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Ultimate Guide to Dog Bite Laws in Indiana

On Behalf of | Jul 27, 2017 | Dog Bites

Indiana has enacted several laws over the years that impact how dog attacks and bites are handled. There are time limits for how long a victim must file a dog bite case too; therefore, it is important that any victim of a dog attack understand the laws and procedure when seeking compensation.

What is the Statute of Limitations on Dog Bite Cases?

In Indiana, the statute of limitations is two years, which is like other types of personal injury claims. The statute of limitations is the maximum amount of time you must file your claim. If your case passes the timeline, then you cannot file or seek compensation.

Does Indiana Use a “One Bite” Rule?

Indiana does have a general “one bite” rule that is also known as a negligence-based rule for dog attacks. There are also particular types of dog attacks covered by the statute. The “one bite” rule applied when a dog attacks and the dog’s owner knew or had reasons to suspect that their dog was aggressive and likely to attack someone. For example, a dog’s owner knows that the dog has bitten before or that the dog was overly aggressive in the past, which indicated he or she was likely to attack.

Exploring the Dog-Bite Statutes of Indiana

Indiana’s dog bite laws fall under the Statute Section 15-20-1-3. Only particular circumstances use this law instead of the “one bite” rule. In this case, the dog must attack someone that is peaceful, did not provoke the animal, and is in a place where they can be and the owner is required to protect them from injury. Liability is imposed on a dog’s owner even if the dog bites without provocation or history of attacks. The statute further explains that it is the responsibility of all dog owners in the state to prevent their dog from attacking another person on public or private property. If the victim was trespassing or provoked the dog, however, they do not have a case under the statute. Case law in the past has also helped establish a clearer statute in the state. Some examples include:

  • Plesha v. Edmonds – In this case, the owner of the dog knew that neighborhood children would frequently trespass across their lawn to get to the softball field. They allowed it; therefore, in accordance with the ordinance, the dog must be confined in a fence or on a leash. The couple did not have a fence, but they allowed the dog to roam freely. The dog attacked the children, and the owners were liable because they knew of the risk and failed to stop it.
  • Stewart v. City of Indianapolis – In this case, the property owner is required to confine their dog. The couple kept their dog in a garage, and a child attempted to crawl under a cracked garage door where she was bitten. In this case, the couple had confined the dog, and they were not liable.
  • Kessel v. State Automobile Mutual Insurance Company – In this case in 2007, the dog owner’s insurance was required to pay for the injuries. However, the court can also force an individual to pay for dog attack damages. The insurance carrier tries to find loopholes in coverage so that they do not have to pay, but in this case, the insurer was able to avoid payment, and the courts required the owner to pay.

Dog Bite Laws are Complex – Contact an Injury Attorney

If you or a loved one was injured because of a vicious dog attack, you do not need to concern yourself with the statute. Instead, speak with an attorney from Jacobs Law, LLC to explore your options for compensation. You can contact our offices directly or send us a message online, and we will help you schedule a consultation appointment that works for your schedule.


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