Understanding your rights is crucial if you or a loved one suffered injuries from a dog bite. However, pursuing a claim for damages can be complex. That is why you should consider hiring an experienced dog bite attorney in Bowling Green. At Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC, we recognize how traumatic a dog bite can be for you and your entire family. You don’t need the added stress of fighting for compensation too. Please get in touch with our office to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can assist you.
This post will provide all the information you need to decide whether to hire a Bowling Green dog bite attorney. Read on to learn about dog bite laws, typical injuries and complications, the statute of limitations for dog bite lawsuits, and how our legal team can help.
Kentucky Dog Bite Laws
In Kentucky, dog bite laws follow a strict liability standard. That means a dog owner is responsible for any injuries their dog causes. Strict liability applies regardless of whether the dog has a history of aggression or if the owner was aware of the dog’s potential for aggressiveness. The following are some key points to take note of regarding Kentucky dog bite laws.
Strict liability refers to scenarios where you don’t need to prove the owner was negligent, only that the dog bit you (unprovoked). Kentucky is a strict liability state, which means the dog owner is responsible for any injuries their dog causes, even if they took reasonable precautions to prevent the bite.
In many Kentucky cities, including Bowling Green, an applicable leash law requires dog owners to keep their dogs on a leash outside their property. The owner could be liable if a dog is not on a leash and bites someone.
Kentucky follows a comparative negligence standard. With comparative negligence, you can still collect some compensation even if you are partially at fault for an accident or incident. However, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault you have. For example, if you were trespassing on the owner’s property and a jury determines you’re 20% at fault, your compensation might only be 80% of your damages.
Common Injuries from Dog Bites
Dog bites can cause a significant range of injuries, some of which can be severe or life-threatening. Common injuries from dog bites include:
- Puncture wounds and lacerations—these injuries are common in dog bite cases and can lead to complications;
- Broken bones—depending on the dog breed and bite force, a dog attack can result in broken bones, particularly in the hands and arms;
- Disfigurement—severe dog bites can cause significant damage to the skin, muscles, and underlying tissue, leading to disfigurement and the need for reconstructive surgery;
- Infections—dog bites can introduce bacteria into the wound, increasing the risk of infections such as cellulitis, tetanus, and even rabies; and
- Psychological trauma—dog bite victims may experience anxiety, fear, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to the attack.
If you suffered any injury following a dog bite, you must seek medical treatment immediately to reduce the risk of complications.
Potential Complications of Dog Bites
In addition to the immediate injuries, dog bites can lead to long-term complications, such as:
- Nerve damage. Severe dog bites can cause nerve damage, leading to loss of sensation or function in the affected area.
- Scarring. Scarring from dog bites can be permanent and may require multiple surgeries to minimize its appearance.
- Emotional trauma. The psychological impact of a dog bite can develop right away or later on. It can be long-lasting, with victims experiencing anxiety, depression, and other emotional issues.
- Financial burdens. The cost of medical treatment, lost wages, and other expenses related to the dog bite can create a significant financial strain on the victim and their family.
While the dog owner’s insurance company will try to dissuade you, hiring a lawyer following a dog bite is always a good idea.
How a Dog Bite Lawyer in Bowling Green Can Help
A skilled lawyer can provide invaluable assistance in navigating the complex legal process and ensuring that you receive fair compensation for your injuries. Some of the ways a dog bite lawyer can help include:
- Investigating the incident. Your attorney will gather evidence, interview witnesses, and review any available surveillance footage to build a strong case on your behalf.
- Determining liability. A lawyer will help establish the dog owner’s liability under Kentucky’s strict liability laws and any negligence-based causes of actions that apply.
- Assessing damages. Your attorney will review your records and speak with expert medical professionals to determine the full extent of your injuries, including any long-term complications. When you’ve reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), your attorney will calculate the appropriate compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
- Negotiating with insurance companies. Your Bowling Green dog bite lawyer at Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC, is a skilled negotiator who will fight for your best interests when dealing with insurance companies. We will fight to settle for the maximum compensation you deserve.
Should the dog owner’s insurance refuse to negotiate and we need to file a lawsuit, rest assured you will have the best legal representation in court. If your case goes to trial, we will be there for you every step of the way and build the best case possible.
Statute of Limitations for Dog Bites in Kentucky
Kentucky’s statute of limitations for dog bite cases is one year from the bite date. That means you have only one year from the date of injury to file a lawsuit. That might seem like a substantial amount of time, but it’s not if you’re still undergoing treatment for a long-lasting infection or need reconstructive surgery.
Should you miss the filing deadline, the court will most likely dismiss your case entirely. It doesn’t matter how strong your case is or the fact that the owner is strictly liable. That’s why we recommend hiring a dog bite lawyer in Bowling Green immediately following the attack.
Contact a Dog Bite Attorney in Bowling Green
If you or someone you love sustained injuries in a dog attack, don’t wait to seek legal advice. The sooner you retain a lawyer, the sooner we can protect your rights. Don’t try to navigate the complex legal system alone. The skilled legal team at Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC, is here to help. Our firm has nearly 20 years of experience assisting injured victims in Bowling Green. We know what it takes to build a solid case for damages in a dog bite case. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation and learn how we can help.