Dogs are among the most common pets in the United States because they can provide owners with both companionship and security. However, each year there are hundreds of Indiana dog bite cases. Under Indiana law, these cases, for the most part, are governed by the common law theory of negligence.
Dog Bite Liability Generally
As a general matter, there are several different types of liability when it comes to dog bite cases. Many states employ a strict liability standard. Under a strict liability analysis, an animal’s owner is liable for the injuries caused by their dog regardless of the owner’s negligence or knowledge of the dog’s history of aggression or past level of violence.
Other states apply the common law theory of negligence to dog bite cases. The legal term “negligence” is very broad, and as a result places a significant amount of discretion in the hands of judges and juries. To succeed in a negligence action, a plaintiff’s claim must establish that the defendant dog owner violated a duty of care that was owed to the plaintiff and that this violation was the cause of their injuries.
One of the most controversial elements of the negligence analysis is the level of knowledge an owner must have to be found liable. Courts often ask the question whether the owner knew of a dog’s “dangerous propensities.” If the owner lacks this knowledge, courts often find that the owner was not negligent.
Indiana’s Dog Bite Statute
Under Indiana Code section 15-20-1-2, a dog owner is strictly liable for injuries caused by their animal when the animal attacks a postal delivery employee, police officer, or another person who is carrying out state or federal law. In these cases, the injury victim does not need to establish that the owner was negligent to recover for their injuries.
When a dog attacks a citizen, Indiana courts apply the common law theory of negligence. Thus, an owner’s knowledge of her animal’s “dangerous propensities” comes into question. Indiana courts do not require a dog have previously bitten or attacked someone to find an owner liable; however, proof that an owner knew his animal barked at passersby has been held to be insufficient.
Have You Been Attacked by a Dangerous Dog?
If a dog has recently attacked you or a loved one, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for your injuries. Indiana dog bite cases can be complicated, and they often require negotiating with multiple defendants, including insurance companies. Anyone considering a claim of this nature should contact the dedicated Indiana dog bite law firm of Parr Richey Frandsen Patterson Kruse. At Parr Richey Frandsen Patterson Kruse, we have decades of collective experience handling Indiana personal injury cases, and we know what it takes to succeed on our clients’ behalves. To learn more, call 888-532-7766 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation with a dedicated Indiana personal injury attorney.
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