Indiana has strict laws pertaining to the responsibility of an owner of a dog that bites. If a person who has been bitten by a dog was not provoking the animal at the time of the attack, the injured victim may have a valid claim against the dog’s owner. State law also specifically addresses dog owners’ obligation to government workers who are attacked in the course of their job duties. A lawyer experienced in dog bite cases may be able to help you recover money to help you pay for medical bills, pain and suffering, or other costs which were placed on you due to the animal attack.
Dog bites can be serious injuries. About 885,000 dog bite victims each year require medical attention for their injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About a dozen people are killed each year in dog attacks. Roughly half of those injured by dogs are children and a large portion are elderly. The weakest and most defenseless are usually those who are most often injured severely in these attacks.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog and has required medical care, a Bloomington dog bite lawyer may be able to help you obtain compensation for your medical expenses and other losses, and for your pain and suffering. In most cases, the money comes from a home owner’s insurance policy, so you should not be concerned about seeking compensation if the dog’s owner is a friend, neighbor or relative.
Call Lloyd Law Office in Bloomington now or use our online contact form. An experienced injury lawyer will answer your questions without any charge or any obligation. We do not charge a legal fee unless we obtain money for you.
Strict Liability in Indiana Dog Bite Cases
If a dog bites or otherwise attacks someone in Indiana, the dog’s owner can be held responsible in most cases. The bite victim may be barred from recovering damages if it can be shown that he or she provoked the animal.
Indiana law specifically addresses a dog owner’s liability to anyone bitten while in proximity to a dog to “discharge a duty imposed” by the State of Indiana, the United States or “postal regulations of the United States.” This is a reference to mail carriers and other government workers, such as meter readers, sanitation workers and so forth.
State law further says that the owner of the dog is liable for “all damages” suffered by the person bitten, and the owner of a dog is liable for damages even if:
- The dog has not previously behaved in a vicious manner; or
- The owner has no knowledge of prior vicious behavior by the dog.
State law also requires dog owners to “take reasonable steps to restrain” their dogs. If they do not and the dog enters another person’s property and causes “bodily injury,” the owner may be subject to criminal penalties as well as a civil claim.
A dog bite victim may seek compensation for:
- Medical expenses.
- Property damage (clothing, jewelry and eyeglasses, for example).
- Lost income during recovery
- Pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering could be a significant consideration if an attack caused a serious wound and emotional harm, such as an ongoing fear, or a psychological problem such as post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). The cost of psychological counseling or therapy the dog attack victim requires may be included in the damages sought.
In most cases, the compensation for a dog bite claim will be paid by the dog owner’s insurance, whether it is homeowners’ insurance or business liability insurance, instead of coming out of the dog owner’s pocket. In cases in which a worker is bitten by dog while performing job duties, the injured worker may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in addition to a claim against the dog owner. An experienced Bloomington dog bite lawyer can help you determine if you deserve compensation for costs incurred from a dog attack.
Common Injuries from Dog Attacks
People who are attacked by dogs are most commonly bitten on the arm or hand, leg or foot, head or neck, the CDC says. Children and elderly adults are most vulnerable to serious harm from a biting dog because they cannot fend off the dog or escape the attack.
A CDC report lists common physical injuries from dog attacks:
- Puncture wounds.
- Lacerations and abrasions (cuts and scrapes).
- Contusions or hematomas (bruises).
- Avulsion (tearing).
- Crushing injuries, particularly to the head.
Any dog bite that draws blood should be seen by a doctor. It is very important to verify that the dog has been vaccinated for rabies. Serious injuries may require hospitalization, reconstructive and cosmetic surgery and physical rehabilitation therapy, as well as help for emotional trauma as discussed above.
Contact a Bloomington dog bite lawyer
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by a dog in the Bloomington area or elsewhere in Indiana, you may be eligible for compensation. The attorneys the Lloyd Law Office bring more than 50 years of proven legal experience to helping injury victims. We can meet with you to review the harm you have suffered, and explain how the dog’s owner may be held liable for your losses.
Contact the Lloyd Law Office today by phone or online to schedule a free, no obligation initial legal consultation.