Louisville Dog Bite Attorney

Animal owners have a responsibility to keep their dogs and animals under control–but that doesn’t always happen. Unfortunately, about 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs each year and victims can face severe physical pain and life-altering psychological consequences.

If you’ve been bitten by a dog or animal that was not properly trained or controlled, you have the right to fair compensation for your pain and suffering. At Sam Aguiar Injury Lawyers, we don’t think you should have to pay for an animal owner’s negligence. We know the law, and our Louisville animal bite lawyers will fight to hold the animal owner responsible for your injuries.

Why Choose A Louisville Dog Bite Lawyer From Sam Aguiar Injury Lawyers?

At Sam Aguiar Injury Lawyers, we are the top choice for Louisville dog bite claims. We are committed to doing all we can to secure the maximum possible compensation for you. We take pride in our open communication and track record that speaks for itself, securing past clients millions in awards. With our experience and knowledge of Kentucky’s strict liability laws, we will fight to hold dog owners accountable for any harm their pets cause.

How a Lawyer Will Fight For You in Louisville Dog Bite Claims

Louisville dog bite injury lawyers

Hiring our team of Louisville injury lawyers will provide you with peace of mind throughout the legal process. Our team of attorneys will leverage Kentucky’s strict liability laws to hold the dog owner accountable so that you receive compensation for injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

We focus on proving owner negligence and the failure to control the animal, emphasizing the significant physical and emotional trauma victims endure. We will meticulously go through each step of the process, including conducting a thorough investigation, gathering evidence, and advocating for your rights throughout the trial and settlement negotiations. Entrust our team to handle your case so that we can fight for the justice you deserve.

Medical Complications From Dog Bites In Louisville

Dog bite injuries can cause serious health complications, such as:

  • Severe bleeding from a dog bite can lead to significant blood loss, requiring immediate medical attention to prevent shock.
  • Infection are a common complication of dog bites, as bacteria from the dog’s mouth can enter the wound and cause serious health issues.
  • Nerve damage from a dog bite can result in long-term sensory or motor function loss in the affected area, necessitating specialized medical treatment.
  • Emotional trauma following a dog bite incident can include fear of dogs, anxiety, and PTSD, often requiring psychological counseling for recovery.

If you or a loved one were bitten by a dog, you could be facing stacks of medical bills, scarring disfigurement, or the inability to work. Our team at Sam Aguiar Injury Lawyers is determined to help you get fair compensation for your lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering while you or your loved one recovers.

Severe Injuries From Dog Bites 

Severe dog bites can result in devastating and sometimes permanent injuries with life-altering consequences. Here are examples of some of the more serious types of injuries:

Rabies: This viral infection is potentially lethal if the dog has not been vaccinated, and it’s critical to receive appropriate medical care if you have any reason to believe the dog has rabies.

Loss of Limbs: In especially violent attacks, victims – often children because of their size – might sustain such serious wounds that amputation becomes necessary to save their lives or prevent further health complications.

Fatal Injuries: Although rare, there are instances where an attack is so severe that it leads directly to loss of life. This tragic outcome typically results from attacks on vital areas like the neck where major arteries could be torn open. 

Dealing with any severe dog bite injury warrants consulting with a legal professional who can help you address the immediate and long-term effects of such trauma.

Kentucky Dog Bite Laws

Kentucky is a “strict liability” state, which means dog owners are held legally responsible for any type of injury or damage a dog might cause to a person or property. The law of strict liability against dog owners can be found in KRS 258.235, essentially this law holds dog owners accountable for any damages caused by their dogs and allows for complaints to be filed against owners of dogs deemed vicious, potentially resulting in penalties and orders for secure confinement or destruction of the dog if found guilty.

Owners are expected to control their animals at all times, regardless of if the dog has a prior history of aggression. Since Kentucky operates under strict liability, victims do not need to prove that the dog owner was negligent or aware of the dog’s aggressive tendencies. The fact that the dog caused harm is sufficient for a claim. In Kentucky, a dog owner is automatically responsible for any injuries or damages their dog causes to people, livestock, or property, regardless of the owner’s prior knowledge of the dog’s aggressiveness or previous behavior. This contrasts with states that have a “one-bite rule,” where the owner might not be held liable for the first incident if they had no reason to believe their dog was dangerous.

The Consequences of Louisville’s Strict Liability Dog Bite Laws

Dog bite injury lawyers in Louisville

Victims of dog bites or attacks are entitled to compensation for their injuries and damages due to the state’s strict liability statute, encompassing medical expenses, emotional distress, and property damage. Dog owners face a significant financial responsibility, as they may be required to cover medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages resulting from a dog bite or attack, which can pose a substantial economic burden, particularly in severe injury cases.

Moreover, if a dog is found to have viciously attacked a human without cause and beyond the owner’s premises, the owner could face legal penalties under KRS 258.990(3)(b), including fines and other legal repercussions or even that the dog may be securely confined or euthanized, depending on the court’s judgment, to prevent future incidents.

Damages Available In A Dog Bite Injuries 

In cases of dog bite injuries, victims are entitled to seek a range of damages that cover both the tangible and intangible consequences caused by the incident. Here’s an overview:

Economic Damages: These are losses that have a direct monetary impact on your life including medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.

Non-Economic Damages: These address the less quantifiable impacts such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, or loss of consortium resulting from a dog bite. It could also include compensation for disfigurement and scarring.

Punitive Damages: Punitive damages are awarded in more extreme circumstances and serve as a punishment for the dog owner’s behavior if there’s evidence of oppression, fraud, or malice. 

A plaintiff shall recover punitive damages only upon proving, by clear and convincing evidence, that the defendant from whom such damages are sought acted toward the plaintiff with oppression, fraud or malice.

They aren’t tied to any specific loss the victim has encountered but are meant to punish and act as a deterrent against future carelessness or intentional harm.

“Punitive damages” includes exemplary damages and means damages, other than compensatory and nominal damages, awarded against a person to punish and to discourage him and others from similar conduct in the future.

If you’ve suffered a dog bite injury, having an understanding of what you could be entitled to is helpful when pursuing your claim.

Kentucky Pure Comparative Negligence and Dog Bites

Kentucky follows a pure comparative negligence rule in personal injury cases, including those involving dog bites. Under this rule, an injured party can recover damages even if they are partially at fault for the incident. The total amount of damages awarded is reduced by the plaintiff’s percentage of fault. 

For example, if a person is awarded $100,000 in damages at a trial but is found to be 30% at fault, they would receive $70,000. This approach allows for a more equitable distribution of liability, ensuring that compensation is adjusted according to each party’s degree of responsibility.

411.182 Allocation of fault in tort actions — Award of damages — Effect of release. 

(1) In all tort actions, including products liability actions, involving fault of more than one (1) party to the action, including third-party defendants and persons who have been released under subsection (4) of this section, the court, unless otherwise agreed by all parties, shall instruct the jury to answer interrogatories or, if there is no jury, shall make findings indicating: (a) The amount of damages each claimant would be entitled to recover if contributory fault is disregarded; and 

(b) The percentage of the total fault of all the parties to each claim that is allocated to each claimant, defendant, third-party defendant, and person who has been released from liability under subsection (4) of this section. 

(2) In determining the percentages of fault, the trier of fact shall consider 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. 

(3) The court shall determine the award of damages to each claimant in accordance with the findings, subject to any reduction under subsection (4) of this section, and shall determine and state in the judgment each party’s equitable share of the obligation to each claimant in accordance with the respective percentages of fault.

Even though Kentucky uses strict liability for dog bite claims, the damages can still be reduced based on this principle. If the victim’s actions contributed to the attack, their compensation would be reduced by their share of the fault.

Using Evidence to Combat Potential Strategies by Dog Owners

In Louisville, the strict liability statute for dog bites places the responsibility squarely on dog owners for injuries or damages their pets cause. However, owners may attempt to use various defenses to mitigate their liability. Understanding and combating these potential defenses is crucial for victims seeking justice and compensation. Here are some strategies we often see and some typical ways to counter:

  • Provocation Defense: One common defense is that the victim provoked the dog, leading to the attack. To combat this, evidence such as witness statements, video footage, or expert testimony can be used to demonstrate the victim’s lack of provoking behavior and establish the unprovoked nature of the attack.
  • Trespassing Defense: Owners might argue that the victim was trespassing on their property at the time of the bite. A way to counter this defense is by proving the victim had a lawful reason to be on the property, such as being invited by the owner or performing a duty (e.g., delivery of a package).

Lack of Ownership or Control: An owner may claim they did not own or control the dog at the time of the attack. Victims can counter this by gathering evidence such as veterinary records, registration documents, or witness statements that establish the defendant’s ownership or responsibility for the dog.

Evidence Used to Prove a Dog Bite Case in Kentucky

To successfully prove a dog bite case in Kentucky, several types of evidence can be crucial in establishing liability and the extent of damages.

Medical Records

One of the most compelling pieces of evidence in a dog bite case is medical records. These documents provide detailed information about the nature and extent of the injuries sustained. Medical records can also establish a timeline for treatment, correlating the injury directly to the dog bite incident.

Witness Testimonies

Statements from witnesses present during the incident can substantially bolster a dog bite claim. Witnesses can offer objective accounts of the event, helping to establish the sequence of actions leading to the bite, hopefully supporting the victim’s version of events.

Photographic Evidence 

Photographs taken immediately following the dog bite can serve as crucial evidence. These images can visually demonstrate the severity of the injuries and the circumstances in which the bite occurred, such as the location and the dog involved.

Expert Testimonies

Expert witnesses, such as animal behaviorists or medical professionals, can provide specialized insight into the case. An animal behaviorist might testify about the likely behavior patterns of the dog, while a medical professional can explain the extent and potential long-term effects of the injuries.

Owner’s Admissions or Statements

Any statements or admissions made by the dog owner acknowledging their pet’s aggressive behavior or their responsibility for the incident can be used as evidence. 

Incorporating these types of evidence can significantly strengthen a dog bite claim, ultimately leading to a more favorable outcome for the victim.

Statute Of Limitations For A Louisville Dog Bite

In Louisville, Kentucky, the statute of limitations for a dog bite claim is generally one year from the date of the incident.  Child victims of dog bites in Kentucky are provided with additional time under the law to file a lawsuit. Recognizing that minors lack the legal capacity to pursue their rights, Kentucky law treats being underage as a disability until they reach the age of adulthood. 

Generally, the statute of limitations for minors won’t start running until they turn 18. If you miss the statute of limitations deadline, Kentucky law could bar you from obtaining any compensation for your injuries. 

File Your Claim Early

It’s important to file your claim as promptly as possible, even if the statute of limitations gives you time. Filing early typically results in more readily available and reliable evidence, such as eyewitness statements, video footage, or freshly documented injuries – all crucial for building a strong case.

The sooner you initiate the legal process, the quicker you can potentially secure financial relief.

Legal Process for Dog Bite Claims

Navigating the legal process for dog bite claims can seem overwhelming, but understanding each step can help set expectations and ease concerns for injured parties. Here is a brief step-by-step overview of how to file a claim and what to anticipate throughout the process.

Seek Immediate Medical Attention

The first and often the most important step is to seek immediate medical care following a dog bite. Not only is this essential for health reasons, but medical records will also serve as vital evidence in your claim.

Report the Incident

Notify local animal control or law enforcement about the incident. This ensures that there is an official report documenting the specifics of the event, which may include the dog owner’s identity, the location and date of the attack, and any injuries sustained. Additionally, reporting the incident can help prevent future attacks by ensuring that the aggressive dog is properly handled or restrained.

Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney

Getting advice from an experienced personal injury attorney can provide clarity on the feasibility of your claim. They can help gather evidence, communicate with insurance companies, and represent your interests throughout the legal process.

Investigation and Collection of Evidence

Your attorney will gather and compile all necessary evidence such as medical records, witness statements, photographs, video footage, expert testimony, and animal control reports. This evidence will be crucial in building a strong case.

Demand Letter and Negotiations

Your attorney will typically send a demand letter to the dog owner’s insurance company outlining the extent of your injuries and the compensation you are seeking. Negotiations will ensue, and many cases are settled at this stage without going to court.

Filing a Lawsuit

If a fair settlement cannot be reached, the next step is to file a lawsuit. Your attorney will prepare the necessary legal documents and officially file them with the court.

Discovery Phase

During the discovery phase, both parties exchange evidence and information pertinent to the case. This phase may involve depositions, interrogatories, and additional documentation to build each side’s argument.

Mediation and Possible Settlement

Before heading to trial, both parties might engage in mediation in an attempt to settle the case. Mediation involves a neutral third party who helps facilitate discussions towards a mutually agreeable resolution.

Trial

If mediation does not result in a settlement, the case will proceed to trial. Both parties will present their arguments, evidence will be examined, and witnesses may testify. The judge or jury will then deliver a verdict and potentially award damages.

Post-Trial and Appeals

Following the trial, either party may file an appeal if they believe there has been a legal error that affected the verdict. The appeals process can extend the timeframe before a final resolution is reached.

By understanding each step in the legal process of a dog bite claim, injured parties can prepare themselves for what lies ahead, making informed decisions throughout their journey to seek justice and compensation.

Contact Our Louisville Dog Bite Lawyers Today!

You shouldn’t have to pay for an injury that wasn’t your fault. At Sam Aguiar Injury Lawyers, we’re determined to help you get the fair compensation you need to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our dedicated team of Louisville Dog Bite Lawyers is prepared to navigate the complexities of the legal system on your behalf, fighting tirelessly to secure the justice and financial support you deserve.

We want to help you and your loved ones move forward after your injury. And with our No Fee Guarantee®, you don’t pay a dime unless we win your case.* We’re available 24/7– just dial (502) 888-8888 or fill out a free initial consultation form.