Under Indiana law, the owners of dogs can be held liable for injuries caused by their pets. It is important to understand the type of Indiana dog bite claim that is being brought because the requirements vary depending on several factors.
Indiana Code section 15-20-1-3 discusses a situation in which a mail carrier, police officer, or other person carrying out official business is bitten by a dog. Under section 15-20-1-3, the owner of a dog can be held strictly liable, meaning that there does not need to be a showing that they were in any way negligent. However, strict liability will not be appropriate if the victim provoked the dog or if they were in a place where they were not required to be in order to perform their legal duties.
While section 15-20-1-3 applies in some cases, situations are more common when an ordinary citizen is bitten by a dog, not necessarily while they are in the performance of official duties. In these situations, a dog bite victim may still be able to recover compensation for their injuries under a common-law theory of negligence. In Indiana, most dog bite cases rely on the one-bite rule, which allows for a dog bite victim to hold an animal’s owner liable for injuries caused by the dog when the victim can establish that the owner knew or should have known that the animal was dangerous.