Most of the time, dogs and humans coexist without issue — even benefiting each other’s lives. However, this can all go wrong in a flash when a dog bites someone. If you or a loved one has suffered a dog attack in Louisville, KY, you should consult with a dog bite attorney to start the process of making a claim to gain compensation for your injuries and the other damages you’ve faced.
Injuries After a Dog Bite
Dog bites can lead to lacerations and puncture wounds. Depending on the severity of the bite injury, you may need stitches. This could lead to facial scarring or other types of disfigurement, such as if the dog bite occurred on an arm or another visible body part. A bite can also cause a severed artery, tendon, or muscle, the loss of a finger, broken bones, major blood loss, and even death. Finally, the numerous types of bacteria present in saliva also mean that dog bites can cause infections — and serious infections could require the amputation of a limb, hand, or digit.
What to Do After a Dog Attack
Dog bites that break the skin require prompt medical attention, whereas a severe animal attack could be an emergency. To prevent an infection, press the wound to allow it to bleed — this will remove some of the bacteria. Then, wash the site of the wound with soap and water. Once it’s clean, apply an over-the-counter topical antibiotic and use a clean cloth to control the bleeding. Finally, wrap the wound in a sterile bandage and head to the nearest hospital for further treatment. The physical who treats you must report the dog bite to the Louisville, KY, health department within 12 hours. This will mean you have a report that clearly links the dog bite to your injuries, which will be useful for your claim. Make sure you also take your own pictures of the injuries and keep a record of your medical bills.
You should also report the dog bite to the police. The Animal Control Office in Louisville, KY, will likely impound and quarantine the dog before beginning an investigation to determine if any criminal charges should be brought against the dog’s owner. For instance, the owner may face a failure to control citation or an assault charge.
As soon as possible, talk to a Louisville dog bite lawyer. As with every type of personal injury, there is a statute of limitations for filing a claim after animal attacks. Building your case early will improve your chances of receiving compensation to pay all your economic and non-economic damages. Whereas you can make a claim without an attorney, the settlement will typically be less — and it will be difficult for you to know if the offer you receive is fair. Experienced injury attorneys know what argument to present to maximize the amount you receive and will do all the heavy lifting to gather the evidence you need to prove your case.
Dog Bite Laws in Louisville, KY
Since Kentucky is a strict liability state, dog owners are always responsible for the injuries caused to dog bite victims as well as for damage to the victims’ property, which includes pets and livestock. It doesn’t matter if this was the first dog bite nor if it was an accident, such as if the dog escaped. Furthermore, if the dog is declared vicious due to the incident, the owner must meet certain standards to prevent the dog having contact with people in the future and to mitigate the risk of subsequent dog attacks. If the dog has a history of aggression, it may be seized and could be euthanized.
Kentucky allows pure comparative fault, which means your damages could be reduced if your actions contributed to the attack in any way. However, working with an attorney can help decrease the amount of fault attributed to you. The law firm can prove that it was mostly (if not entirely) the owner’s negligence that resulted in you becoming injured.
Why Do Dogs Attack?
Most of the time, dogs attack due to their treatment by humans in the past, but this is often combined with natural tendencies toward aggression or other contributing factors. There are a few main reasons why a dog may bite.
Improper Training or Mistreatment
The dog owner may be unaware of how to properly train a dog or could be quick to anger and mistreat the animal. If the dog faces harsh punishments whenever it exhibits a disagreeable behavior, it will learn to become defensive — and this could culminate in a dog bite if the animal feels trapped or threatened. In addition, dogs require socialization to learn how to react to unknown people. If a dog rarely meets people and animals outside its family circle, it is more likely to become afraid or aggressive around new people and could bite.
Even a well-trained animal may bite if it’s afraid. A dog bite could be due to the animal trying to protect itself. Depending on the circumstances, the dog owner may still be fully liable or the victim may share some responsibility.
Pain or Discomfort
A dog that is in pain due to a chronic medical condition or after being injured is more easily provoked and could even snap for no apparent reason.
Guard Dog Training
It’s common for people to train dogs to guard property. This can be completely safe — but the dog needs to be aware of who is an intruder and not just attack anyone unfamiliar.
Young children are at the highest risk of being victims of animal attacks because they may miss the signs that dog is likely to be aggressive or they could unintentionally provoke the dog. Children also tend to have the most serious injuries after a dog bite.
What Damages Can You Receive?
Strict liability means that dog bite victims can receive compensation for their personal injury and other damages. This is paid by the dog owner’s homeowners insurance or (if the owner of the dog rents a home) by renters insurance. The landlord of rented property could also be responsible — this will depend on the terms set out in the lease. A dog bite attorney will be able to check the documentation and determine who is liable.
Some types of damages a victim of an animal attack can recover include:
- Medical expenses — This applies to both the medical bills you’ve already incurred and the medical expenses you’ll face in the future. Ongoing care can be necessary in the case of an infection or if your personal injury requires surgery.
- Lost wages — You may be unable to work while recovering from your injuries.
- Pain and suffering — An example of pain and suffering is diminished quality of life due to disfigurement.
- Property damage — You can receive compensation to cover the cost of any property damaged in the attack, such as eyeglasses, a bicycle, or livestock.
- Punitive damages — A dog attack due to outrageous conduct may mean you are entitled to punitive damages.
Louisville Dog Bite Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured due to an animal attack, you need to have an experienced Louisville dog bite lawyer handling your case to ensure you receive full compensation. It’s particularly important to have an attorney if the victim may have been at fault in any way. Receive the support you need from the Fleck Firm. The attorneys at our law firm will investigate the dog bite incident to prove that the dog owner was negligent and therefore responsible for your personal injury. Our lawyers will also negotiate with the insurance company of the liable party to ensure you recover all the damages you are entitled to. Finally, we’ll provide you with a Louisville dog bite lawyer if your claim is unsuccessful and you need to go to trial. Contact us now to book a free consultation with one of our dog bite attorneys.