Elizabethtown Dog Bite Lawyers
While most dogs are friendly family pets that can be trusted around even young children, that is not always the case. Some dog breeds are more dangerous than others due to their size or general disposition. In other situations, dogs themselves are the victims of abuse or maltreatment, which can bring out their animalistic nature. Regardless of the cause, Kentucky dog bite cases are more common than most people realize. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control, there are approximately 4.7 million dog bites each year. Of those, over 800,000 result in the need for medical attention.
Children are the most common victim of an Elizabethtown dog attack. In fact, 42 percent of dog bite victims are children under the age of six. Children are more commonly the victim of dog attacks for several reasons. First, children are smaller in size and may be seen as intruding on the animal’s territory. Young children are more likely to play with a dog’s toy or food, which can trigger an animal’s urge to protect its territory. Children are also often louder, more energetic and less predictable than adults, which can put dogs on edge. Dogs may initially seem to get excited, however, that excitement can quickly turn deadly.
Kentucky’s Dog Bite Laws
Kentucky uses a strict liability system to determine legal liability in the event of a dog bite. Under this system, the owner of an animal is liable for their pet’s actions, regardless of whether the owner or the victim had any knowledge of the dog’s violent propensity. Kentucky Revised Statutes section 258.235 states that an owner whose dog caused damage to a person, livestock, or other property is responsible for that damage. The law goes on to explain the procedure by which an Elizabethtown dog bite victim must follow to pursue a claim against an animal’s owner.
Strict liability will not apply in all dog bite cases. For strict liability to apply, a person must show:
- The defendant was the legal owner or keeper of the dog;
- The animal viciously attacked the victim without cause or provocation;
- The attacked occurred off the owner’s property.
If each of these elements are met, then a dog owner is strictly liable for any damage or injury caused by their dog. In this way, Kentucky is different from other states that employ the “one bite rule.” In those states, an animal owner cannot be held liable for a dog’s aggressive actions unless the owner knew that the dog had violent tendencies. Typically, this required a showing that the animal had previously tried to bite or attack someone.
Notably, state law also requires that all vicious dogs are kept in an enclosed cage with seven-foot high walls and a secured top. These animals are only legally allowed to leave that enclosure to visit the veterinarian or to be turned in to an animal shelter. During either of these trips, the animal must be wearing a muzzle.
Defenses in Elizabethtown Dog Bite Cases
Even in situations where strict liability does not apply, a dog’s owner can still be held liable through a negligence claim. For example, when a dog attacks a guest who is visiting the owner’s home, strict liability will not apply because the attack occurred at the owner’s residence. In such cases, to recover against the owner, a dog bite victim will need to show that the owner was negligent. Negligence may be established by showing that it was dangerous for the animal to be around invited guests, or that the owner failed to properly secure the animal while guests were visiting. In these cases, an owner’s knowledge of their pet’s past history of violence can be very important.
Some dog owners may claim that the person who was bit by their dog provoked the animal or shared blame for the incident. In such cases, the Kentucky strict liability dog bite statute may not be applicable. Instead, courts use a traditional negligence analysis. And under Kentucky’s pure comparative negligence doctrine, the court may reduce a victim’s total compensation award by their own percentage of fault.
Available Damages in Elizabethtown Dog Bite Cases
When a dog attacks, the damage can be severe. In some cases, dog bite injuries result in debilitating injuries and permanent disfigurement. Those who have been attacked by a dog may be entitled to considerable compensation through a Kentucky dog bite lawsuit.
The types of damages that are available in an Elizabethtown dog bite lawsuit depend on the severity of the victim’s injuries. Commonly, damages in a dog bite case include:
- Lost wages based on missed work
- Decrease in future earning potential
- Past medical bills
- Future medical expenses
- The cost of rehabilitation
- Past and future emotional pain and suffering
- Past and future physical pain and suffering
In unusual cases, a dog bite victim may be able to pursue punitive damages from an animal’s owner. In Kentucky, punitive damages are not focused so much on the plaintiff, but instead are designed to deter the type of conduct that led to the plaintiff’s injuries.
Have You Been Attacked by a Dog?
If you or a loved one has recently been attacked by a vicious animal, consider contacting the experienced Elizabethtown dog bite attorneys at Hessig & Pohl. At Hessig & Pohl, we are ready to help you and your family overcome the challenges you face. Our attorneys can help you pursue a claim for compensation based on the injuries you have sustained, regardless of the nature or severity of the accident. We handle Elizabethtown dog bite cases, as well as slip-and-fall claims and wrongful death cases. We will not collect a fee unless we can help you recover compensation for your injuries. Contact us through this website, or call our office at (502) 777-1111. The initial consultation is always free.
Marty fought for me when the insurance company denied my claim. We sued and got the insurance limits.