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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite in Indiana?

Dog attacks can inflict serious bodily injury on a person, and Indiana has specific laws in place to protect victims and hold dog owners accountable for their pet's actions.

According to Indiana dog bite statutes, if a person's dog bites someone, the owner is strictly liable for the victim's resulting injuries, regardless of whether the pet has a history of aggression.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. If the person bitten provoked the dog in any way, the owner may not be held liable.

On the other hand, if the owner recklessly disregards their pet's dangerous tendencies or does not control their vicious dog's behavior, they may still be held liable for the dog bite claim. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can advise on breed specific dog laws in Indiana.

What Are Indiana Dog Bite Laws?

What Are Indiana Dog Bite Laws?

Indiana's dog bite laws place liability on the owner if their dog bites someone in a hostile manner, causing injury. Under this ruling, the statute of limitations for filing a dog bite claim is generally two years from the date of the incident.

However, according to Indiana's one-bite rule, it is essential to note that the dog's owner may not be held liable if:

  • The person bitten was trespassing or committing an unlawful act.

  • It was the dog's first time being aggressive (with reasonable conditions).

On the other hand, the dog owner will be liable for damages if a dog bite attorney proves negligence. In this case, the lawyer must show the pet was roaming freely in a leash-only zone.

Regardless of why the dog bite attacks happened, victims should seek medical attention immediately after the incident and take pictures of any injuries sustained. Documentation will be helpful if they decide to file a dog bite injury claim.

Common Injuries Caused by Dog Bites

Indiana has some of the strictest laws in the U.S. regarding dog bites. If a pet bites someone without provocation, the dog owner may be held liable for any injuries sustained by the victim.

This means that plaintiffs have a legal right to file for dog bite claims within two years (statute of limitations for dog bite cases in Indiana).

Many Indiana dog bite cases involve serious bodily injury, and it's essential that the injured person understands their rights and the process of filing a dog bite case.

The dog bite victim should seek medical attention immediately after the attack and report the incident to the local animal control authorities. Generally, the severity of dog bite injuries can range from mild to life-threatening; in some cases, the victim may require extensive medical treatment.

  • Punctured Skin and Lacerations

Dog bites can easily puncture the skin, leading to open wounds and lacerations. These injuries can range from minor scratches and cuts to deep wounds requiring sutures or surgery. Sometimes, the tears are so severe that they can cause permanent scarring.

  • Eye Injuries

On the other hand, dog bites to the face can cause eye injuries such as corneal abrasions, conjunctivitis, and even blindness. The pet's sharp teeth can penetrate the eye socket, leading to long-term damage that can affect vision.

  • Tissue Damage and Scarring

Sharp bites can cause significant damage to the underlying soft tissues and muscles, leading to scarring. These permanent scars can cause significant emotional distress and require additional medical treatment, such as plastic surgery.

  • Bruises and Cuts

These are some of the most common injuries caused by dog bites, and while they may not seem serious, they can still cause significant pain and discomfort. They can also result in medical bills and lost wages if the victim cannot work.

  • Infections and Rabies

Infections are a common complication of dog bites and can lead to many medical issues. In some cases, dog bites can also transmit the rabies virus, which can be fatal if not treated immediately.

What Does Animal Control Do to a Vicious Dog?

Animal control agencies play a crucial role in maintaining public safety. They are responsible for enforcing rules that protect the welfare of domestic and wild animals and the public from harm. One of the most challenging aspects of their job is dealing with vicious dogs.

When a dog attacks someone, the severity of the case depends on the extent of the injuries suffered.

Animal control agencies respond to such incidents based on the behavioral history of the dog and its past interactions with humans and other animals. Depending on the situation, they may decide to quarantine the animal or take it away from its owner.

In some cases, animal control may decide to put down the dog if it poses a significant danger to public safety. However, this is not the case for all pets. Generally, for first-time offenses with no history of violence, the dog may be detained for a set period until it is safe for release.

It's essential to note that not all dog attacks are the animal's fault. A trespasser with no business on a property may provoke a dog to attack them. In such cases, the trespasser may bear partial fault. Similarly, if a victim provokes a dog, they may also accept some responsibility for the attack. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can answer questions like, "Do hospitals report dog bites in Indiana?"

Seeking Compensation for Dog Bites or Attacks

Dog bites can cause serious physical and emotional harm. In Indiana, dog bite cases are governed under specific rules that determine the dog owner's liability and the compensation the victim can receive.

The directive states that if an animal bites a person without provocation while in a public place or lawfully in a private area, the dog owner is responsible for the damages suffered by the victim.

It's important to note that the dog owner is only strictly liable for damages if the injured person was not trespassing or committing another crime.

After being bitten, a victim may receive compensation for their injuries. They may be able to file for a dog bite case against the dog owner or their insurance company to recover a settlement for hospital bills, lost income, physical pain, and emotional suffering.

A qualified attorney can help plaintiffs understand Indiana dog bite incident cases, gather evidence to support their claims, and negotiate with the insurance company of the dog's owner to ensure that they receive fair compensation for their injuries.

Right after the dog-biting incident, victims should call 911 to make an official police report. They should also seek medical attention and collect a hospital disclosure. If possible, victims can ask for nearby witnesses for their statements.

Penalties for Criminally Charged Dog Owners in Indiana

Penalties for Criminally Charged Dog Owners in Indiana

According to Indiana dog bite laws, a criminally charged (class C misdemeanor) dog owner can be fined up to $500 and jailed for at least 60 days. These potential penalties are valid if:

  • The dog owner fails to restrain the pet in a leash-only zone.

  • The animal (unleashed) enters someone else's property.

  • The owner knew about the dog's vicious propensity and failed to take reasonable steps to control it.

On the other hand, a dog bite injury case can be a class B misdemeanor if the defendant has a history of similar offenses. In this case, the owner's failure to restrain the dog again would result in a hefty fine of up to $1,000 and a jail time of up to 180 days.

If the dog owner continues to violate the rules and regulations, resulting in multiple dog bite cases, they could face a fine of up to $10,000 and be jailed for more than two years (level six felony).

Lastly, if an owner recklessly and knowingly violates Indiana's one-bite law (resulting in the death of the injured person), they could be fined up to $10,000 and jailed for six years (level five felony).

However, it is worth noting that the injured person must file a dog bite lawsuit within two years. As mentioned above, the dog bite statutes are only valid if the claim is filed before the expiration of the time limit.

Final Words

Dog bites happen more frequently than most people expect and can have serious consequences for the victim. From deep cuts and bruises to deadly infections, animal attacks can cause long-lasting complications.

Fortunately, Indiana's dog bite laws provide legal recourse for victims to seek compensation for damages. The amount of reimbursement will depend on the severity of the injuries and the circumstances of the attack, but it may include:

  • Medical expenses, including hospital bills, doctor visits, and medications.

  • Loss of income if the victim cannot work due to their injuries.

  • Pain and suffering, including emotional distress and psychological trauma.

  • Property damage, if their personal property was damaged or destroyed in the attack.

  • Punitive damages if the owner acted recklessly or knew the dog was dangerous.

In some cases, the dog owner's homeowner's insurance policy may cover the cost of the damages, but it's important to work with an experienced attorney to make sure that plaintiffs receive the compensation that they deserve.

Claiming "We Go to War for You," Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys offers free consultation sessions for dog bite victims. The firm can help plaintiffs secure maximum reimbursement for their losses after being bitten by a dog.


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