Kentucky Injury Attorney Blog

Articles Posted in Dog Bites

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Dogs are wonderful companions for adults and children alike. They offer unconditional love and are happy to see you when you come home. But what some people sometimes forget is that they are still animals and, as a result, they can be unpredictable. Two recent cases, one right here in Kentucky, illustrate this point.

On January 9, 2013, three children were playing at a home in Henderson, Kentucky. The kids were getting a little crazy, which riled up the dog living at the home, so the owner told the kids to calm down. The kids calmed down, and the dog appeared to calm down too. But when one of the children began staring at the dog, the dog attacked him, biting off his nose and swallowing it. After the dog was euthanized, the vet was able to retrieve the boy’s nose and surgeons reattached it. The owner said he had owned the dog for a long time and he had never been aggressive before.

In the same week in New Athens, Illinois, a young girl was attacked by two dogs as she and her friend were walking. She suffered bites to multiple parts of her body. What is even more disturbing about this attack is that the dogs were owned by the town’s former police chief, and one of the dogs was a trained police dog. That may leave some wondering how any dog can be trusted if even a trained police dog can attack without warning.

The fact of the matter is that you should never trust a dog 100%. Even the gentlest, calmest dog can have a bad moment that could end with someone being bitten. The American Kennel Club offers these tips to avoid dog bite injuries:
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Right before Christmas in 2007, fifteen month old Jason Riley was being watched by his aunt at her house. Jason’s aunt also had a 125 pound Great Dane in the house. While she was in the kitchen getting a drink for Jason, the Great Dane attacked the toddler, biting the toddler in the face and causing lacerations to Jason’s eye, a fractured orbital bone, and a torn tear duct. Jason was taken to Kosair’s Children’s Hospital where the cuts were repaired. However, Jason’s injuries resulted in scarring and an increased risk of harm related to the fracture and tear duct injury. Jason’s parents filed a lawsuit on his behalf against the aunt seeking reimbursement of medical expenses, future medical expenses and pain and suffering.

At the trial, the aunt defended the case by arguing that she had no reason to think that her dog would attack Jason. The plaintiff submitted evidence at trial that the dog was involved in a prior incident regarding biting. The verdict in the case was rendered on June 24, 2009. On the issue of liability, the jury found in favor of Jason Riley. On the issue of damages, the jury awarded Jason $21,914 for his medical expenses, $30,000 for future medical expenses, and $60,000 for pain and suffering bringing the verdict total to $111,914.

The laws in Kentucky regarding dog bites hold the owner of a dog who causes harm strictly liable for the resulting injury. Strict liability is a legal term sometimes referred to as “absolute liability,” and means that the owner of the dog is legally responsible for the damages or injury their dogs causes even if that person was not at fault or negligent. Therefore, in Kentucky, it is not required that a dog owner know that their dog is dangerous, it is simply enough that the owner’s dog attacks and causes damages.