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Dogs make wonderful companions and can also serve as valuable protectors. Families throughout Indiana adore their furry companions and consider them integral members of their households. Occasionally, however, even a man’s best friend can turn aggressive, leading to dog bites and significant injuries.

These bites can result in severe personal injuries, often necessitating immediate medical attention or even surgery. In the most extreme cases, dog attacks can tragically lead to fatalities, especially when young children are involved.

In Indiana, dog owners can be held accountable for injuries caused by their dogs, even if their canine companions have never bitten anyone before and the owner had no prior knowledge of aggressive tendencies.

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a dog bite incident in Indianapolis, contact Stephenson Rife today. Our personal injury attorneys have experience handling dog bite claims and are dedicated to securing the compensation you rightfully deserve. Contact us for a free consultation at (317) 680-2501.

Contact Stephenson Rife at (317) 680-2501 to book a free phone, video, or in-person consultation.

Dog Bite Laws in Indiana

Indiana’s dog bite laws differ somewhat from those of other states, but some key similarities exist. First, Indiana mandates that dog owners train their pets to react appropriately when a stranger approaches their property. Additionally, dogs are typically required to be leashed unless specific circumstances permit them to be unleashed or adequate containment measures such as a fence or door are in place.

As outlined in Indiana Code § 15-20-1-3, dog owners can be held responsible for injuries inflicted by their dogs on individuals who are not provoking the dog and are acting peacefully, especially when the dog is in a location where the owner has a clear duty of care. However, the injured person must be lawfully present on the premises, which includes government workers performing official duties or individuals invited for business or social purposes.

What Are the Penalties for Having a Vicious Dog in Indiana?

The consequences for possessing a dangerous dog are categorized as misdemeanors. According to the Indiana Criminal Code, an unprovoked dog attack is classified as a Class C misdemeanor when the following conditions are met:

  • The dog owner recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally neglects to take reasonable precautions to control the dog.
  • The dog trespasses onto property that does not belong to its owner.
  • Due to the owner’s failure to properly restrain the dog, the dog inflicts a bite or attack on another person without provocation, causing bodily injury.

Will the Dog Be Put Down if I Sue Its Owner?

Your primary concern should not be the potential fate of the dog but rather the harm that has already occurred to you. Additionally, the court typically addresses the dog’s future based on the specific circumstances, especially if a criminal case arises due to the attack. For instance, the court might require that the dog’s owner keep it securely confined in the backyard. The decision to euthanize a dog usually only occurs if the dog has a documented history of aggression or has caused a severe or fatal injury.

What Should I Do if I’m Bitten by a Dog in Indiana?

In the event of a dog bite, it’s essential to take certain measures to ensure your safety and protect your interests, especially if you intend to file a dog bite claim:

  • Dial 911 and promptly report the dog attack to the police.
  • If your injuries are severe, seek immediate medical attention for emergency treatment. For less severe wounds, treat the injury by washing it with mild soap and warm water, stopping any bleeding with a sterile cloth, and applying an antibiotic cream. Even if the wounds appear minor, it’s advisable to visit a doctor as soon as possible to ensure proper cleaning and assess the need for stitches.
  • While still at the scene of the attack, request contact information from the dog owner or the person responsible for the dog.
  • Collect contact information from witnesses, as their testimony may be needed later.
  • If possible, take photographs of your wounds and the dog involved in the incident. Comprehensive documentation can significantly support your case.
  • Keep copies of medical records associated with the treatment of your injuries.
  • Contact an Indianapolis dog bite attorney immediately.

You need an experienced Stephenson Rife Indianapolis dog bite injury lawyer to handle your dog bite case. Contact Stephenson Rife at (317) 680-2501 to schedule a free phone, video meeting, or in-person consultation.

Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Dog Bite Claim in Indianapolis?

If you’ve been bitten by a dog in Indianapolis, it’s important to act promptly. Indiana has a two-year statute of limitations for dog bite claims. Failing to file a claim within this time frame could result in your case being dismissed.

Why Choose Stephenson Rife for Your Dog Bite Injury Claim?

At Stephenson Rife, we have a team of experienced personal injury lawyers who understand the intricacies of dog bite injury cases in Indianapolis. We help our clients secure the compensation they deserve. Our approach includes:

Experience and Expertise

Our law firm has highly experienced and skilled personal injury lawyers who understand Indiana’s dog bite laws and the legal intricacies of such cases. We have a track record of representing dog bite victims in Indianapolis.

Personalized Attention

Every dog bite injury case is unique, and we believe in providing personalized attention to our clients. We take the time to listen to your story, understand your circumstances, and tailor our legal strategy to meet your needs. We know that your recovery and well-being are paramount, and we are here to support you every step of the way.

Vigorous Support

When you choose us, you are choosing aggressive advocacy on your behalf. We will hold negligent dog owners accountable for the injuries their pets have caused. We understand the emotional, physical, and financial toll that a dog bite injury can take, and we are committed to helping you achieve the best possible outcome.

Proven Results

Our firm has a long history of achieving positive results for our clients in dog bite injury cases. We have successfully recovered compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages.

How Much Compensation Can I Recover for a Dog Bite Injury in Indiana?

If you are a victim of a dog attack and suffering from a bite, you can file a dog bite claim against the responsible owner. The owner will then be held financially accountable for the damages you’ve incurred due to the dog attack. In certain instances, the negligent dog owner’s homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policy may cover your expenses, depending on their specific policy terms.

Typically, dog bite cases involve liability limits ranging from $100,000 to $300,000. Should your damages surpass these policy limits, you may have the opportunity to file a lawsuit against the dog owner to seek compensation for any additional damages.

It’s important to recognize that each dog bite claim is unique, and the amount of compensation you’re entitled to hinges on the specific damages you’ve sustained and the extent of your injuries. In cases where family members have also suffered harm or loss in a dog attack, they may also be eligible to file claims on behalf of their loved ones.

Recoverable damages in dog bite claims typically include a variety of elements, including but not limited to:

  • Medical expenses
  • Current and future medical bills from the dog bite injury
  • Lost wages (if you’re unable to work during recovery)
  • Reduced earning capacity (if the injury leads to disability and work incapacity)
  • Property damage
  • Costs related to therapy for emotional trauma
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Scarring and disfigurement.

It’s crucial to know that dog owners or their legal representatives may attempt to employ various defenses to evade responsibility. For instance, they might claim that you provoked the dog or were trespassing when the dog bit you.

Considering these potential challenges, it’s advisable to enlist the services of an experienced dog bite attorney. Even insurance companies may employ tactics to avoid providing you with a fair settlement. To increase your likelihood of success and secure just compensation for your injuries and potential damages, consulting an Indiana dog bite attorney is a prudent step to take.

How Can We Help Your Dog Bite Case?

  • Comprehensive Case Evaluation: We’ll thoroughly evaluate your case. This includes gathering evidence, such as medical records, photographs of your injuries, witness statements, and the scene of the incident. This meticulous approach ensures that no crucial detail is overlooked.
  • Legal Guidance and Advocacy: Our team will provide clear and informed legal guidance throughout the process. We will explain your rights and options and develop a strategy tailored to your circumstances. We aim to empower you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions.
  • Negotiation Skills: Many dog bite injury cases can be resolved through negotiation with the responsible party’s insurance company. We have experience negotiating with insurance adjusters and are skilled in pursuing the maximum settlement possible on your behalf. Our attorneys are tough negotiators who will not settle for less than you deserve.
  • Litigation Experience: In cases where negotiation does not yield a fair outcome, we are prepared to take your case to court. Our attorneys have a strong litigation background and will aggressively represent your interests.

Contact an Indianapolis Dog Bite Injury Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite injury in Indianapolis, don’t hesitate to reach out to Stephenson Rife. We are here to provide you with the legal support and guidance you need during this challenging time. Contact us today at (317) 680-2501 to schedule a free consultation and take the first step toward securing the compensation you deserve.

Attorney Mike Stephenson

Indiana Attorney Mike StephensonMike Stephenson has 40 years of experience and is a trusted advisor to many individuals and companies. His current practice is dominated by civil litigation in state and federal courts. He focuses much of his time on handling catastrophic injuries caused by all types of accidents, including motor vehicle, trucking, workplace injuries, product liability, and fire, just to name a few. He also works extensively in construction accidents. [ Attorney Bio ]

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