Indiana Dog Bite Lawyer
Even the smallest dogs can leave big bites. Typically, the arm and hands receive the most bites followed by the leg and foot and then the neck and head/face. Children younger than four tend to suffer more from head and neck injuries due to dog bites.
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.
Definition of a Dog Owner in Indiana
Indiana law defines a dog owner as someone who has the right to keep or harbor a dog, has it under their care or control, or permits the dog to be on their property. With this ownership comes the legal responsibility to ensure the safety of others from any harm caused by the dog. Understanding the legal definition of a dog owner is crucial in determining liability for any injuries resulting from a dog bite or attack.
If you have been bitten by a dog, it is important to establish the legal responsibility of the dog owner to receive compensation for your injuries. Indiana law requires dog owners to exercise reasonable care in controlling their animals. The state’s dog bite laws protect victims and provide a legal framework to hold dog owners accountable for the harm caused by their pets.
It’s important to note that liability for a dog bite may not be limited to just the dog owner. Depending on the circumstances of the attack, multiple parties could be held responsible, including landlords, property owners, or caretakers who had control over the property where the attack occurred. Consulting with an experienced attorney can help determine liability and provide guidance on pursuing legal action.
A Trespasser May Still Receive Compensation in Indiana
In Indiana, dog owners are responsible for controlling their pets and preventing them from causing harm to others. This applies not only to people who are invited onto the owner’s property but also to trespassers. If a dog bites a trespasser, the owner may still be held liable for any injuries the trespasser sustains.
While trespassers may not have the same legal rights as invited guests or residents, they still have a right to safety when it comes to dog attacks. The law requires dog owners to act with reasonable care when it comes to controlling their pets, regardless of who is on their property.
If a trespasser seeks compensation for their injuries, the process can be more complicated than it is for those who were explicitly invited onto the property. The injured party may need to prove that the dog owner was aware of their presence and behaved negligently by failing to control their dog. Additionally, the situation leading up to the incident and the actions of the trespasser may also factor into the determination of liability. Therefore, it is crucial for those who have been injured by a dog while trespassing to seek legal advice from a knowledgeable attorney who can provide guidance on their legal options.
If you are a trespasser who has been bitten by a dog, it is important to seek immediate medical attention and to consult with an experienced dog bite attorney. They can help you understand your legal rights and options for seeking compensation for your injuries.
What Compensation is Available in a Dog Bite Case?
If you or someone you know has suffered a dog bite injury, it’s important to be aware of the types of compensation available in Indiana. Dog bite victims in the state are entitled to both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages refer to the financial losses resulting from the injury, such as medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. For instance, medical bills for hospitalization, surgeries, prescription drugs, physical therapy, and other treatments can be recovered under this category. Additionally, a dog bite victim can recover lost wages if the injury prevents them from working during their recovery.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are meant to compensate for intangible losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. These types of damages can be challenging to quantify, but they are still significant in a dog bite injury claim. A victim may experience physical pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and other emotional injuries following a dog bite attack.
In certain cases, punitive damages may also be awarded to the victim. These damages are designed to punish the dog owner for their reckless behavior and deter others from engaging in similar actions. Punitive damages are only available if the owner acted with extreme negligence or malicious intent.
It’s important to note that the amount of compensation awarded in a dog bite injury case varies based on the facts of the case. The severity of the injury, length of recovery, and degree of the owner’s negligence will all be considered. An experienced dog bite attorney can help victims understand what compensation they may be entitled to and can fight for a fair settlement.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bites can cause a variety of injuries, ranging from mild to severe. Some common injuries resulting from dog bites include:
- Puncture Wounds: The most common type of dog bite injury, these occur when a dog’s teeth penetrate the skin, creating a small hole. Puncture wounds can be dangerous because bacteria from the dog’s mouth can get into the wound, leading to infection.
- Lacerations: A laceration is a deep cut or tear in the skin. Dog bite lacerations can be serious and may require stitches or reconstructive surgery.
- Broken Bones: A dog bite can cause broken bones, particularly if the bite is on a limb or other bony area of the body. Broken bones can be very painful and may require surgery to repair.
- Nerve Damage: Dogs have very strong jaws, and a bite can cause damage to nerves in the affected area. Nerve damage can result in numbness, tingling, or even loss of movement in the affected area.
- Infections: Dog bites can introduce bacteria into the wound, leading to infection. Infections can be serious and may require hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics.
- Scarring: Dog bites can leave permanent scars, especially if the wound is deep or located on the face or other visible area of the body.
It’s important to seek medical attention immediately after a dog bite, even if the wound appears to be minor. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent and can worsen over time without appropriate treatment.
Psychological Scars from Dog Bites
Dog bites can cause not only physical injuries but also emotional and psychological scars. A traumatic event like a dog bite can lead to long-term mental and emotional distress, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and phobias. The emotional and psychological trauma of a dog bite can manifest in various ways, such as:
- Fear and anxiety around dogs, even ones that are not dangerous.
- Difficulty sleeping or experiencing nightmares.
- Avoiding the location where the attack occurred or even staying indoors for extended periods.
- Difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, and mood swings.
- Avoiding social activities and becoming isolated from friends and family.
- Developing a phobia of dogs or other animals, making it difficult to participate in activities like going to a park or visiting a friend who owns a pet.
It’s essential to seek professional medical attention and counseling to address any mental and emotional distress following a dog bite. The psychological trauma from a dog bite can be just as damaging as the physical injury and can impact a victim’s quality of life.
What to do after a dog bites you
If you or someone you love has suffered a dog bite, it’s important to know what steps to take to ensure your safety and well-being. Here are some things you should do after a dog bite:
- Seek medical attention: Even if the wound seems minor, it’s crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Dog bites can lead to serious infections, and some may even require immediate treatment.
- Gather information: If you can, gather information about the dog and its owner. Get the owner’s contact details, the dog’s breed, and any other relevant identifying information. If there were witnesses, collect their contact information as well.
- Report the bite: Reporting the bite to the appropriate authorities, such as animal control or the police, is important. This can help ensure that the dog is quarantined and that necessary steps are taken to prevent future attacks.
- Document the injury: Take photos of the injury and keep records of all medical treatments you receive. These records can support your claim if you decide to pursue legal action.
- Contact a dog bite attorney: It’s important to contact an experienced dog bite attorney as soon as possible. They can help you understand your legal rights and options, and can work to help you recover compensation for your injuries.
Remember, time is of the essence in a dog bite case. Taking prompt action can help protect your rights and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
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.
Call an Indiana Dog Bite Attorney Today!
If you have been injured by a dog or other animal, please contact Goodin Abernathy today to discuss your case. A skilled dog bite attorney can guide you through the legal process, help you navigate the complexities of Indiana’s dog bite laws, and fight for your rights and fair compensation. By working with an experienced Indiana dog bite attorney, you can focus on your recovery and leave the legal matters to a trusted professional. Don’t hesitate to seek legal assistance if you have been the victim of a dog bite attack. Click Here to schedule your free initial consultation.
Attorneys with a Focus on Dog Bite Injuries