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What makes Indiana’s dog bite rule different?

On Behalf of | Jun 11, 2024 | Firm News |

Any well-behaved pooch can have a bad day and sink its teeth into someone’s ankle. A dog bite can be a serious medical and legal issue. However, Indiana has a unique set of dog bite rules. When the incident happens and who the bitten people are can impact the dog owner’s liability.

Indiana’s one-bite rule

Indiana follows a modified “one-bite rule” for dog bites. Generally, owners are liable if their dog bites into someone with no provocation and the victim was lawfully on their property or in a public place.

Unlike the traditional one-bite rule, the state will only hold owners liable if the dog has a prior bite history. The dog owner will not be liable for their dog’s initial bite since they would not have been aware of its potentially aggressive behavior.

The key here is the owner’s knowledge or what they “should have known” about the dog’s tendency to attack. Dog owners are under strict liability if they know their dog is likely to bite someone. This means if the dog has a history of aggression, they will be held responsible for injuries.

Exemption of the rule

Even for a first offense, some situations automatically remove the one-bite rule’s protection for owners. Here’s who gets full protection, regardless of the dog’s history:

  • Postal worker
  • Police officer
  • Any government official carrying out official duties

In particular, Indiana’s “one-bite rule” for dog bites does not apply to victims executing their duties under U.S. postal regulations or government laws.

Seeking legal counsel

If a dog owner fails to restrain a dog with a history of aggression, leading to an unprovoked bite, they might face criminal charges and a civil lawsuit. Penalties can include fines, jail time or even mandatory dog training.

If a dog has bitten you or a loved one, seek medical attention immediately. Complications of a dog bite may include infection, nerve and muscle damage, broken bones, rabies or worse, death. Document the incident by taking photos and videos, get the dog owner’s information and contact details, and keep medical records and receipts.

Consider consulting a legal professional to understand your rights and potential legal options. They may help navigate the specifics of your case and provide the compensation you deserve after suffering from a dog bite.