What to Do After a Dog Bite in Indiana?

Aggressive dog biting a stranger's arm.

Because most of us have dogs, have had a dog as a pet, or know someone who does, a dog bite or attack can be a shocking experience. You might not know what to do next, especially if you’ve suffered severe injuries.

If someone else’s dog bit you or your child, you shouldn’t have to pay out of pocket for the resulting medical bills and other losses you might be forced to incur. Fortunately, the law allows you to seek compensation for the harm you’ve suffered. Depending on the situation – and particularly if you can file a claim against their homeowners’ insurance policy – recovering the money you’re owed might not threaten your relationship with the dog’s owner.

For over 40 years, the attorneys of Truitt Law Offices have represented the interests of injured victims in Fort Wayne and throughout Indiana. Our attorneys work diligently to build strong, successful relationships with all of our clients. We care about our clients’ recovery and work to get our clients the resources they need to move forward after life-altering dog bites.

After a dog bite or attack, contact our firm for a free case review. We can discuss what steps to take after your injury and how our firm can help you recover financial compensation from the dog’s negligent or reckless owner.

Call 911

If you suffer a dog bite or attack and the animal is loose, call 911 to report the incident. The authorities can take steps to protect other members of the public from injury if the dog continues to act aggressively or viciously. They’ll try to locate and secure the animal, which is important. You need a vet to check the animal for diseases like rabies.

Seek Medical Attention

Seek medical attention for your dog bite injury as soon as possible. Depending on the breed of the dog, the viciousness of the attack, and where you were injured, a dog bite can cause serious injuries, including severe bleeding, soft tissue injuries, and even fractured bones. Some dogs’ mouths and saliva carry harmful viruses and bacteria. By seeking prompt medical treatment, you can help avoid further damage to the bite area. Proper care should reduce your risk of dog bite complications, such as infection.

Identify the Dog Owner

It’s vital to locate and contact the dog’s owner, especially if the owner was not present at the time of the attack. The owner of the aggressive dog might be held liable for your injuries. In a personal injury claim, you can demand compensation for the expenses and losses you sustained due to the dog bite or attack.

It’s understandable not to want to initiate legal action against the dog’s owner if they are a family member, friend, neighbor, or someone else you know. In most cases, dog bite settlements are paid by homeowners’ liability insurance, renters’ insurance, or another insurance policy. If the dog owner has insurance coverage, the insurer, not your friend or neighbor, will pay for your injuries.

Document Your Injuries

Document your injuries right away, starting by taking photographs of the injuries you suffered from the dog attack. Remember to keep copies of your dog bite medical records, including invoices, bills, and receipts for expenses you incur during your treatment. If you miss time at work, keep records of your paystubs or income statements. Finally, consider taking notes from time to time to document your recovery and the impact of the attack and your injuries on your life.

Report the Incident to Animal Control

It’s important to report the dog bite or attack to local animal control authorities. Depending on the circumstances, animal control might seize and quarantine the dog that attacked you, especially if the dog’s vaccination history is not known or it was previously violent toward people or animals. You’ll be helping keep your community safe by documenting the incident with the proper municipal department.

How Is Dog Bite Injury Compensation Determined?

A dog bite injury can result in significant financial expenses and considerable personal harm. A dog bite injury settlement is designed to compensate for both. In a dog bite claim, you might be entitled to recover financial compensation for:

  • Medical expenses, including ER and hospital bills, prescriptions, doctor’s appointments, and physical therapy
  • Lost income if you missed time from work or lost future earning ability due to disability
  • Physical pain
  • Emotional suffering, such as PTSD, anxiety, or depression caused by the attack
  • Loss of quality of life due to physical scarring or disability from the dog attack
  • Property damage, such as the repair or replacement cost of damaged clothing, jewelry, glasses, or watches

Should You Get a Lawyer for a Dog Bite?

The best way to know if your dog bite qualifies is to speak with an experienced Fort Wayne dog bite lawyer, like ours at Truitt Law Offices.

Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer to advocate on your behalf after suffering a dog bite injury can have many benefits. These include:

  • Investigating the circumstances of the attack to determine whether the “one-bite” rule applies to your case
  • Identifying the dog’s owner and determining the availability of insurance coverage, such as homeowners’ or renters’ insurance, that can provide you with compensation
  • Collecting evidence and building a case to establish the dog’s owner negligence and liability
  • Preparing and filing a claim for compensation that incorporates a solid legal argument
  • Handling all communications with the insurance company so that you can avoid stressful or contentious encounters with the dog’s owner
  • Negotiating an insurance settlement that provides you with fair and full compensation
  • Pursuing your claim in court if necessary

If somebody else’s dog injured you, contact Truitt Law Offices today for a free, no-obligation initial consultation. You can speak to an experienced Indiana dog bite lawyer about what you might be owed. Let us explain how you might recover compensation for the injuries, medical expenses, and harm that you’ve incurred due to the dog owner’s negligence.

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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…