Big or small, every dog has the potential to bite, and the physical and psychological damage can be long-lasting depending on the severity of the attack.
For that reason, it is important to know what to do after an attack has occurred, as well as gain an understanding of your legal rights to a dog bite personal injury claim.
Attorney Matt Boulton has investigated several Indiana dog bite cases on behalf of adults and their children throughout the Hoosier state. Having counseled his clients from the moments after a bite until the resolution of their case, Matt has put together a list of “next steps” for anyone who has suffered a dog bite in Indiana.
Dog Bite Victim Next Steps
If you or your child suffered injuries resulting from a dog bite, the following steps may help to protect your health as well as your legal rights.
Seek Medical Attention
A number of Matt’s dog bite clients suffered severe injuries that required them to call 911. In these cases, the adult or child was either bitten multiple times, risked great blood loss, or sustained damage to a vital organ or body part, such as their eye, neck, or groin area.
And while immediate medical attention for a severe dog bite is more obvious, it is also important for victims of lesser bites to also seek medical advice from their doctor.
In addition to complications such as infection or rabies, dog bites also have the potential to leave a victim with a form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that might require the assistance of a trained therapist.
Receiving medical attention soon after the incident can help to reduce your chances of any potential complications and provide official documentation of your injuries.
Never risk your health to collect evidence, however, if you are able to gather basic information, the following can prove beneficial in terms of proving liability:
- Photos of the geographical location where the bite occurred, e.g., the yard or area of the home.
- Pictures of your injuries.
- Dog owner information, e.g., name and address.
- Witness information.
If possible, also be sure to save any information or documentation that may pertain to a future dog bite claim, such as medical/therapy bills and any record of lost wages.
Report the Dog Bite
Indiana requires Hoosiers to fill out an Animal Bites Report Form and file it with the local health department where the victim lives. (This is done to determine the risk of human rabies.) The Indiana Department of Health provides a map that lists contact information for our state’s 92 counties.
In addition to determining whether the dog has had its rabies vaccination, your county’s animal control agency will check to see if the dog has had any prior incidents and/or is likely to be a potential threat to others in the future.
Don’t Believe the “Every Dog Gets a Free Bite” Rumor
One question Matt is often asked by dog bite victims is whether or not Indiana’s “one-bite” law will prohibit them from seeking compensation.
Indiana is one of sixteen states with a version of the one-bite rule, however, the name mistakenly implies that every dog is allowed to bite someone once without consequence. This is untrue. If the owner of the dog is found to be negligent, it is likely that you may still have a case, even if the dog has never bitten anyone before.
Ask for Help With the Insurance Company
If an insurance company contacts you to ask questions about the dog bite incident and your injuries, politely decline to provide any statements and let them know someone will contact them in the near future.
At this point, we suggest that you request an experienced dog bite attorney to provide you with a free review of your dog bite incident. Indiana dog bite cases have the potential to be quite complex with regard to liability, and the insurance company’s job is to limit their exposure by reducing or eliminating blame.
Additionally, some dog bite victims will initially be concerned because they are told by the dog owner that they do not have insurance. Never take this to be the final truth.
Matt has worked on a number of dog bite claims in which the victim was initially unable to locate an applicable insurance policy, either because the dog owner was renting and/or the owner of the property wasn’t the owner of the dog, or they simply did not know how to conduct a proper search.
Having an attorney conduct a professional investigation can not only help victims to sometimes locate an insurance policy, but it also helps to ensure the entire process is conducted in accordance with Indiana’s state laws.
Talk to Matt About Your Indiana Dog Bite Case
If you or your child were bitten by a dog, you may have the right to seek significant compensation. To help ensure you understand your legal rights with regard to a dog bite personal injury claim, we recommend that you ask an Indianapolis dog bite attorney to review the incident and offer advice on your next steps.
Matt has more than 20 years’ experience helping Hoosiers recover compensation for their personal injury claims, including victims of serious dog bite injuries. In addition to his successful track record with these cases, Matt’s personal and friendly approach also earns praise from his clients and peers alike.
To help ensure that everyone has access to award-winning legal representation, Boulton Law Group promises Hoosiers a Zero Fee Guarantee. This means that you will never be charged a fee for Matt’s dog bite advice and you owe the firm nothing unless we make a recovery on your behalf.
To speak with Matt about your potential case, contact him direct at 317-350-2680. And if you prefer to write to us with your story, use our confidential contact form for a free analysis. Matt personally reviews all website contact received at the firm.
Attorney Matt Boulton is an award-winning personal injury attorney with more than 20 years of experience helping seriously injured people throughout Indiana reclaim what was taken from them. His firm was created for for the client who expects exceptional service and passionate, successful legal representation.