Terre Haute Personal Injury
Terre Haute Dog Bite Lawyer
Indiana law has a special statute related to dog bites. In some states, a dog owner is liable if their dog bites another person and causes injury. In Indiana, however, there is what’s known as a “one bite rule”. This means that the dog owner is only liable if they had reason to know that their dog was vicious at the time of the attack. The Terre Haute dog bite lawyers at our firm can help you recover damages related to a dog bite or attack.
Overcoming the “One-Bite” Rule
While the “one-bite” rule may seem a bit unfair to those who have been attacked by dogs, dog bite lawsuits are considered similar to premises liability lawsuits insofar as a dangerous condition or potential threat was known at the time of the attack. A Terre Haute dog bite attorney can help you prove that the owner had reason to know that the dog could potentially become hostile or vicious, and that they neglected to take reasonable care to prevent others from being injured.
Defenses to Claims of Dog Bite Liability
Dog bite claims are litigated in one of two ways. A lawsuit can be filed directly against the dog owner or the dog owner’s homeowner policy would pay an injured victim. However, because the owner is only liable if they could foresee a potential attack, the dog owner or their insurance company can claim ignorance. Your personal injury lawyer would then discuss the matter with neighbors or others who interacted with the owner and their dog to determine whether or not a “reasonable” person would have taken more steps to ensure that the dog didn’t harm anyone.
Additionally, an injured victim can prove negligence if they can show that the owner wasn’t attending to their dog properly, allowed the dog to wander off their property, or didn’t keep then restrained in public. The owner could claim that the victim “provoked” the dog. Lastly, dog owners have strict liability when it comes to postal workers and other government employees who are bitten while on duty. That means that the dog owner would be liable independently of accusations regarding negligence.
Landlord Liability for Dog Bites
In some cases, landlords can be held liable for dogs they allow their tenants to keep on their property. If a tenant has a dog that either bites another tenant or a third-party, both landlord and tenant can be sued. The landlord is only liable if they 1) exert direct control over the premises or 2) had foreknowledge (especially complaints) concerning the dog prior to the attack.
How a Terre Haute Dog Bite Attorney Can Help
Regardless of whether you’re suing a homeowner directly or negotiating the terms of a settlement with an insurance company, dog bite injuries are quite expensive averaging $18,000 per hospital visit. If you did nothing to incite the dog, then the owner of the dog should pay for your expenses. The Terre Haute dog bite attorneys at our firm can help.