Dog Bite Attorney in Indiana
What is Strict Liability and How is it Different Than Normal "Negligence?"
As Indiana animal and dog bite attorneys, we see the most unfortunate things about this type of case is the victims -- usually young children. In most cases the owner of a dog or any other domestic animal is “strictly liable” for any injuries or property damage caused by their animal. Strict liability is much easier to prove than just negligence.
Under Indiana Code §15-20-1-3, a dog owner is "strictly" liable for:
- A dog biting a person without provocation;
- A dog biting a person who is acting peaceably;
A dog biting a person who is in a location where the person may be required
to be to discharge a duty imposed upon the person by:
- The laws of Indiana;
- The laws of the United States; or
- The postal regulations of the United States;
- The owner of the dog is liable for all damages suffered by the person bitten.
- The owner of a dog described in subsection (a) is liable for damages even if:
- The dog has not previously behaved in a vicious manner; or
- The owner has no knowledge of prior vicious behavior by the dog.
The basis for strict liability is that those who engage in certain kinds of activities do so at their own risk and must pay for any damage that foreseeably results, even if the activity has been carried out in the most careful manner possible. In addition to dog bites, an Indiana dog owner can be held responsible if their dog knocks a person over, trips someone, or the dog causes or contributes to a person's injury.
If a dog owner owns a home and has homeowner's insurance, then it is possible that any injuries caused by the dog will be covered under the homeowner’s insurance policy. Unfortunately, most homeowner's insurance policies exclude coverage for damages caused by a dog. That's why it is important to allow Attorney Jeff "JJ" Shaw to ask for the homeowner's insurance policy to examine it for exclusionary language with regard to dogs.
Can I Hold the Landlord Responsible if the Tenant Owns a Dog That Bites Me?
Yes, you can under certain circumstances.
If the dog owner lives in an apartment complex, Indiana law places a duty upon a landlord to protect its tenants in connection with a vicious dog of which the landlord has knowledge. A landlord could potentially be held liable for a tenant's dog if the landlord knows the dog is dangerous and can control the premises in order to protect the plaintiff. Cases against landlords for dog bites are difficult as the jury will usually find the owner of the dog responsible and not the landlord.
Here at Shaw Law, we believe that every accident is preventable. Every accident is due to someone's fault. You should not have to bear the brunt of the negligence of someone else.
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