Dogs are usually considered great, friendly and playful family pets. Occasionally, dog bite injuries happen.
Pet owners are generally responsible for controlling their pet, and suitably training and restraining them to avoid injury to the public. Failure to do this is illegal in many states and unfortunately, the owner may face legal action.
There is a vast amount of state statutes in Indiana that can impact cases surrounding dog bites. Both the owner of a dog who has bitten a person or a person who has been bitten by a dog will benefit from reading this article about the Indiana dog bite law.
Time Limit on Personal Injury Cases
There is a time limit on all personal injury cases. This is referred to as the statute of limitations. Any personal injury case, including one from a dog bite, should be filed with the court within 2 years. This comes from the statute of limitations.
If the lawsuit does not get filed within the 2 year period, it is unlikely that a court will hear the case. For a successful case, it is important to file the lawsuit within the 2-year limit to have the best chance of getting a hearing in court.
Dog Bite Law in Indiana
There are 2 rules that are followed in Indiana when a dog bite is involved. There are ways to lower the risk of these types of lawsuits occurring from dog bites.
One Bite Rule
This rule allows the dog owner to be held liable for injuries caused by the dog if the owner had reason to know the dog may bite or act aggressively. Prior knowledge of such behavior is proven in court in different ways, on a case by case basis.
One example could be that if the owner knew the dog has bitten someone before, this knowledge may be used to prove the ‘prior knowledge’ aspect of the case. Prior aggressive behavior from the dog is also another instance that could be used under the ‘one bite’ rule.
How to Prevent This?
Dog owners should always exercise caution if the dog has a prior history of biting or aggressive behavior. The dog should be kept on a leash at all times in public, and the owner should consider a muzzle too. If the dog is very dangerous, the owner should consider euthanization, to avoid serious injury to a person.
The public should avoid interacting with dogs without explicit permission from the owner, and only under the owner’s control.
This rule does not depend on the owner’s prior knowledge or the dog’s behavioral history. Instead, it focusses on the owner’s failure to exercise reasonable care and caution to prevent the dog from causing an injury.
The negligence rule is often used for compensation in many cases against dog’s and their owners. This rule could extend to injuries caused by the dog jumping on a person and knocking them over, causing injury.
How to Prevent This?
Dog owners should always have full control of their dog while out in public. For some dogs, this means a short leash and muzzle. For other dogs, this means effective recall and leashing when appropriate. Again, the public should avoid interacting with a dog unless the owner’s explicit permission is given.
Dog Bite Statute in Indiana
Indiana does have a dog bite statute that applies in specific circumstances. It is IC 15-20-1-3. This statute highlights that the owner is liable for injuries caused by the dog bite to a person that:
- Is acting peacefully,
- Didn’t provoke the dog to bite, and
- Is carrying out their work duties for the law, government or postal service.
What is means is that if a dog bites any emergency services personnel who are carrying on their duties, the owner is liable. This also extends to those in the postal service. This is regardless of whether it is private or public property.
For example, if a policeman enters a private property while carrying out their duty, and a dog attacks them, the owner of that dog is liable for the injuries. This is the same for Postal workers.
Defense to a Dog Bite Claim in Indiana
- Dog owners in Indiana do have some defense routes if they are facing a dog bite claim.
- This is known as ‘comparative fault’ by some. This arises when the person is partially or fully responsible for their own injuries from a dog bite.
- For example, a person that trespasses on private property may not be able to recover compensation for that dog bite, as they did not have permission to be there.
- It could also be used when the person provokes the dog, and then the dog bites and inflicts injury.
- A person needs to be proven less than 50% at fault to receive any compensation for the injuries they received from a dog bite.
Get Help Today – Indiana Dog Bite Law
- Dog bite cases can be very complex, depending on the specific circumstances of the case. The Lockwood Legal Group is here to help and give specialist advice on dog bite cases.
- Information and advice are always available on many types of personal injury claims.
- For more advice and information on the Indiana dog bite law, contact us.