Canine companions often enrich the lives of the people who own them. They provide entertainment and affection. Sometimes they even provide services by protecting livestock or assisting someone with a disabling medical condition.
Most dogs are amiable companions, but a few of them eventually become aggressive toward people. There are hundreds of major dog bite cases every year in Kentucky where individuals end up injured or sometimes even killed when vicious (or otherwise provoked, scared or traumatized) dogs attack.
Kentucky has a strict liability statute
Some states have a one-bite rule. A dog’s owner is only liable for what the animal does if it has a history of attacking people or animals. However, Kentucky uses a different approach. The owner of the animal is liable in almost all cases regardless of the animal’s prior conduct.
There are, however, two exceptions to this rule. The first is when someone trespassed or otherwise broke the law. Someone who did not have the lawful right to be at a particular location may not be in a position to seek compensation from the animal’s owner after it attacks them. The same is often true of situations in which the person bitten by the dog was in the act of breaking the law at the time of the incident.
The second scenario is when someone intentionally provokes the animal. People may taunt or abuse a dog that they encounter at a neighbor’s house or in a public park. If someone instigates an incident in which a dog feels compelled to protect itself, they may not be in a position to hold the animal’s owner liable for the injuries that result.
Homeowners or renters insurance may help
Many dog bite incidents lead to insurance claims. The process of connecting with insurance compensation often involves filing a civil lawsuit. Even those who know the animal’s owner may need to take the matter to the Kentucky civil courts if they want an insurance company to pay for the damages a dog caused.
Learning more about the rules that apply to Kentucky dog bite cases may benefit those harmed in an animal attack. Seeking legal guidance to better assess one’s unique circumstances is a good way to get started.