Kentucky is one of the most favorable legal environments in the U.S. in which to file a dog bite lawsuit against a dog owner. Remember, however, that you will usually have only one year from the date of the attack to file a personal injury lawsuit. Kentucky dog bite law includes several features that distinguish it from the dog bite law of other states.
Kentucky is a strict liability dog bite state, meaning that under the Kentucky dog bite statute, a dog owner will be held liable for a dog attack regardless of whether or not he failed to act reasonably to prevent the attack and regardless of whether or not he had reason to know that the dog was dangerous. The only exceptions to strict liability are when the victim provoked the dog, and when the victim was trespassing on the owner’s property. The term “owner” is defined so broadly under Kentucky law that it includes even those with custody over the dog such as a keeper, and anyone who permits a dog to remain on his (owned or rented) property.
Kentucky is a “pure comparative fault” state, meaning that in a negligence lawsuit the plaintiff’s damages will be reduced by a percentage equal to his proportionate fault – if the court decides that the plaintiff was 30 percent at fault for the accident, his damages will be reduced by 30 percent. A plaintiff can receive one percent of his damages, however, even if he is 99 percent at fault. The comparative fault principle also applies to dog bite lawsuits filed under the Kentucky dog bite statute.
A child under age 7, cannot be held even one percent responsible for a dog attack no matter what his behavior. This is significant because small children are proportionately overrepresented among dog bite victims.
If a court declares a dog to be “vicious”, it will order the dog to be confined, either in a kennel or in an enclosure at least seven feet high. The dog will not be permitted to leave its enclosure except to be taken to the veterinarian or an animal control shelter, and it must be muzzled whenever it leaves its enclosure. If you win a dog bite lawsuit against an owner, the court is likely to declare the dog vicious.
When it is Legal to Kill Someone Else’s Dog
In Kentucky, it is legal to kill another person’s dog
- to stop a dog attack in progress
- to stop a trespassing dog from attacking your livestock
- pursuant to a court order (which may be issued in response to a dog attack)
In Kentucky, judicial precedent provides that a landlord can be held liable for injuries caused by a tenant’s dog on or near his property, even if the landlord has no reason to believe that the dog was vicious. A landlord can even be held liable if he verbally forbids a tenant from keeping a dog yet takes no affirmative steps to remove the dog. This precedent is one of the strictest state provisions in the nation with respect to landlord liability for dog bites.
For more help with Kentucky dog bit law, find a lawyer in your area.