A dog without structure or rules can quickly become a danger and their bites can cause substantial injuries, disfigurement, or even death. For adults, the risk of an attack by a large dog or multiple dogs is more severe than that of small dogs. However, even tiny dogs can seriously injure babies and toddlers.
While people assume that “dangerous” breeds are more likely to bite, other factors like whether the animal is neutered, its training, and proper restraint contribute more to the likeliness of an attack. That is why it is crucial for an experienced personal injury attorney to examine the facts of every dog bite. A Lawrence dog bite lawyer could discuss your claim and help you understand possible remedies.
There is a misconception that Indiana is a one-bite state. In other words, people think their dog gets one “free” bite before they are liable for its behavior. In fact, dog owners are responsible for any unprovoked attack by their dogs. The relevant statute, Indiana Code § 15-29-1-3, specifically eliminates the need for an injured party to establish a history of the dog’s aggression.
A dog’s history is relevant when determining damages and a person who knowingly keeps a dog with a history of aggression is negligent. That negligence could impact the size of a damage award. Lawrence has no breed-specific legislation that would impose a greater standard of care on the owners of certain dog breeds. However, it does have leash and nuisance laws, which can help establish whether a dog owner is negligent. A dog bite attorney in Lawrence could explain how strict liability and negligence can impact a dog bite case.
If the injured person provoked the dog, the owner can use the provocation as a defense against liability. However, provocation is very fact specific. An adult running up to a dog and kicking it for no reason is clearly provocation. When a child accidentally kicks a dog that an owner allows to roam around a playground, it is not as clear cut.
The dog owner may still share responsibility for the bite even when there is provocation, since Lawrence is in a comparative negligence state. If the owner shared responsibility for the bite, the injured person could recover damages even if they were also responsible. A Lawrence attorney who handles dog bite cases could assess comparative negligence.
Generally, homeowners in Indiana are exempt from liability for injuries to trespassers. When a dog bites a burglar or someone else who is trespassing, they cannot recover for damages. However, it is essential to understand the definition of trespasser. People who are entering the property for legitimate reasons are not trespassers. Mail carriers and other delivery people can enter the property to complete their jobs without being liable when they are bitten by a dog. This is because when a person receives a delivery, they are basically inviting the delivery person onto their property.
Furthermore, the law explicitly exempts state and federal employees who enter the property to do their jobs, even if the employee is uninvited. For example, the law covers police officers who may be uninvited and unwanted on the property.
Dog bites can be painful and expensive regardless of how much damage they did. In extreme cases, they can lead to permanent injuries or even a wrongful death suit. A Lawrence dog bite attorney can help hold the dog owner responsible for those injuries. Schedule a free consultation so an attorney can evaluate the facts surrounding your dog bite and advise you of your rights.