With at least one dog residing in nearly half of the state’s households and the sixth highest rate of dog ownership in the country, Indiana seems to agree that dogs are “man’s best friend.” You will find dogs practically anywhere you turn in Greenwood, whether walking at their masters’ sides in the city’s streets and nature trails or running freely in designated off-leash spaces like Four Paws Dog Park. Dogs can be an ideal source of unconditional love and companionship, but they can also be unpredictable, sometimes responding violently to the mildest provocation.
Each year, dogs attack an average of 4.5 million Americans, nearly twenty percent of whom will need medical attention. Though a victim may be able to recover monetary damages from the dog’s owner, success is never guaranteed, especially in Indiana, which imposes significant constraints on dog bite claims.
If you are having difficulty getting what you are owed, consider reaching out to the Greenwood dog bite attorneys at Hensley Legal Group, who have been standing up for the everyday people of Indiana for more than 25 years.
Call (317) 472-3333, chat with us online, or complete our contact form for a free case review with a Greenwood dog bite lawyer.
Minor Bites Can Inflict Major Injuries
When dogs attack, the physical harm may be serious or even fatal, with 48 lives taken by dogs in the United States in 2019 alone. Even minor bites can inflict major injuries, with symptoms sometimes emerging only gradually. Dog bites may cause:
- Punctures, abrasions, and tears of the skin
- Nerve damage
- Muscle and ligament ruptures
- Fractured bones
- Loss of fingers and limbs
- Facial disfigurement
- Head trauma
- Infected wounds
- Rabies and other transmittable diseases
- Psychological distress
Steps to Take After a Dog Bite
The impact of an unprovoked dog attack can be long-lasting, and how well you manage may depend on what you do in the immediate aftermath. If a dog bites you, remember to take the following steps:
- Seek treatment – Any delays in medical care could limit your ability to heal and cast doubt on the relationship between the incident and your injuries.
- Obtain owner and eyewitness information – In case legal action should be necessary, you will need the name and number of the dog’s owner, as well as the contact information of any eyewitnesses, who could provide an independent account of the attack.
- Get the dog’s vaccination history – If a dog’s shots are up to date, you may be able to avoid agonizing treatments for rabies and other illnesses. Try to verify the dog’s vaccination history, preferably from its veterinarian, since the owner’s word may not be sufficient with something this important.
- Report the attack to animal control – Contact animal control, which should maintain a record of local dogs responsible for repeated attacks. The incident report produced can be invaluable to any claim you may have, especially if the dog has a history of aggression, but an inaccurate one could be detrimental, so be sure to convey a complete version of what happened.
- Do not speak to the insurance company – If the dog owner has applicable insurance coverage (typically a homeowner’s policy), you may be surprised how quickly representatives from the company contact you. However, anything you say could be used against you, so do not speak to them, at least until you…
- Speak to an attorney – Hensley’s knowledgeable Greenwood dog bite attorneys can explain your rights, answer any questions you may have, and discuss your potential remedies.
Can You Pursue a Dog Bite Case?
If you are thinking about taking legal action against the owner of the dog that bit you, you should know that financial recovery for an Indiana dog bite is not available to everyone. Certain factors will determine whether or not you can pursue a dog bite case, including your profession, the dog’s past conduct, and the circumstances leading up to the attack.
Police officers, firefighters, mail carriers, and other state and federal employees are granted broad latitude to file a claim if they are bitten when they are on the job. Under Title 15, Article 20, Sec. 3 of the Indiana Code, when a dog bites an individual “without provocation” while he or she is
- acting peaceably; and
- in a location where that person is required to be to discharge a duty imposed by:
- the laws of Indiana;
- the laws of the United States; or
- U.S. postal regulations;
then “the owner of the dog is liable for all damages suffered by the person bitten.” This remains true even if the dog “has not previously behaved in a vicious manner” or if the owner “has no knowledge of prior vicious behavior by the dog.”
Unfortunately, Hoosiers who are bitten while not engaged in official government business have to clear a much higher bar to establish a case. Indiana’s “One-Bite Rule” holds that a dog owner may not be liable for an attack on a private citizen if the owner had no prior knowledge of the dog behaving violently. Essentially, the first time a dog bites a civilian in Indiana, the owner is given a free pass, though the One-Bite Rule will not apply to any subsequent attacks.
But as frustrating as this protection can be, it is not necessarily insurmountable. The One-Bite Rule may not apply if a plaintiff can prove that a dog attacked as a result of the owner’s negligent actions, which may include:
- Taking a dog off leash in a leash-only zone
- Permitting a dog to escape from a yard, kennel, or other confined space
- Not posting appropriate signage to warn that a dangerous dog is on the premises
- Allowing an aggressive dog to interact with members of the public
- Failing to supervise a dog around children, whether or not that dog has known violent tendencies
With Hensley’s Greenwood dog bite lawyers in your corner, you may be able to break through the legal shields that would otherwise doom your claim.
How Our Dog Bite Attorneys Can Help
A small dog bite can unleash big consequences. Before you realize it, you may find yourself overwhelmed with escalating bills, unable to go to work, and possibly struggling with the emotional fallout of unsightly scars on a highly visible part of your body.
You need attorneys with the compassion to support you during this dark period and the wisdom to guide you through it. You need the Greenwood personal injury attorneys at Hensley Legal Group, who are dedicated to helping hardworking Indiana residents who have been hurt through no fault of their own. We will never let the obstructive tactics of insurance companies keep us from serving the best interests of our clients.
If you choose to hire our firm, we will identify everyone who may be responsible for your injuries within the time permitted by law. If there is evidence of owner negligence or prior aggression by the dog that would neutralize the One-Bite Rule, we will work tirelessly to uncover it.
After putting together an airtight case against the liable parties, our Greenwood dog bite lawyers will attempt to negotiate a settlement that reflects the entirety of your losses, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
- Mental anguish
- Punitive damages (if applicable)
And if we do not receive an offer that is equal to the value of your claim, we are not afraid to go to trial for a verdict that is, unlike many of our competitors, who rarely if ever, step foot inside a courtroom.
We Win or You Don’t Pay
Spending more money is probably the last thing you want to do now. For this reason, you may be pleased to learn that our firm works on a contingency basis, so either our Greenwood dog bite attorneys win your case or you don’t pay us anything.
We took you on as a client because we believe in you, and we are willing to shoulder all the risks necessary to get you the compensation you deserve.
Contact a Greenwood Dog Bite Lawyer Today
Hensley Legal Group has been defending the wrongfully injured for over a quarter century. If you have been attacked by a dog in the Greenwood area, contact a Greenwood dog bite lawyer today to explore your legal options.
Schedule a no-cost consultation with one of our dog bite attorneys by calling (317) 472-3333, chatting with us online, or completing our contact form.
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