Many residents of Indianapolis own dogs, and the majority of them are fun and loyal companions. While a wagging tail and a smiling face normally mean a dog is friendly, this is not always the case. Statistics show that, on average each day, 1,000 people in the US require emergency medical treatment for dog bite injuries.
A dog bite attack is a scary and sometimes life-altering event. Children are often victims of these attacks, which makes them all the more tragic. A dog owner may be found liable under Indiana state law for damages his or her canine caused.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an Indianapolis dog bite attack, contact Hensley Legal Group today. The personal injury lawyers at our law firm are experienced in handling dog bite claims and will work tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve when we take on your case. You can reach us by calling (317) 526-1440, starting a live chat on this page, or filling out the online evaluation form.
Understanding Dog Bite Laws in Indiana
Under Indiana law, Title 15, Section 20, dog bite victims are allowed to file a lawsuit for damages. However, Indiana follows the “one-bite rule,” which means that dog owners can’t be held liable if they can prove that they had no prior knowledge of their dog behaving violently or aggressively. The “one-bite rule” doesn’t apply to postal carriers, police officers, or other government employees who are carrying out their duties.
Our Indianapolis dog bite lawyers are knowledgeable in the state’s laws pertaining to canine attacks and are well-equipped to represent dog bite victims, even in the face of Indiana’s “one-bite rule.” Our attorneys do this by working to prove that the dog owner already knew the dog was aggressive and could have taken steps to prevent the attack. We will attempt to gather witness statements that show that the dog had acted in a vicious manner before the attack.
What Injuries Are Caused By Dog Bites?
Dog attacks can result in many different types of injury that can vary in severity. If you were a victim of an animal attack and are pursuing legal action against the dog owner, you’ll need to be able to explain to the court the extent of injuries that the dog caused.
The following are some common dog bite injuries and some suggestions of what to do in each situation.
This type of injury occurs when a dog’s teeth pierce or puncture your skin. This may not seem as severe as other injuries caused by dog attacks, but puncture wounds can actually be very serious.
Puncture wounds usually are deep, which increases the risk of infection. Punctures can also cause damage to the skin, muscle, and underlying tissue or result in nerve damage. Rabies, tetanus, and blood poisoning are other health complications that may also result from a puncture wound.
Broken bones/ crushing injuries
Injuries caused by dog attacks aren’t always a result of simply being bitten. Large dogs have extremely strong jaw muscles that can break, fracture, or crush your bones as well as cause muscle and tissue damage.
In addition, large, charging dogs can knock a victim over with such force that the person breaks or fractures a bone. If you have suffered broken bones or crushing injuries from an animal attack, contact the Indianapolis dog bite attorneys at Hensley Legal Group as soon as possible.
Your eyes could be severely injured in a dog attack either from a bite or a scratch. Any injury to the eye can be life-altering, especially if it compromises a person’s vision.
Eye injuries from dog attacks include:
- Intraocular hemorrhage
- Corneal abrasion
- Orbital fracture
- Blunt trauma
- Loss of an eye
If your eyes were injured in a dog attack, the dog’s owner may be held liable for your medical bills and pain and suffering. Contact a personal injury attorney from our law firm today to see how you can file a dog bite case.
The face is the part of the body that is usually attacked by dogs, especially with young children. A dog bite or scratch on a person’s face can cause extensive scarring and disfigurement that may require painful and extensive surgeries to correct. In addition to the physical pain this type of injury causes, it can be socially debilitating and take an emotional toll every time the person looks in the mirror.
Doctors may be able to use skin grafts or laser treatments to reduce the long-term effects of scarring. However, this medical treatment is typically painful, time-consuming, and expensive.
Our Indianapolis personal injury attorneys firmly believe that dog owners should be held accountable for injuries caused by their animals and help pay for the costs of medical treatment either themselves or by insurance.
Head and neck injuries
A person running away in an attempt to escape a dog attack may trip or fall, hitting his or her head. Or a dog may lunge with such force that it knocks someone to the ground.
Possible head injuries include:
- Fractured skull
- Broken jaw
- Facial laceration
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
An injury to the head and neck can be extremely traumatizing and may require extensive surgeries and therapy for the victim to heal.
A victim’s top priority after being bitten by a dog is going to be seeking medical attention for physical wounds. While the physical effects of the animal attack are evident at the beginning, the emotional consequences may become evident in the weeks and months to come. A victim may suffer anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or other psychological effects.
The emotional damage dog bite attacks cause can be especially severe for children. They may be left with an extreme fear of dogs or be afraid to even go outside.
The good news is that victims in Indianapolis are entitled to seek financial compensation, not only for medical bills but also for their pain and suffering after a dog bite.
It is also possible to be traumatized by witnessing a loved one being attacked by a dog, for which you may also be compensated for your emotional scars. Hensley Legal Group has won several claims for family members who witnessed their family members being attacked, in addition to the claim of the person attacked.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Dog Bites?
Millions of people are injured every year from dog bites, and statistics show that over 50 percent of victims were bitten by dogs that they were familiar with. If you or a loved one was bitten by a dog on the property of a friend or family member, you may be wondering if their homeowners insurance will cover the cost of your medical treatment and other damages.
In most dog bite cases, the homeowners insurance will cover damages. Specifically, the personal liability coverage and medical payments coverage will come into play and cover your medical bills and other damages. If a dog bite claim exceeds the amount covered by the insurance coverage limits, the dog owner may be held responsible for the rest of the damages.
Many insurance companies will categorize certain breeds as dangerous and exclude them from the policy. High-risk breeds may include German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Chow Chows, and pit bulls. The exact breeds vary depending on the insurance company.
Homeowners insurance will often cover dog bites both on- and off-property. If you have been bitten by a dog and are trying to obtain compensation through an insurance policy, don’t be surprised if the insurance company denies your claim or tries to get you to settle for an amount that is far less than your case is worth.
Rather than pursue compensation on your own, it’s recommended to speak to an experienced Indianapolis dog bite attorney. Hensley Legal Group, PC, offers free case consultations. Contact us to schedule an at-home or virtual visit.
When You Need an Indianapolis Dog Bite Lawyer
After being injured in an Indianapolis dog bite attack, hiring a personal injury lawyer may not seem like a top priority. However, there are many benefits to having a trusted Indiana dog bite attorney on your side during this difficult time. Insurance companies are often unwilling to pay out dog bite injury claims, and going up against them and their team of lawyers can be intimidating, to say the least.
The following are some of the steps our Indianapolis dog bite lawyers will take when handling your case:
- Gathering evidence
- Speaking to witnesses of the attack
- Investigating whether the dog has a history of dangerous behavior
- Explaining your legal rights
- Filing a claim against the dog’s owner
- Negotiating with the insurance company
In the State of Indiana, you have two years from the date of the attack to file a dog bite claim. However, it’s recommended to contact an Indianapolis dog bite attorney as soon as possible after the attack. This allows your lawyer to gather needed evidence to build your dog bite case while it is still fresh.
Steps to Take After an Indiana Dog Bite Injury
If you or someone you love has been bitten by a dog, there are steps that you can take immediately after to protect yourself and your legal rights.
Listed are five important things to do after a dog bite:
- Call 911. If someone sustained a serious injury, you should immediately call emergency personnel.
- Seek immediate medical attention. Even if a wound seems superficial, it’s important to seek medical attention for your injuries. You may be embarrassed to go to the doctor for what seems like a minor injury, but infections are common after dog bites and there may be nerve damage or other harm that isn’t readily apparent.
- Exchange contact information with the dog’s owner. If you don’t know the owner of the dog that bit you, you’ll need to get that person’s contact information in order to pursue financial compensation from him or her.
- Ask if the dog has been vaccinated. Ask the dog’s owner if the animal’s vaccination shots are current. Request the veterinarian’s information of where the shots were administered so that you can verify the vaccination.
- Call animal control. It’s important to report the bite, especially since animal control keeps track of animals that are responsible for repeated attacks.
- Contact an Indiana dog bite attorney. You may need to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for medical bills, lost income, and other damages incurred as a result of the dog bite. An experienced Indiana dog bite lawyer can advise you of your legal rights and help you negotiate a fair settlement.
Contact an Indianapolis Dog Bite Lawyer Today
The lawyers at Hensley Legal Group have successfully handled Indiana dog bite cases for years – it is one of the practice areas that we are experienced in. A dog bite lawyer from our law firm will be able to determine whether the dog owner can be held financially liable. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the homeowner’s insurance policy of the dog owner may cover the damages, but, if not, we will look for other means of compensation.
The members of our law firm are committed to making the legal process as easy as we can for our valued clients. Our lawyers are eager to make a difference in each one of our client’s lives. We firmly believe that all people, regardless of income, deserve quality legal representation. That’s why our law firm works on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay nothing out of pocket.
Schedule your free case consultation and an at-home or virtual visit by calling (317) 526-1440, starting a live chat on our website, or filling out the online evaluation form.