I am working on a dog injury case this week. It is not a dog bite case. My client was jogging in her neighborhood. Two small dogs should have been on a leash or enclosed. You know where this is going. The dogs were loose and chased my client. In an attempt to escape them she fractured her ankle. This blog post discusses animal injury and dog bite cases in Kentucky. You need a personal injury lawyer to meaningfully work a case like this.
Jefferson County Kentucky has a leash law. It says if you have a dog it better be on leash or enclosed on your property. If the dog gets out the owner is strictly liable for injury.
In all honesty I expected a large breed of dog. Turns out it was small two shiatzus. My daughters are from Africa. When they came over to America they were scared out of their mind about dogs (it is a long story). Before I had this information I would have probably not been as eager to take on this case. However, knowing the client was from Rwanda and legitimately scared of dogs we got to work. Side Note: even if she wasn’t scared the dogs still need to be leashed or enclosed.
First my office tracked down the house where the dogs lived. Next step was to send a letter to the homeowner asking for insurance information. The goal is to pursue insurance. People have insurance for a reason and getting money out of insurance is much more fruitful than pursuing personal assets. Once the homeowner provided insurance my office set up a claim.
Say No To A Statement
The adjuster wanted a statement. I do not do statements absent an exceptional circumstance. Carriers do not use them to help my clients. Even when the statement goes really well they still balk. I declined the statement request. Next step was to gather the bills and records from the hospital and orthopedic surgeon and sent them to the adjuster.
He had a lot of questions about how “do we know” it was these dogs. I responded, “would be really strange to provide insurance information to a lawyer if was not his dogs.” I asked him if his insured was denying it was his dogs. No real response. I then sent photos of the dogs. I told him to let me know ASAP if they were denying. If so, I would need to file a lawsuit and let them point fingers at each other.
Due to the severity of the injury, I demanded multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars. The adjuster asked about health insurance payments. He struck me as an experienced battle axe. It is a rookie move to provide that information in Kentucky. Adjusters test lawyers out in this respect. The law is that we get to blackboard the entire medicals. In other words, the law does not punish people for having insurance.
After negotiations and the threat of lawsuit (which you actually need to be able to back up) they eventually folded and put all the money they had on the table. Without a lawyer insurance would have offered to pay the lien and give her a few thousand dollars. Today I called the health insurance lien holder to get a reduction of the amount owed. That will put more money in my clients pocket.
Everything I did above is textbook. More lawyers should do it.
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