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Dog Bites Face: Understanding Legal Options for Facial Injuries

Being attacked by a dog is a terrifying experience. It is especially traumatic if the dog bites your face and you suffer a facial injury. 

You may be asking yourself questions like: 

  • How will I pay my medical bills? 
  • What am I owed for my pain and suffering?
  • Am I entitled to compensation for permanent disfigurement? 
  • Can compensation pay for mental health therapy for the trauma of this event?

Indiana’s dog bite laws are narrowly defined, and you need a trusted legal guide to provide you with information about how to get appropriate compensation for your facial injuries. Crossen Law Firm offers dog bite victims in Indiana compassionate, knowledgeable legal support. 

Indiana’s Dog Bite Laws

Indiana’s dog bite laws divide victims into two categories:

  1. Victims who were bitten while carrying out their duties under state law, federal law, or as a member of the U.S. Postal Service
  2. Private citizens 

In the case of state or federal workers who were bitten while on the job, they can sue the owner of the dog as long as they meet two requirements: 

  • The victim was acting peaceably and did not provoke the dog
  • The victim was in a place where they were required to be, so that they could carry out their legal duty, including delivering mail

In these instances, there is no obligation to prove that the dog has been aggressive before. However, private citizens carry the burden of proof that the dog’s owners knew it was aggressive and didn’t do anything about it. 

Proving That a Dog Was Aggressive: Indiana’s “One Bite” Rule

Indiana allows dog bite victims to sue the dog’s owner, under the conditions of the “One Bite” rule. 

one bite rule

Typically, a dog owner can only be considered negligent or liable for the injuries if they knew or should have known that the dog was a bite risk. Essentially, if the dog never showed any aggressive behavior and the bite was a total fluke, arguing for damages is much more challenging. 

However, if the victim’s lawyer can demonstrate that the owner(s) of the dog knew that their dog was aggressive – or had the potential to become aggressive – and did not prevent the attack or bite from happening, then they may be responsible for compensating the victim. 

Your dog bite attorney will demonstrate that the owners had reason to believe that their dog had the potential to be aggressive. 

Signs of aggression could be: 

  • Previous aggressive behavior toward people
  • Previous dog bites 
  • The dog’s breed is known to have a propensity for aggression
  • The dog has been trained to attack unfamiliar people (such as a guard dog)
  • Previous aggression toward other animals

Additionally, the owner’s actions may reveal that they knew their dog was dangerous. For example, did they have a warning sign on their property about the dog? Even if the bite did not occur on their property, the warning sign demonstrates that they knew their dog’s propensity for aggression. 

Did they give verbal warnings to others that their dog could be dangerous? Do they have a history of muzzling the dog because of its behavior toward other people and animals? Have they frequently kept the dog confined to prevent it from interacting with people and animals?

Why Do Dogs Bite People’s Faces?

Dogs bite for several reasons, including: 

  • Stress
  • Fear
  • Defending territory
  • Being startled
  • Resource guarding (of a toy or food)
  • The belief that it is defending someone from a threat
  • Protecting its puppies

Dog bites to the face may occur when a dog is attacking and trying to bite wherever it can, or it may happen because the person’s face is very close to the dog’s face when the attack occurs. 

This list is not comprehensive. If you have experienced another injury to your face because of a dog attack, be sure to include that in your dog bite report and be sure to share that information with your attorney. 

What Kind of Compensation Can You Expect from a Dog Bite Lawsuit?

Every case and dog bite lawsuit is different, so we can’t provide or promise a specific amount of money. However, when we review your case in a free consultation, we can take a look at your unique circumstances and help you know what to expect. 

Your compensation may cover: 

  • Medical bills
  • Medication costs
  • Reconstructive surgery
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Compensation for scarring
  • Physical, occupational, speech, and mental health therapy

Crossen Law Firm – Indianapolis’s Preferred Dog Bite Attorneys

Crossen Law Firm has a multi-million-dollar track record of getting compensation for our personal injury clients. That includes suing negligent dog owners to hold them responsible for their actions that caused you or a loved one to suffer from a facial injury. 

Book a consultation with Crossen Law Firm today.

Our legal team is equipped with the knowledge and resources to negotiate with insurance companies (including yours and the dog owner’s) to ensure that you receive fair compensation. 

When necessary, we take your case to court so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries – instead of having to worry about how to pay your medical bills. 
You won’t owe us anything unless we win your case. To get started, contact us for a free consultation. You can call us at 317-401-8626 or contact us online.