The after-effects of a bite injury from an aggressive or hostile dog can be far more serious than they first appear. While some of these incidents may be completely unforeseen, in other cases, a dog bite attack may be traced back to acts of negligence by the animal’s owner.
If you recently suffered injuries from a dog and believe the owner’s reckless or negligent behavior played a part, it may be time to speak with a local personal injury attorney. An Indianapolis dog bite lawyer could evaluate whether you have legal standing to pursue a claim and help you build the strongest possible case for maximum financial recovery.
There may be multiple ways a claimant can demonstrate a dog owner’s legal responsibility for injuries they sustained due to a bite or attack from their animal. One of the most common legal foundations for a dog bite case is the often-discussed “one-bite rule.” In short, if the dog bit someone in the past, and the owner was aware or ought to have been aware of this, the injured individual may have a viable compensation claim. Likewise, suppose the animal had a track record of hostile or threatening behavior, which the dog owner did not take care to curtail. In that case, the owner could be legally liable if the animal attacks someone.
Not all dog bite cases are this cut and dry. If the dog had not previously attacked someone, the owner might attempt to use this to push back and deflect against a compensation claim for an injury. However, this does not preclude a dog owner from the duty to apply reasonable care to keep their animal from harming someone.
As such, even when the owner is not aware of a previous time that their dog bit someone, it may still be possible to pursue compensation. This is possible by showing that the owner’s negligent action or inaction was a direct, causal factor in the attack and injuries that ensued. An Indianapolis attorney could carefully evaluate the details of a specific dog bite injury to assess legal responsibility; and whether it may be plausible to pursue damages from the owner.
Indiana Code § 34-51-2-5 is an important law concerning personal injury matters, including dog bite cases. According to this statute, even if a person holds some level of fault for their injuries, they will not automatically be barred from collecting compensation.
In the case of a dog bite incident, even if it is shown that the injured individual’s actions led to the attack in some way, an Indianapolis attorney could still potentially help them pursue financial recovery for medical bills, mental distress, lost wages, and other damages. Indiana’s contributory fault laws inhibit recovery if the individual is more than 50 percent responsible for their injuries.
The legal labyrinth surrounding dog bite cases can be challenging to navigate on your own, and bringing forward a claim without an accomplished attorney at your side could prove extremely difficult. Even if you have already received an offer of compensation from the dog owner’s insurance company, it is best to survey your legal options first. These entities will often try to make the lowest possible offer to end the matter and with minimal financial impact to them.
An Indianapolis dog bite lawyer could investigate whether the owner’s action or inaction contributed to what happened and if they may be held legally responsible for your injuries. Call today to speak with an attorney about your situation and how to address it.