If you’re a victim of a dog attack or dog bite, you are entitled to defend yourself. A credible Indiana dog bite lawyer can help you determine your eligibility for a personal injury claim, the probable extent of your liability, and the possible defense strategies that you can use for your case. Since dog bite injuries can cause significant legal, financial, and medical consequences, it is crucial to know what to do if you’re bitten by a dog.
Seek Medical Treatment
If you’re bitten or attacked by a dog, the first thing you should do is to seek medical attention immediately. Even if you don’t think your injuries are serious, you still need to seek medical care. Sometimes dog bite injuries take a few days to manifest.
Do what you can to find out who owns the dog so that you can seek information on vaccines and if you need to be tested for rabies. Some dogs might not have a vaccine against rabies; therefore, if you are not treated, an animal bite may result in serious injury, severe infection, or even death. If possible, take clear photos of your wounds before they are treated. You can use it for accurate documentation of the incident.
Exchange Contact Information
In the aftermath of an accident, it is important to exchange contact information with the owner of the dog so you can easily contact him or her after the incident. You need to take note of the owner’s name, address, and contact number. Also, if there were witnesses, you should get their contact information as well. If there is a need for a personal injury lawsuit or an insurance claim, eye witness accounts can provide clear and accurate details of what happened.
Pursue a Dog Bite Insurance Claim
In most personal injury cases involving dogs, victims can pursue a dog bite claim with the insurance company of the dog owner. Typically, the insurance policies of homeowners cover an initial dog bite injury claim that happened inside the owner’s property. A reliable Elkhart dog bite lawyer can help you negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company.
If you are severely injured from the dog bite accident, you can obtain reimbursement from the dog’s owner for both economic and non-economic damages including medical expenses, disfigurement, lost income, and pain and suffering.
File a Lawsuit Against the Dog’s Owner
You may also file a personal injury lawsuit against the owner of the dog for incurred damages. Some state statutes even allow these lawsuits to compensate for other types of dog-related injuries aside from dog bites. A knowledgeable dog bite attorney in Elkhart can help you present evidence, calculate damages, and handle lawsuits according to the applicable dog bite laws in your state.
How to Prove Liability in a Dog Bite Case?
According to Indiana law, dog owners are responsible for any injuries caused by their dog biting another person if they “knew or should have known” the dog was prone to attacks. This is referred to as the “one-bite” rule. This rule imposes liability if the owner knew or had reason to know their dog was dangerous.
The owner’s knowledge of the dog’s aggressive behavior might be proven in court in various ways. For example, the victim of the dog bite can demonstrate that the owner knew the dog had bitten someone in the past, or that the owner knew the dog had acted aggressively toward people before.
Dog bite statutes impose strict liability where the injured victim has to demonstrate that the dog bite incident happened while they were in a place they had the legal right to be, regardless of the safety precautions taken by the dog’s owner. Moreover, dog owners also have to comply with the local leash laws and create liability for those who own specific breeds of dogs that are considered dangerous.
The owner has to protect other people from harm caused by their dog. Generally, if a dog owner knows that the canine is dangerous and can cause injury to a person, the animal owner can be held accountable for the animal’s harmful actions.
At Wilson & Kinsman LLC, we have extensive experience handling dog bite cases. Our competent Indiana dog bite attorneys can help you determine and prove liability in your dog bite case. Our personal injury law firm will deal with your personal injury settlements, dog bite insurance claims, and lawsuits.
What are the Common Defenses in a Dog Bite Case?
Depending on the circumstances, there are times in which the owner might not be held liable for a dog attack. The possible defenses that are used in a dog bite case may differ depending on the dog bite laws in your state. A credible Elkhart dog bite attorney will know which arguments or defenses an opposing dog bite attorney might use against you, and how best to refute them. Here are some of the commonly used arguments:
The “trespassing” defense requires the dog owner to prove that you were inside the owner’s property without permission. Indiana law limits homeowner liability for trespasser injuries. However, if proven that you were carrying out a legal obligation when you’re attacked or bitten by the dog, the Indiana dog bite statute will allow you to recover damages from the dog owner, even though you didn’t explicitly ask for permission to be on the premises.
Provocation is another possible defense that a dog owner might use against you. The owner will not be held liable for the dog bite accident if the victim “provoked” the dog before the bite occurred. This includes the act of threatening and cornering the dog with aggressive behavior.
Contributory Negligence or Assumption of Risk
If the owner has provided warnings regarding their dog, and you ignored those warnings, this may affect your eligibility to recover compensation. In legal terms, the injured person’s behavior in such a situation is known as “contributory negligence” or “assumption of the risk.”
In this type of defense, the dog owner argues that you’re partially or entirely responsible for your injuries. For example, the victim who was bitten after provoking a dog may be found partly at fault for the incident. The “modified” comparative fault rule in Indiana allows you to recover some damages as long as you are no more than 50 percent to blame for causing the dog bite incident.
Hire a Dog Bite Attorney Now!
If you have been injured, attacked, or bitten by a dog, it is difficult to know the rules, damages, laws, and defenses that will work for your situation. Furthermore, you may suffer from serious personal injuries, physical pain, and emotional distress that will affect your way of living. Therefore, it is advisable to consult our experienced Elkhart dog bite lawyers at Wilson & Kinsman LLC to assess and handle your dog bite case according to the state laws. We will help you know more about how to get compensated for your dog bite injuries.
The amount often involves detailed computation for lost income, lost wages, pain and suffering, earning potential, medical bills, punitive damages, and other expenses. Our personal injury law firm can help you increase your chances of winning a successful personal injury lawsuit. Call us today at Wilson & Kinsman LLC by dialing 574-564-5162 or schedule a personalized case evaluation.