We love dogs here at Truman Law Office. But we also know from experience that some dogs can be aggressive and dangerous. Dog attacks are responsible for roughly 350,000 trips to the emergency room each year in the United States, and severe dog bites can lead to permanent injuries and scarring. This is especially true when the victim is a young child or older adult.
If you or a family member has been bitten by an aggressive dog, please schedule a free consultation with our Louisville dog bite lawyers today. Truman Law has helped more than 100 dog bite victims in Kentucky and Indiana protect their legal rights and get the fair compensation they deserve for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Please call (502) 222-2222 or 812-282-8500 (toll-free) today for a free review of your case.
What Should You Do After a Dog Attack?
Dog bites can result in severe injuries, and they can be especially dangerous for children. If you or a family member is the victim of a dog attack, taking the following steps can help support your case in the event that you need to file a personal injury lawsuit:
- Seek medical attention immediately, even if you think your injuries are minor. They may be more severe than you realize at first, and you will need medical evidence documenting your injuries if you need to file a lawsuit.
- Identify the dog and owner if possible.
- Contact police and animal control to report the incident. Dog bites should always be reported, since you will need the evidence for your legal case. It also helps protect your community and reduces the risk of future dog attacks.
- Gather the contact information for any witnesses.
- Take photos or video of your injuries and the location where the incident occurred.
- Do not provide written or verbal statements to the dog’s owner.
- Do not provide written or verbal statements to the insurance provider of the dog’s owner.
- Do not sign any insurance company documentation or accept an insurance company settlement without an attorney’s review.
- Contact the Louisville injury lawyers at the Karl Truman Law Office for a complimentary case consultation
Why Choose Karl Truman Law Office?
Karl Truman and his team have been fighting for personal injury victims for over 30 years.
- We have represented victims of dog bites and other animal attacks in more than 100 separate personal injury claims. We have a lot of experience handling these types of cases.
- We understand the complexities of local and state laws regarding dog bites and animal attacks, and how to apply them to your case.
- We know the defense tactics that insurance companies use to try to limit their liability, and we’re prepared for them.
- We can help you gather the evidence you’ll need to accurately calculate your damages and get the fair compensation you deserve.
- We are experienced trial attorneys who are willing and able to file a dog bite lawsuit and take your case to trial if necessary.
- We will make sure you get the medical attention and support you need to recover from your injuries as best as possible.
- We are available to you 24/7 and will do everything in our power to answer your questions promptly, keep you informed about your case, and make sure you are well cared for from start to finish.
- You never pay us anything out of pocket. If we don’t win your case, you owe nothing.
Dog Bites Can Cause Serious Injuries
Dogs bite millions of Americans each year. While most of these cases only involve small wounds that can be treated at home, hundreds of thousands of dog bite victims need emergency care for injuries such as:
- Severe punctures and lacerations
- Serious bleeding
- Bone fractures
- Damage to internal organs
- Injury to muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other soft tissue
- Nerve damage
- Permanent scarring
- Infections (including serious infections such as rabies, tetanus, or antibiotic-resistant MRSA)
It’s important to understand that you might not realize how serious your dog bite injuries truly are right away, especially
Treatment for dog bite injuries can easily cost thousands, and sometimes tens of thousands of dollars.
Who Is Responsible for My Dog Bite Injuries?
In most cases, dog owners are responsible for the conduct of their dog. For the purposes of the law, the term “dog owner” includes anyone who keeps and harbors the dog—it doesn’t necessarily have to be the dog’s legal owner. Insurance coverage is typically provided through a homeowners insurance or renters insurance policy.
However, there are exceptions to the general rule. The specific circumstances of the animal attack matter. So do the dog bite laws in effect in the state where the attack took place.
Here are a few important questions that you may need to answer:
Has the Dog Has Bitten Anyone Before?
If the dog bite took place in Kentucky, the answer to this question shouldn’t matter to the outcome of your dog bite case. Kentucky is a “strict liability” state, meaning that a dog owner is always responsible for their dog’s conduct regardless of whether or not the dog has previously bitten anyone or shown any warning signs of aggressive behavior.
Indiana, however, is a “one bite rule” state. This means that in most situations, the dog owner is only responsible if the “knew or should have known” that their dog was dangerous. That could mean that the dog has already bitten someone in the past. However, other obvious warning signs, such as chasing other people or animals in a menacing way, could be considered evidence that the dog is dangerous.
Indiana law does provide an exception to the one bite rule for postal carriers and government officials (such as police officers) who are legally required to be on the property to carry out state or federal duties. In these cases, dog owners are strictly liable even if the dog hasn’t been aggressive in the past.
Were You Also Partly Responsible?
One way that dog owners and their insurance companies try to get out of paying fair compensation for animal bite injuries is by shifting at least some of the blame to the dog bite victim. If these defenses are successful, your compensation can be reduced. In some cases, you might even lose the ability to recover compensation at all.
The most common defenses are:
- The dog was provoked to attack. For example, the bite victim was chasing or harassing the dog prior to the attack.
- The dog bite victim was trespassing.
Once again, the state where the attack took place makes a difference.
Kentucky law follows a “pure comparative negligence” rule, meaning that even if a court finds you mostly at fault (for example, 70%), you can still recover compensation. However, you’ll only be able to recover whatever percentage you weren’t at fault (in this case, 30%).
However, Indiana follows a modified comparative negligence rule. If you’re 51% at fault or more, you cannot recover any compensation. Indiana statutes and case law also acknowledge trespassing and provoking a dog as valid defenses, whereas Kentucky dog bite laws do not.
Did the Animal Attack Take Place on Rental Property?
Again, generally speaking, dog owners will almost always be responsible for any injuries that result from a dog attack or bite, even if the attack took place on rental property.
However, in rare circumstances, a landlord can also be held liable for attacks by animals owned by their tenants. In order to be liable, the landlord would need to have been aware that the animal was dangerous, and did not take reasonable steps to prevent the damage.
Compensation in a Dog Bite Injury Case
The damage from a dog bite can range from physical harm to emotional trauma. Compensation in dog bite cases may be awarded for:
- Medical costs
- Lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Lifestyle modifications
- Psychological counseling
Calculating long-term medical treatment costs, as well as a fair compensation for non-economic losses like disfigurement, is not a simple process. This is especially true if catastrophic injuries are involved. If you are seeking compensation for your injuries, we strongly encourage you to speak with an Indiana or Kentucky dog bite attorney as soon as possible after any animal attack.
Count on the Colonel
If you or a loved one was injured by in a dog attack, please contact the Karl Truman Law Office online or call us toll-free at 812-282-8500 or locally at (502) 222-2222 today to schedule your free consultation. Our Louisville dog bite attorneys represent people throughout Kentucky and Indiana.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.