What You Need to Know About Reporting Dog Bites

Indiana dog bite law

The Indiana State Board of Animal Health requires that all animal attacks or dog bites be fully investigated. This investigation must include the circumstances surrounding the bite, the rabies vaccination records of the animal, and the animal’s owner. However, you do not necessarily need to report the bite directly to the Board of Animal Health.

To whom you report the bite depends on its severity. If you have suffered severe injury, dial 9-1-1 and inform the dispatcher and responding officers and paramedics of the bite. The responding officers will contact animal control and handle the reporting requirements.

If you are not in immediate danger, be certain to collect as much information on the dog and owner as possible. Then, report this information when you visit the emergency room for treatment. The doctors and nurses will ensure that the proper paperwork is filed.

Dog Bites Call for Legal Representation

Even if the bite seems minor, be certain to report the bite and seek medical treatment. Dog bites can carry serious diseases, such as rabies, and the state requires tracking of dog bites for public safety. You can report bites directly to the county health department, where you will also receive the necessary testing and treatment to ensure that you remain healthy.

Some dog bite victims worry that the dog’s owner will face criminal charges or that the animal will be put down. However, owners are only charged if they were reckless or failed to follow leash laws. The dog will also not necessarily be quarantined unless it is behind on rabies vaccinations, and will only be put down if there is no owner and the dog is ill.

Dog Bite Liability

Dog bites can be expensive to treat, particularly if follow-up testing and vaccinations are required. You may not have to bear that financial burden alone, though. Under Indiana law, the liability for a dog bite generally lies with the owner. The law dictates that the owner is liable for all damages suffered by the bite victim in situations in which:

  • The dog is not provoked
  • The bite victim is in a location where he or she is legally required to be to carry out government duties, including postal workers

This law applies even if the dog has no history of violence and the owner has no knowledge of past viciousness. However, liability in cases in which the victim did not have an official, legal reason for being on the premises can be trickier. If there is a leash law in place and the dog was not restrained or if the dog ventures onto another’s property and bites unprovoked, the owner can still be held liable. The key to dog bite liability is typically provocation. Be certain to document the circumstances surrounding the bite in detail to show that you did not provoke the dog in any way.

Contact a Indianapolis Dog Bite Attorney

If you have been bitten and need help filing a report or collecting damages, contact a dog bite attorney at Truitt Law Offices today. Our attorneys have experience in dog bite cases can help you to file the report properly and collect the compensation you need to pay your medical bills.

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About the Author

As an attorney who has practiced law in Northeast Indiana for nearly four decades, Richard Truitt has seen many changes in the way personal injury and wrongful death cases are handled. However, at least one aspect of his work has remained the same. “You always have to listen to your clients, and you have…