Dogs have earned a reputation for being our best friends. Unfortunately, some dogs can and do bite. Dog bites are more common than you might think—according to the National Library of Medicine, about 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year.
Whether you’re a dog owner or someone who has recently suffered a dog bite, understanding Indiana law surrounding dog bites can be helpful.
Who is liable for dog bites?
In the vast majority of cases, the owner of a dog is liable if the dog bites another person. Indiana usually follows what’s called a “one-bite rule” in dog bite cases. That means that the owner is often only held liable if they knew (or should have known) the dog was likely to bite. However, the owner may not be held liable if the injured person provoked the dog, was trespassing, or was otherwise breaking the law at the time of the bite. Liability in a dog bite case is nuanced and requires a case-by-case analysis and argument by a skilled personal injury attorney.
What legal rights do dog bite victims have?
Legally speaking, the victim of a dog bite is often entitled to compensation for both economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages include the following:
- Medical costs for treatment of the bite
- Future medical costs (for treatment of scars, etc.)
- Loss of income and/or loss of opportunity
- Counseling and psychological costs
- Costs of defensive measures (like putting up a fence)
Here are some of the common non-economic damages dog bite victims may be compensated for:
- Mental suffering from memories of the attack
- Pain from both the injury and treatment
- Loss of quality of life
- Psychological damage
These lists aren’t exhaustive. A personal injury attorney can review your case and tell you what damages you may be able to recover.
What responsibilities do dog owners have to prevent bites?
Dog owners have a responsibility to protect members of the public from their dog. Many states have laws requiring dogs to be kept on a leash or confined by a fence at all times.
If a dog owner recklessly fails to control the dog, they may face criminal penalties. In cases where an owner fails to restrain a dog and the dog bites someone, the owner may be convicted of a misdemeanor. If the dog bite injuries result in death, the owner may be convicted of a felony.
Why you need legal representation
It’s possible to recover damages in a dog bite case. That being said, personal injury law is incredibly complex. In order to maximize your chances of fair compensation, it’s critically important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney.
Have you been bitten? BB&C is here for you
At BB&C, our attorneys have years of experience helping people like you recover from dog bite injuries. Each client’s injury is different, so we work with you to create a customized game plan for your case.
A settlement may not erase the pain of a dog bite or other injury, but it can help you return to living a normal life. Dog bite victims often have to contend with high medical bills and lost wages as they heal, and financial compensation can help make that process a little easier.
If you’ve been injured by a dog bite, you need an experienced personal injury attorney by your side. Reach out to BB&C today for a consultation—we’re here for you and here for life.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended to be general and informational in nature. It is advertising material and is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice to or for any particular person, case, or circumstance. Each situation is different, and you should consult an attorney if you have any questions about your situation.