The Spectrum of Injuries in South Bend Dog Bite Cases

In the wake of a dog bite incident, the resulting injuries can span a broad spectrum, ranging from superficial skin lacerations to deep tissue damage, fractures, and severe infections.

A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines some of the most common injuries resulting from dog bite incidents:

  • Puncture Wounds
  • Fractures
  • Infections
  • Nerve Damage
  • Facial Scarring

However, the wounds left by a dog bite are not just skin deep, and the incident can be a harrowing experience, triggering severe psychological distress.

Victims might grapple with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or even develop a lasting fear of dogs (cynophobia). These psychological injuries can be just as debilitating as physical harm and underscore the importance of seeking professional legal and medical help in the aftermath of a dog bite incident.

Who Is at Fault After a Dog Bite Accident in Indiana?

The first step toward getting compensation to heal your injuries and recover from financial damages is to identify who is responsible for the attack.

In Indiana, the law holds dog owners accountable for the actions of their pets as specified in the Indiana Code § 15-20-1-3. If a dog bites someone who is behaving peaceably and is lawfully in a place, the dog owner is liable for all damages suffered by the person bitten.

Therefore, if you have been injured due to the negligence of the owner, chances are you’re entitled to compensation to recover from your economic and non-economic damages.

Exceptions That Don’t Qualify as Pet Owner Negligence

Indiana law typically places responsibility squarely on pet owners for any harm their animals inflict. 

However, under certain circumstances, as outlined in the Indiana legal framework, an owner’s liability might not be absolute. Recognizing these exceptions is crucial in understanding and determining the outcome of a dog bite case. 

Trespassing or Provoking

In the context of Indiana law, a pet owner’s obligation to prevent harm primarily extends to individuals who are lawfully present on their property. 

If a person was unlawfully trespassing or was provoking the dog, the pet owner might not be held liable for any resulting injuries. This exception, as stipulated by Indiana Code, adds a layer of complexity to these cases, distinguishing them from other liability cases.

Prior Knowledge

Another exception involves the injured party’s awareness of the dog’s aggressive tendencies. 

If the victim had prior knowledge about the dog’s dangerous propensities and recklessly chose to engage with the animal, this might limit or absolve the pet owner’s liability. 

Professional Handlers

On the other hand, if the dog bites a professional handler, the case must be treated differently.

Professional handlers such as:

  • Veterinarians
  • Dog sitters
  • Groomers

who willingly accept the risks associated with handling various animals may not hold the pet owner responsible for injuries sustained during their professional duties.


In cases where a dog attacks in self-defense or in defense of its owner or home, the owner might not be held liable. 

However, it’s important to clearly establish that the dog was acting protectively in response to a real threat. Understanding these and other aspects of dog behavior can be key in interpreting dog bite incidents.

Recoverable Damages You Can Claim in a Dog Bite Case

Dog bite incidents often entail more than just immediate physical harm. The cascading effects of such traumatic events can permeate many aspects of a victim’s life, prompting both economic and non-economic consequences that need to be carefully assessed and compensated.

Under Indiana law, individuals subjected to dog bites have the right to claim damages that encompass a broad spectrum of these impacts.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are the tangible, out-of-pocket expenses you incur due to the dog bite. These generally include:

  • Medical Expenses: Immediate treatment costs, follow-up visits, medications, and rehabilitative therapy.
  • Lost Wages: Compensation for work missed during your recovery period and potential loss in future earning capacity.
  • Property Damage: Reimbursement for personal property that was damaged during the incident.

Non-Economic Damages

Along with economic damages, victims of dog bites can also seek compensation for non-economic damages. These damages represent the emotional and psychological impact of the dog bite, which can be as devastating, if not more so, than the physical injuries and can include:

  • Pain and Suffering: This covers the physical discomfort and pain endured due to the injury.
  • Emotional Distress: Compensation for emotional trauma such as fear, anxiety, and depression.
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life: This refers to a reduction in your quality of life due to the physical and psychological consequences of the dog bite.

The process of identifying, quantifying, and demonstrating these damages to a court can be complex. That’s where having an experienced South Bend dog bite lawyer can be invaluable to ensure that all potential areas of compensation are explored and accounted for in your claim.

Holding Responsible Owners Accountable

An often-asked question by victims of dog bites is, “Who pays the damages to dog bite victims?” The answer can vary, depending on specific circumstances surrounding the incident, and understanding this can help you better navigate the claims process.

Our team can guide you through these intricacies to help secure the compensation you deserve.

Why You Should Hire a South Bend Dog Bite Lawyer to File a Claim

Navigating through the complexities of Indiana’s dog bite laws can be challenging. A dedicated attorney can simplify the process and ensure your rights are protected. 

They can compile a solid case backed by evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and if necessary, represent you in court.

At Christie Farrell Lee & Bell, we bring extensive experience, legal acumen, and a deep commitment to your case. Reach out to us today and let us walk you through your legal journey.

Remember, you deserve more than just compensation; you deserve justice. Trust our team to guide you to it. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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