Indiana Dog Bite Laws

Poynter & Bucheri Accident Recovery: We Get Results

  • $67,500: Escaped dog bites neighbor causing hospitalization for infection 
  • $67,500: Dog bites customer at business 
  • $60,000: Dog escapes yard and chases neighbor over fence causing fall and injury 

Owning a pet can bring about a number of health benefits, ranging from decreased blood pressure to better mental health, and Americans are no stranger to sharing their homes with furry, scaly, or fuzzy friends. Indiana ranks 3rd in the United States for pet ownership and 6th in dog ownership, with at least 49.4% of households reporting at least one dog.

dog bite law

Unfortunately, sharing space with animals, even domesticated ones, opens us up to the possibility of injury and dog bite claims. While all animals can attack in the right circumstances, dogs, in particular, can bring about serious injuries.

A dog bite can cause harm and damage that last much longer than it takes for the bite to heal. Attacks by dogs can cause long-term physical and mental injuries that can impair a victim’s ability to function normally, including returning to a normal school or work schedule. For dog bite victims in Indianapolis, the consequences of a dog attack can be life-altering.

The Indianapolis dog bite attorneys of Poynter & Bucheri, LLC handle cases involving dog bites and dog attacks and can explain the Indiana dog bite laws to you. Our lawyers assist clients as they seek compensation for the injuries and damages caused by a dog bite.

If you have been injured in a dog attack or your child has suffered a dog bite injury, call 1-800-265-9881 for a free consultation with one of our Indiana dog bite attorneys. We can hold a negligent dog owner responsible for the damage caused by his or her dog.

Why Choose a Poynter & Bucheri Dog Bite Lawyer

dog bite case

Whether it happened on the job (like mail carriers or police) or while strolling through the park, the aftermath of a dog bite can be devastating. Both state and federal law allow victims to file personal injury claims and recover damages for their suffering.

After a dog bite, it’s important to consider hiring Poynter & Bucheri to help you navigate the legal process and secure fair compensation. Dealing with insurance companies and legal matters can be overwhelming, especially when you’re recovering from an injury. Our experienced team of attorneys specializes in dog bite cases and will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

We understand the complexities of these cases and will handle all the details so you can focus on your recovery. With a proven track record of successful outcomes, you can trust Poynter & Bucheri to fight for your rights and provide you with the support you need during this challenging time. 

Contact us today at 1-800-265-9881 to discuss your case and learn how we can help you move forward.

Indiana’s One-Bite Law  

one bite rule

Indiana has a “one-bite rule” that holds a dog’s owner responsible if they know their dog has a dangerous propensity for biting. Indiana’s one-bite rule states that if a dog owner knew or should have known dog biting was possible, then dog owners are negligent if they do not protect people from animal bites.

Many people believe they cannot recover compensation for a dog bite injury unless they prove that the Indiana dog is aggressive. 

Although common, the assumption that the animal owner is not strictly liable for this type of dog bite case is incorrect. 

You can recover damages from being bitten by dogs, even if the dog has never shown aggressive tendencies or bitten anyone before biting you. 

According to the modified comparative fault rule that is part of Indiana dog bite laws, a person bitten may recover damages if they were less than 51% at fault for the attack.

Indiana’s Strict Liability Dog Bite Law 

dog attacks

Under Indiana’s strict liability bite laws for dog owners, victims of dog bites don’t need to prove the owner was negligent to recover damages in a dog bite claim. In many cases, state law favors victims of dog bites, provided the victim did nothing to provoke the attack. 

Even though Indiana state law shows strict liability favorable to victims for injuries caused, it doesn’t mean that every dog bite claim is paid. 

Each dog bite attorney understands how to fight denials of dog bite claims. We also ensure that dog bite cases are not undervalued so you can receive total compensation for all damages.

Strict Liability for Negligent Dog Owners 

Indiana dog bite laws state that dog owners may be held liable for injuries caused by a dog bite under Section 15-20-1-3 and Section 15-20-1-4 of the Indiana Code if the following occur:

  • The victim was acting peaceably and not provoking the dog to attack.
  • The victim was in a place where they were required to see through a legal duty, such as police officers, postal workers acting on postal regulations, or state or federal (or other) government employees.
  • The dog owner failed to take reasonable action to keep the dog properly restrained and keep it from injuring someone.
  • The owner recklessly allowed the dog to roam on someone else’s property.

Indiana courts have strict regulations about filing a dog bite-related personal injury case.

dog bite laws

Act quickly when an owner intentionally does not exercise reasonable care to secure dangerous dogs or the owner recklessly violates Indiana dog bite laws. 

Consequences for the owner who neglects to control their dog include:

  • If the dog enters another person’s property and subsequently bites or attacks them, resulting in bodily harm without provocation, the owner may face a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
  • For repeat offenders, or if the attack results in serious bodily harm, it’s a Class B misdemeanor, carrying penalties of up to 180 days in jail and fines of up to $1,000.
  • In cases where the owner’s reckless actions lead to a person’s death, the owner’s failure to protect becomes a Level 6 felony, punishable by six months to 2.5 years in prison and fines up to $10,000
  • When an owner intentionally or knowingly causes a person’s death after their dog bit, it’s a Level 5 felony with penalties of 1 to 6 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.

Regardless of the dog’s prior behavior, if a dog bites a state or federal government official while performing official duties, the owner is strictly liable for all damages caused. 

This exempts owners from Indiana’s “one-bite” rule for dog bites. It’s important to note that this law does not cover non-bite injuries caused by dogs.

Indiana’s Statute Of Limitations for Lawsuits Related to Dog Bites

All personal injury claims, including dog bite cases, are subject to a statute of limitations, which imposes a time restriction. 

According to this limitation built into Indiana law, any personal injury lawsuit must be officially lodged with the court within two years.

Under the Indiana statute, even if the owner knew their dog would violate Indiana dog bite law by acting in a vicious manner, they can’t be held liable under Indiana law after 2 years.

Recovering Dog Bite Damages from the Dog Owner

dog bite laws

If someone else’s dog bites you, you may recover for any damages you incur due to the Indiana dog bite incident. 

Here are some of the damages you may be able to include on your dog bite claim:  

Medical Expenses: This includes costs for treating physical injuries such as soft tissue damage, broken bones, and nerve injuries. 

Lost Wages and Income: You can seek compensation for financial losses, including wages lost during recovery and potential future income loss due to decreased work capacity.


Pain and Suffering: Victims endure physical pain from the attack itself, as well as discomfort associated with medical procedures and rehabilitation. Compensation extends to long-term suffering and potential disfigurement or the need for future treatments.

Emotional Distress: Dog attacks can cause emotional trauma, leading to conditions like PTSD, anxiety, and depression. Children may be especially vulnerable to lasting effects.

Property Damages: Any items damaged during the attack, such as clothing, shoes, eyewear, or personal belongings, are compensable.

Loss of Enjoyment: If the attack results in permanent dysfunction, emotional distress, or disfigurement, compensation may be provided for the diminished quality of life.

Loss of Consortium: If the attack negatively affects the victim’s relationship with their spouse, compensation may be awarded for the impact on intimacy and companionship.

Punitive Damages: In cases of extreme negligence or recklessness by the dog owner, additional punitive damages may be awarded to deter the person liable for such behavior.

It’s essential to consult experienced legal professionals like those at Poynter & Bucheri to ensure you receive all the damages you are entitled to.

What to Do if You’ve Been Attacked by a Dog

if a dog has bitten you

If a dog has bitten you, it is crucial to take immediate steps to address the situation and protect your health and legal rights.

First, seek medical attention promptly. Even seemingly minor dog bites can lead to infections or other complications, so it’s essential to have the wound properly cleaned and evaluated by a healthcare professional.

If your friend or family member is a dog bite victim, take reasonable steps to ensure the injured person is safe and then check for any serious bodily injury.

Exchange contact information with the dog’s owner or any witnesses to the incident. Obtain the dog owner’s property name, address, contact number, and any relevant insurance information.

Document the incident by taking photos of the bite wound and its location. Note any relevant details, such as the dog’s breed, size, and behavior leading up to the attack.

Report the incident to the local animal control authorities, Indiana state police officer, or law enforcement agency, especially if the dog’s behavior poses a threat to public safety.

Seek legal advice from a qualified attorney experienced in dog bite cases to understand your rights and options for seeking compensation for your dog bite injuries, medical bills, and related damages.

Contact an Indiana Dog Bite Lawyer

client review

We understand Indiana dog bite laws and can help you recover the compensation you deserve for your own injuries and damages caused by a dog attack. We can hold a negligent dog owner responsible for the damage caused by his or her dog.

We encourage you to contact the law firm of Poynter & Bucheri, LLC by calling 1-800-265-9881 or (317) 780-8000 for a no-cost, no-obligation free case review with an Indiana dog bite attorney.