What you’ll learn reading this article:
- Dog bites are quite common and about half come from familiar dogs.
- You can sue the dog’s owner and hold them responsible for your medical bills and more.
- Indiana has a rule that allows dog bite victims to sue, even if they are partially responsible for their own injuries.
Every 75 seconds, someone in the U.S. is bitten by a dog. These dog bites are physically and psychologically traumatic for victims, who may have lifelong scars and ongoing flashbacks to the moment of the vicious attack.
In a surprising proportion of cases – about 50% – people are bitten by a dog they know, like a friend or family member’s beloved puppy. One government-funded study found that 72% of children who were injured by dogs knew the dog beforehand.
If you’re injured by a dog in Indiana, you might assume that the police will automatically step in and hold the dog’s owner accountable. While dog owners are responsible for their animals’ behavior, not every dog bite incident leads to citations or charges. In the end, many victims feel let down by the authorities and wonder what to do next.
Here’s Why A Dog Bite Lawsuit is a Smart Choice
A dog bite lawsuit is often the best way to seek compensation for the pain and loss you’ve suffered. You now have a pile of expensive medical bills through no fault of your own. Who’s going to pay them? Your life shouldn’t be ruined simply because someone failed to protect you from their dog.
In Indiana, dog bite victims can generally seek four types of compensation:
- Bills from medical care and therapy
- Lost wages from being unable to work due to the injury
- Compensation for scarring and disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
How much money you receive will depend on a combination of factors, including the circumstances of the situation, whether the dog’s owner knew it could be aggressive, and whether you might have contributed to being bitten.
Under Indiana’s dog bite statute IC 15-20-1-3, a dog’s owner can be held liable for bites when the victim was acting peaceably and didn’t provoke the dog or was working as a police officer, delivery person, or other person carrying out a duty. The dog’s owner has a particular responsibility to take precautions if their dog was known to be aggressive and/or they knew it bit someone before.
As the victim, you can still sue even if you somehow contributed to the situation where you were bitten. Indiana uses something known as the “modified comparative fault rule.” This means a dog bite victim can recover compensation for their injuries, as long as their fault is below 50%.
After a Dog Bite in Indiana, You Can Take Action
In the immediate aftermath of a dog bite, your next steps are extremely important. Here’s what to do next.
- Call 911 and/or see a doctor immediately for medical treatment.
- Contact an Indiana dog bite lawyer as soon as possible, to ensure you don’t make a misstep going forward.
- Keep records of all medical expenses, including urgent care, appointments, ongoing therapy, and prescriptions.
- Take clear photos of your injuries and any secondary injuries that develop, like bruises or infections.
- Calmly interact with any authorities who are involved, like the police and animal control.
- Although it might be unpleasant, contact the dog’s owner and tell them you were injured by the dog and you are holding them responsible.
- If there were witnesses to the situation, gather their statements and contact information and provide it all to your lawyer.
Your lawyer will help you organize your paperwork and build your legal case. As you are focusing on recovering from your injuries, your lawyer can help provide peace of mind and use the legal system to hold the right person responsible.
Poynter & Bucheri Accident Recovery – Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been injured physically or mentally by a person, product or company, you need to know your legal rights. Our personal injury attorneys are experienced with cases like yours and can evaluate what your case may be worth. We will ensure that you are protected and compensated for your injuries and losses. Don’t hesitate – one of our experienced attorneys can assist you right away. Call 1-800-265-9881 for a free case review.