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If My Dog Is Bitten by Another Dog, Do I Have a Case?

When a person is bitten by someone else’s dog, the negligent dog owner can be held liable under the law for the injuries their dog caused. However, if a dog bites another dog, the situation is a bit different.

While dog owners do have a legal duty of care to prevent their dog from causing harm, this typically only refers to harm to another person. This means you can’t simply file a personal injury claim and expect automatic compensation when it is your dog that has been injured.

This does not mean, however, that you do not have options. Dog owners can still be held liable if their dog attacks another dog, but the road to recovering compensation can be a bit more challenging.

If you have questions or concerns about a dog attack, our Indianapolis dog bite attorneys can assist you. Crossen Law Firm offers free consultations and can offer you guidance on what options are available to you.

Dog Owners Have a Duty of Care

In Indiana, dog owners have a duty of care, which means they are responsible for ensuring their dog does not cause harm to others. This includes attacking another person and damaging another person’s property. And while your dog might feel like a member of your family, they are technically considered personal property.

Even if you don’t like to think of your dog as property, having this legal designation does mean you can recover compensation if they are bitten by another dog. When a person acts negligently, they can be held liable for the damages that result from their negligence. So if a dog is considered personal property and is bitten by another dog, you can hold the negligent dog owner responsible for those damages.

Proving Liability After Your Dog is Bitten by Another Dog

While you can hold a negligent dog owner liable, proving that their dog was the one to have initiated the aggressive attack can be difficult. This is because it is very easy for two dogs to be aggressive towards one another, or for one dog to become aggressive when another dog shows aggression towards them. And in these cases, the negligent dog owner could deny fault and claim that your dog started it or that they both acted aggressively.

This is why location and evidence are crucial in these cases. The location where the attack occurred and supporting evidence can help prove which dog or dog owner is ultimately at fault.

Location of a Dog Attack

If your dog is bitten by another dog, where the incident occurred will play a role in whether or not you can win your case. For example, if your dog was attacked while on public property at a dog park where they can run free off-leash, it will be difficult to prove which dog started the attack.

However, if your dog was attacked and bitten by a dog that unlawfully entered your personal property, then it is more obvious which dog is at fault. In this case, you will be more likely to prove that the other person’s dog was the aggressor.

Evidence of a Dog Attack

Supporting evidence will also be critical in a dog attacking another dog case. If the attack happens in the open on public property, you could still be able to prove the negligence of the other dog owner if you have enough evidence to support your claim.

So no matter where the attack happens, make sure you gather as much evidence as possible. This can include photographs and video footage caught on a cell phone or a surveillance camera, as well as witness statements. Video footage clearly showing another dog attacking your dog is the best evidence, but witnesses who can also step forward and support your claim are beneficial as well.

After the attack, make sure you take plenty of photos of your dog’s injuries as well and keep all vet records from the incident. Not only do you need to prove what happened, but you will also need to prove the extent of your dog’s injuries and how much the vet bills cost to ensure you get adequate compensation.

How to Recover Compensation When Your Dog Is Attacked by Another Dog

The process of recovering compensation when a dog bites another dog is different than when a dog bites a person. This is because dogs are not seen as people but as personal property.

Homeowner’s Insurance

The first step you can take to get compensated for your dog’s injuries is by going through the negligent dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance. Homeowner’s insurance covers property damage, and since dogs are viewed as personal property, this insurance can cover their injuries.

However, some insurance companies are starting to exclude certain breeds from the coverage. So if the negligent owner’s insurance company denies your claim, it could be because they have a breed that is considered inherently dangerous and is thus not covered.

The Negligent Dog Owner

If the negligent dog owner does not have homeowner’s insurance or if their policy does not cover their dog’s breed, then you could simply ask the dog owner to compensate you for the cost of the vet bills.

Some dog owners are willing to step forward and admit fault and will happily help you pay for your vet bills. However, it’s still beneficial to show them proof of the injuries and copies of the bills instead of just asking for a lump sum.

File a Lawsuit for a Dog Attack in Small Claims Court

If the homeowner’s insurance is not an option and if the negligent owner refuses to give you any money, then you can take them to court. Small claims courts are an affordable option for recovering compensation for dog attacks towards other dogs as they don’t require you to hire an attorney.

In some cases, the negligent owner might even decide to give you money if they receive a court summons to avoid being sued. In that case, you can drop the lawsuit and avoid paying any legal fees. However, if the summons still does not influence them to pay you, the case will go to court, where a judge can order them to pay.

Consult an Indianapolis Dog Bite Lawyer

If your dog is bitten by another dog and you aren’t sure what your options are, you can reach out to our office for assistance. The dog bite attorneys at Crossen Law Firm know Indiana Dog bite law have years of experience handling dog attack cases. While we might not be able to represent you if you or someone you know was not directly injured by the aggressive dog, we can offer you initial guidance and tips on how to recover compensation if your dog was the one bitten.

To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call (317) 401-8626 today, or contact us online.