Dogs can be man’s best friend, unless they attack and seriously injure someone. Personal injury cases involving dog bites can be especially traumatic because they often involve children or a known dog in most cases. The attorneys at Goodin Abernathy have experience in handling dog bite personal injury cases and can lead you through your personal situation and case. Click Here to schedule your free initial consultation if you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite injury.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports about 800,000 people annually seek medical attention for dog bites in the U.S. The most likely victim of a dog bite is a boy between the ages of 5 to 9; however, generally children account for half of all bite victims. Rural areas see more dog bite injuries also.
Dog bites can cause serious injuries, including punctures, lacerations, bruises, infections and fractures. Some of the most serious dog bite injuries have resulted in traumatic facial scarring, amputation, and even death. According to a 2010 study completed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the number of people hospitalized for dog bites doubled over a 15-year period.
Who’s at fault? Dog, Owner, Property Owner or Victim?
In Indiana, all dog owners owe others the duty to act with reasonable care given their knowledge of their own pet. Generally, there is no liability for an owner of a domesticated dog that injures someone unless the dog is known to be dangerous, the owner negligently controlled the dog, or the dog is a breed that has dangerous propensities. A dog’s tendency to attack people can be proven by: a prior severe and unprovoked bite, growling, snapping, etc.
An owner can be liable when they fail to properly restrain or control their dog even where there have been no prior incidents. Examples include leaving a dog alone with a young child to supervise, allowing a dog to run freely, or not restraining a dog on the owner’s large property where children regularly are.
Another exception is for certain breeds of dogs that have shown a tendency to injure people. These breeds include, but are not limited to, Rottweilers, Pit Bulls, German Shepherds and Bulldogs. While specific dogs in these breeds may have no desire to harm someone, Indiana law states the owner automatically knows of the vicious tenancies and cannot escape liability because that dog never attacked another person.
The final exception is statutory and for the protection of people such as mail carriers and meter readers.
If your case, however, involves a non-domestic, wild animal, its owner is liable.
Safety Tips: Dog Bite Prevention
Both adults and kids can take precautions to stay safe and reduce the risk of dog bite injuries by following a few basic guidelines.
• Do not approach unfamiliar dogs.
• Never disturb dogs when they are sleeping, eating or taking care of puppies.
• Always allow a dog to acknowledge and/or sniff you before touching the dog.
• Do not allow kids to play with a dog unless supervised by an adult.
• Never hit, kick or pull at a dog.
• When around dogs, always use a calm voice. Never yell, especially in the dog’s face.
• When a dog is playing with a toy, never grab at the toy or try to forcibly take it away.
• If a stray dog approaches, stand still and stay calm. Never run and scream.
• Dog owners should train their dogs and always supervise them around others.
If a dog bites you or a loved one, seek medical attention immediately. In cases where negligence may be a factor, make sure all medical treatments are documented thoroughly and seek the advice of an attorney.
If you have been injured by a dog or other animal, please contact Goodin Abernathy today to discuss your case. Click Here to schedule your free initial consultation.