In the state of Kentucky, dog owners are strictly liable for any injuries their pets cause. That means they can be sued for damages if their dog bites someone, even if the animal had never shown a propensity to be aggressive prior to the incident. In other words, dog bite victims don’t have to prove that the owner knew or should have known the animal had a vicious streak in order to hold them responsible in most circumstances.
While the strict liability doctrine eliminates a major hurdle for claimants, it doesn’t guarantee a payout for all those who end up taking action. Every personal injury claim is unique, and any number of disputes can arise along the way that end up jeopardizing a case. Some examples of disputes that may arise and limit the recovery include whether the injured party was trespassing or did anything to provoke the animal or assume the risk of a bite.
Thankfully, there are ways to mitigate some of the most common disputes so your claim has a better chance of yielding a settlement or verdict in your favor. You can bolster your case from day one, for example, by taking some of the following steps:
1. Visit a Doctor
The sooner you seek medical care, the sooner you’ll start a paper trail linking the attack to the injuries in question. This will make it easier to prove causation when the time comes. It will also ensure the prompt treatment for all wounds, thereby reducing the risk of serious infection, and demonstrating that you have taken reasonable steps to mitigate damages.
2. Report the Incident
It’s advisable to call the local authorities that handle animal control because they may be able to assist with the subsequent investigation. They may also be able to keep the dog from attacking anyone else. In addition to drafting a formal report, the animal control officers may confirm the dog’s rabies status, arrange for a quarantine, issue a citation if the owner was violating a leash ordinance at the time, and/or provide deposition.
3. Start a Personal Injury Journal & Take Photos
Detailed entries about the hurdles you face over the course of your recovery can bolster your claim for non-economic damages like pain and suffering. Personal injury attorneys advise their clients to start a journal as soon as possible after the cause of action occurred (preferably later that very same day). Most importantly, take high quality photos of injuries, the animal, and the incident location if possible. It is extremely important to preserve all evidence.
4. Update Your Privacy Settings on Social Media
The insurance adjuster may try to monitor you online over the course of the proceedings. To avoid giving them any reason—justified or not—to challenge your case, it’s best to change your privacy settings on each social media profile. Make sure only approved connections can see what you post as long as your claim is pending.
5. Seek Legal Counsel
A seasoned lawyer will have the knowledge, resources, and experience to help you put together a strong claim. Once you enlist legal help, you can focus on your health while your attorney handles all the logistics of your case.
Call 859-535-0180 to Speak with a Dog Bite Attorney in Covington
At Russell & Ireland Law Group, LLC, we know just how devastating animal attacks can be on the whole family. If you or someone you love was bitten by another party’s dog, we will help you take the steps needed to pursue compensation for the resulting damages. To schedule a free initial consultation with a dog bite lawyer in Covington, call 859-535-0180 or complete our Online Contact Form.