Who Is Liable for Damages Caused by a Dog Bite?

If you have you been attacked and bitten by a dog, or your child has suffered physical and emotional injuries from a dog bite, you may be wondering who is liable for damages. Victims of dog bites shouldn’t have to bear the financial burden, but can a dog owner be held responsible, regardless of the circumstances?

Being attacked and bitten by a dog is a traumatic experience. A vicious dog attack is usually sudden and unprovoked. Depending on the type of dog and severity of the attack, a dog bite is capable of leaving a person with significant injuries to the face, neck, scalp, arms or other area of the body. In cases where a dog bite necessitates emergency medical attention or life-saving surgeries, the victim is often left with permanent physical and psychological scars.

Indiana Dog Bite Laws

In the state of Indiana, Title 15, Article 20, Chapter 1, Section 3 of the Indiana Code (IC) states:

“If a dog, without provocation, bites a person: (1) who is acting peaceably; and (2) who is in a location where the person may be required to be in order to discharge a duty imposed upon the person by: (A) the laws of Indiana; (B) the laws of the United States; or (C) the postal regulations of the United States; the owner of the dog is liable for all damages suffered by the person bitten.”

Even in cases in which a dog has no prior history of aggression or vicious behavior, or when the dog owner is unaware of such a history, the owner can still be held liable for any injuries or damages to the victim. This does not mean the owner will face criminal charges, it simply means he or she can be held liable for the injuries and other damages. As the victim, your attorney could help you file a claim with the dog owner’s insurance company seeking damages for medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, therapy, pain and suffering, and other damages, based upon the degree of the injuries sustained.

On the other hand, if a dog owner was reckless and intentionally or knowingly fails to take reasonable steps to restrain the dog, or prevent the dog from entering another’s property, and as a result the dog bites another person without provocation, causing injury or harm, that owner could be facing criminal charges. In these situations, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit to pursue both economic and noneconomic damages, and in some cases, punitive damages.

It should be noted that these laws do not apply to dogs in the service of the United States, an agency of the U.S. government, or if the dog is assisting an agent or officer in the performance of military or police duties.

Contact an Experienced Indianapolis Dog Bite Attorney

If you or someone you love has been bitten by a dog, contact Jacobs Law right away to speak with an Indianapolis dog bite attorney. Our attorneys have more than 50 years combined legal experience. We understand both the immediate and long-term pain and suffering that is associated with these types of injuries, and we are committed to doing all we can to help dog bite victims pursue the maximum compensation. Call now for immediate assistance.