Understanding Indiana Law on Dog Bites

Indiana’s dog bite laws provide legal recourse for victims of dog attacks. Under the Indiana Code § 15-20-1-3, dog owners are held liable for any damages their pet might cause if it attacks someone who is behaving peaceably and in a location they’re legally allowed to be. This law applies not just to owners but to anyone keeping the dog.

Understanding these laws is a critical step toward seeking justice, but it can be complex to determine responsibilities and prove negligence.

In such situations, our lawyers can provide clarity, explaining how the law applies to your specific circumstances and what steps to take to build a strong case.

Can I Sue for a Dog Bite in Indiana?

In Indiana, the law is clear when it comes to protection for victims of dog bites. However, the ability to sue for a dog bite revolves around particular circumstances tied to the incident.

Here are the key considerations that can determine your legal standing:

  • Was the dog behaving aggressively without provocation?
  • Were you lawfully in the location where the attack occurred?
  • Does the dog have a history of aggressive behavior, and was the owner aware of it?

Meeting these conditions potentially gives you the grounds to file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner or the person who was responsible for the dog when the incident occurred. We can help you navigate these legal intricacies, evaluating your situation against these key points to ascertain if you have a solid legal claim.

Statute of Limitations

The ticking clock of the statute of limitations plays a crucial role in any legal action relating to dog bite incidents in Indiana. According to Indiana Code, you are provided a two-year window from the date of the dog bite to initiate your lawsuit. And any delay in filing beyond this period could lead to your claim being dismissed, regardless of its merit.

This time constraint applies to the filing of the lawsuit and not its resolution. This means, even if the case takes longer to resolve, as long as the claim was lodged within the two-year limit, your right to claim compensation remains valid.

Comparative Fault

Moreover, determining liability in a dog bite case is not always a black-and-white issue. Rather, it’s often governed by the principle of comparative fault as detailed in Indiana Code § 34-51-2-5. This concept balances the responsibility between both parties involved in the incident, not just the dog’s owner.

Under this law, if you, as the victim, are found to be partially responsible for the dog attack, your eventual compensation could be reduced by the percentage of your fault. This allocation of fault is determined by a court based on the circumstances surrounding the incident. 

Factors that might contribute to your degree of fault can include provoking the dog, trespassing on private property, or ignoring evident warning signs of the dog’s aggressive behavior.

For instance, if a court deems that your actions contributed 30% to the circumstances that led to the dog attack, your overall compensation will be reduced by that same percentage. So, if your damages totaled $100,000, a 30% fault would lead to a $30,000 deduction, leaving you with a $70,000 compensation.

Injuries Related to Dog Bite Cases in Muncie

Dog bites can lead to a lot of injuries, some of which may have long-term effects and deeply affect the victim’s life. Some common injuries include:

  • Puncture wounds
  • Fractures
  • Nerve damage
  • Minor concussions
  • Infections
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Psychological trauma, such as PTSD

The severity of these injuries can range from minor to catastrophic, with some even leading to wrongful death.

Do You Have a Case? Request a Free Consultation with a Muncie Dog Bite Lawyer

If you’re uncertain about whether you have a valid case or not, we encourage you to reach out for a free consultation. Our personal injury lawyers will carefully evaluate the details of your case and provide honest, clear advice on your best course of action.

FAQs related to dog bite cases in Muncie

Here are some of the most common questions we hear in our law firm when dealing with animal attack cases.

How Do You Negotiate a Dog Bite Settlement?

Negotiating a dog bite settlement is a multifaceted process that involves several key steps. It begins with establishing a line of communication with the insurance company of the party at fault. This is followed by presenting compelling evidence that clearly demonstrates their liability in the incident.

The next crucial step is to accurately and convincingly detail the full extent of your damages. This includes not only physical injuries but also emotional trauma, loss of wages, and any other impacts that the incident has had on your life.

Given the complexity of this process, having an experienced attorney by your side can be invaluable. They can provide expert guidance, help you navigate the intricacies of the legal system, and advocate for your rights.

How Much Can I Get if a Dog Bites Me?

The amount of compensation you may be entitled to depend on various factors, including the severity of your injuries and the extent of your economic and non-economic damages. Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. There is no cap on the amount of damages you can recover, as stated in the Indiana Code.

Our lawyers that handle these types of cases