Did someone else’s dog bite you and leave you dealing with severe injuries as a result? Was your child bitten by an unrestrained or overly aggressive pet? If so, you don’t have to suffer the consequences without taking action. An experienced dog bite lawyer like the team at Hankey Marks & Crider could help you recover the compensation you need to pay for the costly medical treatment and other expenses that have likely been forced on you. An animal attack is not only physically traumatic but can also cause lasting mental anguish. You may be owed financial compensation for what happened to you, so contact a dog bite lawyer to determine what you might be owed.
Of the nearly five million people who are bitten by dogs in the United States every year, approximately 1 in 6 will need medical care. While many dog bite injuries are relatively mild, requiring no more than a bandage – or perhaps stitches, some attacks will leave the victim permanently disfigured, scarred, or even dead. There is no reason for you to pay out of your own pocket for injuries caused by an aggressive pet. If you were bitten in an attack through no fault of your own, you have the right to seek fair and just compensation from the dog’s owner.
In Indianapolis, the law states that a dog or pet owner may be held liable for any damages caused if their pet makes an unprovoked attack on another person. This means that you could collect money for your medical bills, lost wages, and other costs associated with the attack and treatment. If you have been injured in an animal attack, the Indianapolis dog bite lawyers at Hankey Marks & Crider may be able to help.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
If you or a loved one are bitten by a dog while on another person’s property, you may be eligible to seek fair compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. You might also be able to collect compensation for any pain and mental anguish you suffer. Property owners are held to a higher standard when it comes to protecting people on their property from aggressive pets.
The law in Indiana only holds the dog’s owner liable if the bite was unprovoked. If you did something that would irritate, annoy, or otherwise provoke the dog into biting you, the owner will likely not be held responsible. It is imperative that you never do anything to provoke a dog intentionally. It is cruel to the animal and could bar you from any recovery for a dog bite. The law in Indiana also carves out an exception for any government dog who was on the job when it injured you. It may seem harsh, but if a dog bit you on active government service, you might not have any legal recourse.
Commonly Reported Dog Bite Injuries
Dogs are natural predators, and they are capable of inflicting great physical damage on – or even killing – a person very quickly. Some dogs are inherently aggressive and may have a history of attacks; others may be otherwise docile pets who attack without warning. Commonly-reported injuries include:
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Emotional/psychological scarring
If a dog’s owner did not keep the animal on a leash in public or failed to adequately restrain them on their property and a dog bit you, you could be eligible for compensation. Time is limited to file a dog bite claim, so make sure to contact an attorney who has extensive experience handling these particular cases to make sure that you can pursue a successful claim.
Risk to Children
Children are especially at risk from dog bites for several reasons. First, a child’s natural curiosity and lack of real-world experience may cause him or her to unintentionally provoke a dog. Childlike play behavior may appear challenging or irritating to even a normally patient dog.
Second, children are also less likely than adults to recognize the warning signs of a dog attack (bared teeth, growls, laid-back ears, etc.) and are thus unable to adequately protect themselves.
Finally, as smaller, more fragile individuals, children often suffer more severe injuries when attacked by a dog. Unable to fight off an attacking dog like an adult, children are left at the mercy of an aggressive animal.
What to Do After a Dog Bite Injury
If a dog has bitten you or a loved one, the first thing you should do after getting away from the animal that bit you is to try to treat your injury. Hopefully, the dog did not do too much harm, and you can treat the bite wound with some antiseptic and a band-aid. If this is not the case, you should go to a doctor or call an ambulance immediately. In the meantime, try to stop any bleeding with a clean towel or rag, and clean the wound with soap or a disinfectant to prevent infection. Stopping infection is a major priority because dog’s mouths can be filthy, so be very thorough when cleaning the wound.
Once you get to a doctor, make sure they know what happened to you. Indianapolis law requires owners to keep their dogs vaccinated, but not everyone follows the law. It may be a good idea to get tested just in case. Diseases like rabies can be dangerous to both people and dogs, so make sure that you have not been infected right away.
Once you have had the injury treated, there are a few steps you can take to make it easier to get the compensation you deserve. Try to remember what happened and record it the information. The time and location of the attack are especially important to remember. It is critical that you contact an experienced dog bite attorney as soon as possible after you’ve received medical treatment to discuss your legal rights and options.
Who Might Be Responsible?
When it comes to dog bite claims, the owner is typically the one who is responsible for the actions of their pet. What complicates many dog bite cases is the fact that the majority of attacks are against friends and family members. In these cases, the victim often knows the dog and the dog’s owner, but is forced to deal with the severe repercussions of the attack. Medical treatment can be extremely costly, and a severe injury can cost you valuable days away from work. You may have no other choice but to pursue legal action to ensure that your financial stability is not jeopardized.
Fortunately, most dog bite injury claims do not severely impact the dog’s owner. Most claims will be covered by the person’s renter’s or homeowners’ insurance policy, and will not be paid out-of-pocket by the owner. This means that the victim can recover the compensation they need to pay their bills without dramatically affecting the family member, friend, or acquaintance who is responsible for the dog.
Because every dog bite claim is different, it is critical to discuss the specifics of your situation with an attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will listen to your story and will determine what the best course of action may be. It is impossible to know exactly what compensation might be available to you until you speak with an experienced lawyer who understands the laws in Indiana.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Dog Bites
What should I do after being bitten by a dog?
Always seek medical attention after a dog bite. You should do this even if you do not think the bite was serious. Getting immediate medical attention reduces the possibility of infection. It also shows the dog owner’s insurance company that you didn’t delay getting treatment after the bite, which is a common reason for denying compensation.
You should also get contact information for the dog owner. This is not an issue if you are bitten by a dog owned by someone you know, but it may be if you don’t know the dog’s owner. If anyone else saw the dog bite you, make sure you also have their names and phone numbers in case they are needed as witnesses.
Photograph your injuries as soon as possible.
Get legal counsel before talking to any insurance companies and do not give recorded statements to claims adjusters.
What is the “one bite” rule?
The so-called one bite rule is in effect in 18 states in America, including Indiana. It enables dog owners to avoid liability for dog bites when dogs have not had any previous acts of aggression, which means the dog owner is not liable for damages suffered by a dog bite victim when the dog has not previously behaved in a vicious manner or the owner had no knowledge of prior vicious behavior by the dog.
Will my report of a dog bite lead to the dog being euthanized?
Not necessarily. Animal Care Services will examine every case on its own merits. Most dogs who bite someone aren’t euthanized. The only dogs that may be euthanized are dogs that habitually bite or show aggressive behavior.
What happens if I was bitten by a stray dog?
In most cases, no one is liable for a stray dog’s actions. However, there are some exceptions. For example, a stray dog that escaped from a local pound, the pound might be liable for damages.
What kinds of compensation can I recover for a dog bite?
Most dog bite cases are resolved through settlements. Insurance companies will usually settle these cases to avoid the costs of a dog bite going to court and the risk of an adverse judgment on top of that. If a dog bite case does go to trial and the evidence of the dog owner’s negligence is overwhelming, then compensation can be awarded.
These damages can vary depending on the severity of the dog bite injuries, but most cases include economic damages for the actual costs a victim has incurred or will incur like medical bills and lost income. Some cases can also involve noneconomic damages for a wide range of more subjective harm like pain and suffering, disfigurement, or emotional distress.
The team at Hankey Marks & Crider have over 75 years of combined experience in representing clients who have been injured by the reckless and negligent acts of others. While we acknowledge that accidents can happen, it is still the responsibility of the owner to keep others safe from their pets. If someone fails to keep you safe from their dog, we can represent you and get you the compensation that you deserve.
It is the responsibility of pet owners to keep their dog under control. If you, your children, or a loved one have been attacked by a dog without provocation, the animal’s owner may be liable for your injuries. To learn more, or to discuss your case with a legal professional, call an Indianapolis injury attorney at Hankey Marks & Crider by dialing (317) 634-8565.