Suffering a dog bite could be a scary and painful experience. Dog bites throughout the country have injured many. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

(CDC) has reported that roughly 4.7 million dog bites occur in the United States every year, with 800,000 of those bites requiring medical treatment.

If a dog bite injured you, you might benefit from professional legal assistance from a local personal injury attorney. Tricky deadlines and legal procedures could prove difficult for anyone seeking legal recovery on their own. With a Hammond dog bite lawyer in your corner, you may be eligible to recover compensation.

Dog Bite Laws in Hammond

Personal injuries that result from dog bites usually result from negligence on the part of the owner. But in some cases, the strict liability doctrine could apply. Strict liability offenses hold defendants liable for their wrongful conduct regardless of the level of care that they used to prevent harm. Some of these offenses might include inherently hazardous materials or damages that result from the ownership of a wild animal.

The State of Indiana has enacted a dog bite statute which could make a dog bite a strict liability offense. Indiana’s dog bite statute only applies, however, to those carrying out legal duties and does not apply to private citizens who are injured on public or private property. Indiana Code §15-20-1-3 holds a dog owner strictly liable for a dog bite victim’s injuries if:

  • There was no provocation from the victim
  • The victim was acting peaceably
  • The victim is in a place they are lawfully permitted to be
  • The victim is performing duties imposed by the state or federal government, or carrying out postal duties

A dog owner is liable for damages suffered by a dog bite victim in Hammond even if the owner did not have knowledge of the dog’s vicious behavior, or if the dog had not been previously vicious.

One Bite Rule

For private citizens, where the dog bite statute does not apply, they may pursue a negligence claim to recover for their injuries. Indiana follows the “one-bite” rule when it comes to negligence for dog bite cases. Under the one-bite rule, dog owners could be held liable for dog bite injuries if the owner had prior knowledge or had reason to know that the dog had a propensity to bite others or had aggressive behavior. Unlike strict liability, which holds a defendant accountable regardless of their duty of care, the one-bite rule is used as evidence to show that a defendant did not meet their duty of care.

Deadline to File a Claim

Personal injury plaintiffs seeking personal injury or personal property damages must file their case or settle within two years of that the injury occurred under Indiana Code §34-11-2-4. Failing to file a cause of action on time, unless an exception applies, would forfeit a plaintiffs’ right to seek legal relief in court.

How a Hammond Dog Bite Attorney Could Help

If you suffered an unfortunate dog bite injury, you should not have to juggle healing from your injuries and fighting for your rights at the same time. The legal pathway to recovery could be more challenging to navigate without the guidance and support of an experienced Hammond dog bite lawyer. With legal assistance, you could focus more on what matters, on your recovery, and have peace of mind knowing that your legal relief is being fought for by a dedicated professional. Call today to get started on your claim.