In Indiana, dog owners are responsible for ensuring the safety of the public and their pets. Despite the legal obligations of dog owners, an alarming number of dog bite incidents occur each year, with nearly 4.5 million dog bite victims in the US alone. Without the help of an experienced Indianapolis dog bite attorney, dog bite victims can struggle to pay their medical bills or cover other expenses related to their injuries.
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Who Is Liable for Dog Bites in Indianapolis? Dog Bite Lawyers Can Help You Learn Your Rights
Under Indiana law, dog owners are liable for any injuries or damages caused by their pets. This means that dog bite victims may be able to pursue a personal injury claim against the dog's owner to recover compensation for their hospital bills, lost income, mental and physical suffering, and other related expenses.
However, pursuing a dog bite claim is complex, especially if the dog's owner denies liability or if the insurance company refuses to compensate the victim fairly. However, working with Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can help the plaintiff navigate the dog bite case and receive a fair settlement for their medical treatment.
Dog owners may try to argue that the victim provoked the animal, but this is rarely a valid defense. The fact remains that the dog's owner is responsible for controlling their pet and preventing it from attacking others.
When dog owners fail to take precautions to prevent violent dog attacks, they can be held liable for any injuries caused and have to provide financial compensation for medical expenses and lost income.
Indianapolis dog bite lawyers can help victims see the bigger picture and walk them through the process. Many attorneys in Indianapolis offer free case review services that interested people can use.
Damages in Indianapolis Dog Bite Cases | About the "One Bite Rule"
In many states, dog owners can get a free pass on their pet's first bite. However, this is not applicable under Indiana law. According to the Indiana court, the dog owner is liable for the actions of their vicious dog, imposing a "strict liability" on the pet owner.
Since there is no "one bite rule" under Indiana state law, the dog owner is automatically held liable by the court for all dog bite claims and injuries. In this case, the victim doesn't even have to prove that the owner was at-fault for their dog bite injuries.
"Dog Owner" Definition in Indiana
In Indiana, a dog owner is anyone who keeps, possesses, and takes care of a dog. The court usually imposes liability on the person who owns the animal to make the process easier. Also, the insurance company associated with the at-fault owner of the dog also has to provide maximum compensation to the victims.
However, in some cases, third parties might also be held accountable for the aggressive behavior a dog demonstrates to outsiders. In an Indiana dog bite case, liability can be transferred to:
Sometimes, a friend watching another person's dogs, especially if the owner is away.
The landlord, whose tenant owns an aggressive breed, with their permission.
It is important to note that if a dog has a history of aggression or has been deemed a "vicious pet," the owner may face additional legal consequences. In some cases, the court may order the animal to be placed under strict restrictions to prevent dog attacks.
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Injuries Caused by Dog Bites
Animal attacks can result in a range of injuries, from minor scratches and cuts to more serious issues such as disfigurement, scarring, and nerve damage. Some of the most common dog bite injuries include:
Depending on the severity of the injury, victims may require extensive medical treatment and may face long-term physical and emotional challenges. Patients may sometimes require reconstructive surgery or amputation, especially if the cuts and bites lead to rabies.
Indiana Criminal Code for Unprovoked Dog Bites
The criminal code in Indiana states that all unprovoked dog attack cases are a "Class C misdemeanor."
However, the dog bite injury claims have to fall under strict circumstances to be seen as a misdemeanor:
The owner fails to restrain his or her dog due to recklessness or carelessness.
The pet went into someone else's property without the dog owner around.
The person bitten didn't provoke the dog; as a result, automatically transferred liability to the irresponsible dog owner.
However, simply ticking off these boxes doesn't entirely prove liability. In this case, only Indiana dog bite lawyers can help victims recover compensation from the insurance company and the pet owner for their dog bite injuries.
How Can an Indianapolis Dog Bite Lawyer Help?
First and foremost, Indianapolis dog bite attorneys can help victims navigate the legal process of filing a claim against the owner.
Animal owners are responsible for keeping their pets under control and preventing them from harming others. If a dog owner fails to do so, and their domesticated canine bites someone, they may be held liable for the victim's injuries.
In this case, a personal injury lawyer can help the plaintiff file a claim and pursue compensation for their serious injury.
Another way that an Indianapolis dog bite attorney can help is by representing the victims in court. Pet owners and their insurance companies may sometimes refuse to pay for the plaintiff's medical bills, lost wages, or other expenses related to the dog bite injury.
If this happens, a dog bite lawyer can file a lawsuit on the victim's behalf and fight for their rights in court. They can help build a strong case and ensure that the victim has the best chance at receiving the compensation they need to cover their expenses and move forward with their life.
In addition to seeking compensation for the victim's damages, an attorney can also help advocate for the victim's rights.
This can include fighting to ensure that the plaintiff receives immediate medical attention and necessary treatment. They can also assist with filing police reports and gathering evidence to strengthen the case.
It's important to seek the help of an experienced lawyer as soon as possible after a dog bite injury. In Indiana, there is a statute of limitations that limits the amount of time a victim has to file a lawsuit. Additionally, prompt legal action can help preserve evidence essential to the case.
When selecting a dog bite attorney, here are some essential factors to consider:
People must look for a lawyer with a proven track record of successfully resolving dog attack cases.
They must also ensure that the attorney is a specialist in dog bite cases.
Lawyers must keep their clients informed and updated throughout the process.
Finally, the person should choose an attorney who charges reasonable fees and offers flexible payment schedules.
They were polite and really cared throughout the entire process and made me feel like my case was important. I would highly recommend them to anyone that didn’t get a fair offer from the insurance company like me!
- Brian D.
What to Do After an Animal Attack in Indianapolis, Indiana
Animal attacks, especially dog bites, can be traumatic and life-threatening. They can cause physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial burden. In moments like this, knowing what to do right after the incident is essential to ensure safety and well-being.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
The priority after an animal attack is to seek immediate medical attention, regardless of the severity of the injury.
Even seemingly minor injuries from a dog scratch or a small bite can lead to serious infections. It's crucial to have a healthcare professional examine, clean, and treat the wound properly. If the injury is severe, victims should call for an ambulance or head straight to the emergency department (if they can walk).
Wash the Area
Before receiving medical attention, victims should clean the wound with soap and running water. They should try to remove any dirt, saliva, or debris that may cause infection. The simple act of washing with soap and water can significantly reduce the risk of infection.
Having photographic evidence can be useful in filing an insurance claim or a police report. Plaintiffs should take photos of any torn clothing or other damaged property, including bodily injuries.
If the incident happened on someone's property, victims should inform the owner to prevent future incidents.
On the other hand, if the animal is a stray, they should call the appropriate authorities, including rescue teams. However, if the dog bite involves a pet, victims should collect information about the owner and their insurance company.
Dog bite claims can be complex legal processes that victims have to navigate alone to receive the maximum compensation they are entitled to. This is where Indiana lawyers come in.
In short, Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys know how to identify the owner and insurance company and will ensure that the victim's rights are protected. It is important to note that dog owner liability laws vary from state to state.
Generally, pet owners are liable if their dog bites another person, regardless of whether the animal has a prior history of aggression. It is crucial for victims to work with an Indiana dog bite attorney who is familiar with the state's dog owner liability laws.
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