What Is the Average Dog Bite Settlement Amount in Indiana?

Aggressive dog attacking a young caucasian woman.

Dog bites can cause devastating and traumatic injuries that take time and money to heal. The Insurance Information Institute (III) estimates the average cost of each dog bite claim filed through homeowners’ insurance to be about $65,000. However, that number will vary for each case. 



What Factors Can Affect How Much My Dog Bite Settlement Might Be?

Several factors can affect the value of your dog bite claim. The severity of your injuries is one of the biggest ones to consider when calculating what your case is worth. Someone who sustains severe injuries that involve extensive medical intervention or cause scarring, disfigurement, and disability may seek more money to account for their significant losses.

The cause of the incident can also impact the value of a dog bite claim. Indiana civil courts follow the modified comparative negligence system. In a personal injury lawsuit, the amount of fault each party bears for causing an accident impacts the compensation they can recover for their financial losses.

If a dog bite victim’s actions contributed to the incident, their percentage of fault reduces the value of their compensation. Anyone whose share of fault is more than 50 percent cannot recover compensation for their losses. This rule only binds court decisions. However, insurance adjusters consider the modified comparative negligence law and how a court would rule when estimating the value of a claim.

What Compensation May Be Available in a Dog Bite Lawsuit?

With the help of an experienced Indiana dog bite attorney, you may be able to seek compensation for the following:

  • Current and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress, including PTSD
  • Scarring and disfigurement

Calculating the value of a dog bite claim can be challenging. An attorney can review your financial losses and help estimate the cost of future care, such as physical therapy, rehabilitation, and additional medical intervention that may be necessary.

Aggressive german shepherd barking at stranger.

What Should I Do After a Dog Bites Me?

The aftermath of a dog attack can be frightening and overwhelming. What should you do to protect yourself or others? How can you protect your legal rights in the days and weeks ahead? After a dog bite, consider taking the following proactive steps:

  • Seek medical attention immediately – You must get medical care as soon as possible after a dog attack. Dog bites can cause significant wounds and tissue damage that needs to be assessed by a medical professional. Unfortunately, some reports also indicate nearly 15 to 20 percent of dog bite wounds become infected. Early medical intervention can help decrease your risk of developing infections and deadly illnesses like rabies.
  • Attempt to document the bite – If possible, document the attack as best you can. Get the dog’s owner’s contact and homeowner’s insurance information, and ask about the dog’s vaccination history. Ask witnesses for their contact information as well. Photograph your injuries and the scene.
  • Report the bite – You need to report the attack to the proper authorities. In Fort Wayne, you can report dog bites to the Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control office.
  • Consult an Indiana dog bite lawyer – Understanding your legal rights after a dog attack can be challenging. Talk to a knowledgeable personal injury attorney as soon as you can.

You should also follow all medical advice and avoid posting on social media.

What Is the “One-Bite” Rule?

Some states follow the “one-bite” rule in dog bite cases. The one-bite rule means that dog owners may not always be liable for attacks if they had no prior knowledge their dog was violent or aggressive.

However, Indiana’s one-bite rule has exceptions. A dog owner may be liable for injuries when:

  • A dog bite victim can prove the owner was negligent because they failed to prevent an attack, or
  • The owner knew or should have reasonably known that their dog had aggressive tendencies.

Strict liability only applies to dog bites involving state or federal government employees who were carrying out their duties when they were bitten. In these cases, the dog’s owner is usually automatically responsible for the damages.

How Long Can a Dog Bite Case Take to Settle?

The time it takes to settle a dog bite case depends on several factors. Negotiating a settlement can take several weeks to months. Taking a case to court can mean waiting months or longer to recover the money you deserve.

You may also have to wait until you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) before you know the total amount of your losses. This is the point where your condition is not likely to improve with medical treatment. If you settle before reaching MMI, you may not know how much your physical impairments, pain level, and scarring will affect your life. You deserve fair compensation for all you have suffered, so you shouldn’t accept a settlement before knowing the full extent of your injuries.

Should I Accept the First Settlement Offer for My Dog Bite Injuries?

Accepting a speedy initial settlement offer is rarely to your benefit. Before you take money from anyone, discuss your situation with a skilled Indiana dog bite attorney. An attorney can calculate your losses and aggressively negotiate on your behalf. Initial offers tend to be low and only benefit the insurer, not you.

How Long Do I Have to File a Dog Bite Lawsuit in Indiana?

Dog bite cases fall under the umbrella of personal injury law. In Indiana, dog bite victims have two years from the incident date to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for their financial losses. However, there are exceptions that can extend or shorten this deadline. For example, when a minor is bitten by a dog, they have two years after their 18th birthday to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Contact an Indiana Dog Bite Lawyer

Are you worried about the outcome of a dog attack claim? Hand over the details to an experienced Indiana dog bite attorney and let our team shoulder the burden of filing a claim for you. We want you to be able to focus on recovery, not paperwork.

At Truitt Law Offices, we’ll take the time to listen to you and carefully evaluate the unique circumstances of your situation. We understand the trauma that can be inflicted on you and your family when a four-legged friend turns aggressive. We aim to help you pursue the compensation you need to move forward with your life and recover from your injuries.

Contact our office today for a free consultation.

Visit Our Indiana Dog Bite Law Offices

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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…