Imagine you are taking a walk on a beautiful, sunny day. Your neighbor is outside with their dog, and you ask if you can pet their pooch. The neighbor agrees, then your idyllic day takes a turn for the worse. The dog sinks his teeth into your arm. You need stitches and rabies shots, which come with a hefty medical bill.
You did not expect man’s best friend would attack. So who is responsible for the bill if someone else’s animal bites you?
The owner of the dog is responsible for medical fees
In Indiana, the one-bite rule may allow the owner to skirt responsibility. The law gives pet parents a one-incident grace period. But, any previous aggression, like barking or snarling, could negate that law. If a court finds them negligent, owners may also be subject to criminal charges. Those who cannot adequately restrain their pets could face serious legal consequences.
The owner of the dog is responsible for damages and suffering
Stitches may be the least of your concerns. If the bite causes an injury that leaves you unable to complete your duties at work, you could be out of a paycheck. Furthermore, the physiological damages from animal outbursts are vast. You may develop a fear of dogs, which could be socially damaging and affect your mental health. The owner is liable for any subsequent damages from the attack.
Dog owners must act responsibly. Four-legged friends can be wonderful companions and community members with proper training and handling.