputation of fingers
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Illnesses, diseases and infections
- Psychological trauma
- Wrongful death
The extreme nature of some dog bite injuries makes it crucial for a victim or victim’s family to hire a lawyer for these cases. Unfortunately, you cannot trust an insurance company to offer fair financial compensation for a dog attack – especially one that will permanently impact the victim, as these cases are more valuable. The best way to ensure just results for a severe injury is by hiring an attorney to represent you.
Kentucky’s Dog Bite Law
There are two main types of dog bite injury laws: strict liability and a one-bite rule. Strict liability laws hold pet owners automatically responsible for injuries inflicted by their dogs, regardless of whether the owner was negligent or unaware of the dog’s vicious propensities.
One-bite states, on the other hand, give dogs one “free” bite; they only allow injured victims to file claims if the dog had bitten someone previously, or if the pet owner had another reason to know that the dog had a propensity for viciousness. Kentucky is a strict liability dog bite state. This is a more favorable law for those who are injured by dogs.
Under this law, a dog owner will be held liable for all damage inflicted against a person or property, as well as livestock and domestic animals, by his or her dog. As an injured victim, you do not have to prove that the pet owner was negligent or did something wrong to qualify for financial compensation in Kentucky. You can file a claim with the pet owner’s homeowners insurance policy and qualify for benefits without proving negligence.
Who Is Liable for a Dog Bite Injury in Louisville?
After a dog attack in Louisville, it may be possible for a victim to hold more than just the dog owner financially responsible. Although Kentucky’s strict liability law means that the owner or controller of the dog that bit you will most likely be responsible for paying for your medical bills, in some circumstances, third parties can be held liable. This could lead to greater insurance coverage available for serious injuries.
One example is a landlord. Kentucky case law has held that if a landlord permits a dog to be housed on a property, even temporarily, the landlord can qualify as the dog’s “owner” for legal purposes under Kentucky Revised Statute 258.095. Therefore, the landlord could be held liable for injuries and damage caused by the dog that occurs on the property. This rule can also extend to other property owners who allow dogs on their premises.
Dog Bite Cases and “Dangerous Dogs”
Louisville-Jefferson County has a municipal law under section 91.150 that classifies certain dogs as “dangerous” or “potentially dangerous.” A dog may be deemed dangerous if it commits an attack or severe attack. In this scenario, the dog may be impounded and the owner may receive a citation for the incident.
The dog will remain impounded pending a decision by the Jefferson District Court to either release the dog back to its owner upon verification of a proper enclosure or order the dog to be humanely euthanized. If a dog that has previously been deemed dangerous attacks again, the pet owner can receive a fine or citation in addition to being held strictly liable for the victim’s injuries.
It may also be possible to hold a pet owner liable based on the argument of negligence if he or she failed to use all required restraints and enclosures for keeping a dangerous or potentially dangerous dog. A dangerous dog who attacks again will be immediately impounded while the court decides the animal’s fate.
Defenses to Dog Bite Claims
A pet owner in Kentucky has the right to defend himself or herself from a dog bite injury claim. However, only a few defenses can be used against Kentucky’s strict liability law. One is that the victim was trespassing on private property at the time of the attack. Property owners do not owe any duties of care to trespassers, meaning they are not legally obligated to keep them safe. Thus, a property owner typically will not be held responsible for dog bite injuries against a trespasser – unless the trespasser is a child under the age of 18.
Another defense is that the person who was attacked by the dog instigated the incident. If the individual was harming or pestering the dog, the pet owner might not be held liable for related injuries if the dog attacks to protect itself. Finally, if the dog was working in an official capacity for law enforcement at the time of the incident, the victim will not be able to sue the owner of the animal for any bite injuries sustained.
Wrongful Death Claims and Dog Attacks
Sadly, many dog attacks in the U.S. are fatal for victims. According to the latest available statistics, in 2019, 48 victims lost their lives in deadly dog attacks. From 2005 to 2019, dogs killed 521 people throughout the U.S. If you lost a loved one in a fatal dog attack in Louisville, Kentucky, your family may be eligible for compensation from a wrongful death claim.
State law permits the personal representative of a deceased person’s estate to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of eligible beneficiaries. A successful lawsuit for a fatal dog attack could result in a monetary award for losses such as funeral and burial costs, loss of future income, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium.
Financial Compensation Available for Dog Bite Injury Victims in Kentucky
Bringing a personal injury claim in Louisville after a dog bite incident can result in financial compensation being given to the victim for various past and future losses. While no amount of money can reverse serious injuries inflicted by a dog, such as scarring and disfigurement, it can help a victim pay for required medical care and move forward with less financial stress.
At Hendy | Johnson | Vaughn | Emery, we do not believe dog bite victims should be responsible for paying for their own injuries
What to Do After Being Bitten by a Dog in Louisville
If you get bitten by a dog in Kentucky, get to a safe location away from the dog. If you can, exchange information with the pet owner and take photographs of the dog and the location of the attack before leaving the scene. Get medical attention for your injuries without delay. Dog bite injuries deserve professional medical care, as they come with a high risk of infection.
Write down as much as you can remember about the incident while the details are still fresh in your mind. Gather documents and information to support your injury claim, such as copies of your medical records. Then, contact the dog owner’s property or homeowners insurance company to file a claim. Homeowners insurance generally covers dog bite injuries, as pets are classified as property in Kentucky. For assistance with the claims process, contact an attorney in Louisville.
Our goal is to secure all compensation you are entitled to, which can include:
- Health care: coverage of your medical bills related to the bite, which may include emergency care, surgeries, skin grafts, rehabilitation, physical therapy and prescription medications.
- Lost wages: compensation for lost income if you cannot work following a dog attack, as well as lost future capacity to earn if you suffer a temporary or permanent disability.
- Pain and suffering: intangible losses, such as physical pain, emotional distress, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, post-traumatic stress disorder and a new phobia of dogs.
- Disability or disfigurement: costs associated with a permanent injury, such as lifestyle modifications, disability accommodations and psychological counseling.
- Property damage: the price of repairing any personal property that was damaged or destroyed by a dog in the attack, such as a vehicle or home.
In limited circumstances, punitive damages are also recoverable in a dog bite injury claim. These damages are awarded to punish a defendant rather than compensate a victim, and could be available if the plaintiff proves that the pet owner engaged in reckless or negligent behaviors that showed a degree of oppression, fraud or malice.
How to Report a Dog Bite in Louisville
Another important action to take after being attacked by a dog in Louisville is to report the incident to the proper authorities. Call 911 if it is an emergency. In addition, you should always report a dog bite or attack to Louisville’s Department of Public Health and Wellness, Division of Environmental Health and Protection. You can do so using the Division’s Animal Bite Reporting Form or by calling (502) 574-6640.
Reporting a dog attack to local authorities will document the incident and put it on file, potentially protecting others in the community from future attacks. The city may designate the dog as dangerous, for example, which could require the pet owner to take additional steps to prevent incidents in the future, such as muzzling the dog on walks. If you need to make a service request to Animal Control regarding a dangerous dog running at large, call (502) 473-PETS.
What Is the Statute of Limitations to File a Dog Bite Injury Claim in Kentucky?
It is important to know and abide by Kentucky’s statute of limitations if you wish to file a dog bite injury claim in Louisville. The statute of limitations is a strict filing deadline that, if missed, could bar you from seeking a financial recovery from a pet owner. In Kentucky, there is a relatively short statute of limitations compared to other states. The time limit to file is just one year from the date that the injury occurs, in most cases. This is why it is essential to contact an attorney as soon as possible after being bitten or injured by a dog.
We will help secure the compensation you need
If you or someone you care about has been bitten and injured by a dog, you should speak to an attorney today. At Hendy | Johnson | Vaughn | Emery, we are ready to get to work on your case immediately. We can help you seek financial compensation for your losses from one or more responsible parties. Bringing a claim with help from an attorney can make it easier to move forward with the compensation that you need.
We will listen to your story and provide personalized legal advice at no cost or obligation during an initial case review. When you need a Louisville dog bite injury attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or by calling us at (859) 578-4444.