In the United States, nearly 4.7 million dog bite incidents occur yearly. In Kentucky, like many other U.S. states, dog owners can be held liable for damages their pets cause. If a dog bit you, you might be wondering, What is the average settlement for a dog bite case in Kentucky? There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question.
According to data from the Insurance Information Institute, the national dog bite settlement average in 2021 was $49,025. But each dog bit case is so different that this average tells you very little about what to expect from your individual claim. The amount of a dog bite settlement in Kentucky depends on various factors, including the severity of your injuries, your incurred medical expenses, the bite’s impact on your quality of life, your pain and suffering, and the dog owner’s insurance coverage. The only way to get an accurate estimate of what your claim is worth is to talk to a knowledgeable dog bite attorney.
What Are Kentucky’s Dog Bite Laws?
Kentucky holds dog owners strictly liable for any injuries that their dogs cause. This “strict liability” law means that the dog owner is responsible for damages regardless of whether the dog has a history of biting. In other words, Kentucky does not have a “one bite rule” that allows dogs one free bite before the owner can be held liable.
However, while Kentucky is a strict liability state, it follows the doctrine of comparative negligence. Comparative negligence is a kind of affirmative defense, which means insurers and courts will deduct any percentage of liability attributable to you from your award. For example, if you throw rocks at and yell at an aggressive dog over a gated yard, causing the dog to jump the fence and attack you, a court may find you are partially liable. If the court finds you are 30% percent at fault for the incident because of it, it will reduce your settlement by 30%. Furthermore, if you are entirely at fault, it will bar you from collecting an award altogether. Another affirmative defense is against trespassers. Under Kentucky law, trespassers, even minors, cannot hold an owner responsible for dog bites.
What Are Kentucky’s Average Dog Bite Settlement Amounts?
The average settlement for dog bite claims doesn’t tell you much about what your claim is worth because every case is different. The average payout for dog bite damages can range from a few thousand dollars for minor injuries to well over $100,000 for severe cases.
Factors affecting settlement amounts include the following:
- The severity of your injuries. Dog bites can cause a range of injuries, from minor scratches and bruises to more severe injuries such as lacerations, fractures, and nerve damage. The worse your injuries are, the higher the likely settlement amount.
- Your medical expenses. The cost of your medical treatments plays another crucial role in determining your settlement amount. Emergency room visits, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and any necessary reconstructive procedures can add up and lead to a bigger settlement.
- Lost wages. If your injuries cause you to miss work, you might be entitled to compensation for your lost wages. If your injuries are so severe that you cannot return to work or must accept a lower-paying position, you may also receive compensation for future lost wages.
- Pain and suffering. A dog bite can cause physical pain and emotional distress that can significantly impact your life. You may be entitled to a larger settlement for pain and suffering to help address the mental anguish, fear, anxiety, and other emotional problems you experience because of the attack.
- Insurance policy limits. A dog owner’s homeowners or renters insurance policy may cap the amount of compensation available. Although you can seek additional compensation directly from the dog owner if your damages exceed the policy limits, it may be difficult to collect that money if the owner has limited assets.
- Comparative negligence. As mentioned before, if your actions contributed to the dog bite incident, your award will be reduced by that percentage of fault.
Overall, while there is no set amount for dog bite settlements in Kentucky, victims can generally expect to recover some combination of the above damages. However, working with an experienced dog bite lawyer can help assure you get the maximum compensation you’re entitled to.
Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC Can Help
At Gladstein Law Firm, our dog bite advocates are passionate about fighting for your rights. With nearly twenty years of practice under our belt, we treat every client and case with personal care and focused attention. We know how insurance companies and opposing lawyers think and take pride in always being one step ahead of them. Don’t let anyone take advantage of you; call us today at 502-791-9000, and let us fight for the justice you deserve.