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What You Need to Know About Indiana Dog Bite Reporting

Dogs are loveable and loyal pets. So many people own these animals and consider them members of their family. Dogs are also often employed as service animals for those with physical and mental illnesses. However, dogs are also animals. This unfortunately means that they can be unpredictable and may suddenly bite a person if they feel threatened or scared. It’s a scary situation for both the bite victim and the dog’s owner. So what are the rules around Indiana dog bite reporting?

I Was Bitten By a Dog. What Happens Now?

Not only is it extremely important to report dog bites in Indiana, but it is also the law. Indiana dog bite laws dictate that all bites must be reported to the local health department where you live. 

For Indiana dog bite reporting, you will be required to fill out an Animal Bites Report form, form 14072, which asks about the rabies vaccination status of the animal that bit you, as well as other information. Both you and the owner of the dog will write a statement about the incident.

The form asks for information about whether the dog was confined at the time of the bite or was roaming off the property/not legally restrained. It also asks if the dog has bitten someone before. The severity of the bite is divided into the following classifications:

  • Minor, scratch
  • Minor, punctures, 4 or less 
  • Moderate, punctures 
  • Severe, punctures (4 or more), deep may include crushing or tears from shaking
  • Death

Do Doctors Have to Report Dog Bites?

If you have been injured badly enough to need medical care, either at your doctor’s office or a local emergency room or urgent care facility, you will not have to fill out this form. The doctor is required to report the bite within 72 hours. Indiana dog bite reporting, as well as reporting a dog bite across the country, is a task with which they are all too familiar; nationally, almost 1,000 dog bites require emergency room visits each day. In fact, nonfatal dog bites are the 13th most common reason for ER visits in the United States. 

Indiana dog bite laws are strict for a reason. If a dog bites once, it is likely to bite again. And successive bites may become more and more vicious. According to animal behaviorists, this is because dogs usually bite out of fear, and if the result of their attack is for someone to retreat, aggression becomes a learned behavior. Between 2005 and 2020, 568 people were killed in dog bite-related attacks. In just 2020 alone, there were 40 dog bite-related fatalities in the U.S. 

Dogs with rabies can pass it on to other animals and also humans. Only 1-3 cases of rabies in humans happen each year in the United States, but that is because states are so careful about requiring vaccinations; it is also a direct result of mandatory dog bite reporting. A 2018 report cited by the CDC showed that there were 63 rabid dogs in the United States that year. 

Can I Press Charges Against the Dog’s Owner?

Although a dog’s owner may not necessarily face criminal charges if their dog bites someone, they may be liable for your medical bills and other expenses, depending on the circumstances and the details stated in the appropriate Indiana dog bite laws. You have the right to pursue compensation if the owner knew or should have known that their dog was aggressive. 

Indiana is one of 16 states to abide by a “one bite” law. This means that if your neighbor’s dog bites you (without being provoked) when you are over for dinner, your neighbor isn’t necessarily liable. However, the story is entirely different if your neighbor’s dog has ever bitten anyone before, which is another reason why Indiana dog bite reporting is so important. Other circumstances that your attorney would focus on in a personal injury lawsuit are whether the dog was on your property or running loose, either of which could be a Class C misdemeanor. Indiana doesn’t have statewide dog leash laws; instead, local governments make their own ordinances. 

In addition, owners are always held liable if their dog bites a local, state, or federal officer who is carrying out official duties, according to Indiana Code IC 15-5-12-1. This would include postal carriers and police officers.  

How Long Do I Have to Report a Dog Bite?

A dog bite should be reported to the health department in no more than 72 hours. Because of regulations related to rabies, a dog may need to be quarantined so following this timeline is important. If you plan to file a personal injury claim against the dog’s owner, the time limit to file is 2 years from the date of the incident.

How an Indiana Dog Bite Attorney Can Help

Because the dog bite laws in Indiana are so complex, you may need to consult an Indiana dog bite attorney to find out if you can pursue a personal injury case against the dog owner to recover financial compensation for your economic and noneconomic damages. The attorney will be able to determine the cost of your damages and advise you about the possibility that the dog owner was negligent or acted recklessly. Your dog bite attorney will be able to deal with the relevant insurance company so that you don’t have to worry while recuperating.

Being bitten by a dog is a traumatic event, not to mention painful and potentially life-changing. You may be able to sue for medical expenses, pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of wages, and loss of future earning ability. You need someone on your side to fight for you.  

Our experienced attorneys at Crossen Law Firm have decades of experience handling all kinds of personal injury claims, including dog bites. 

To schedule a free consultation with one of our reputable Indianapolis dog bite lawyers, dial (317) 401-8626 now or contact us online.