Dogs can be wonderful companions, but unfortunately roughly 4.7 million people nationwide suffer from dog bites each year. Of those victims, 800,000 seek medical attention for their injuries according to the American Humane Association. If you are one of those people unlucky enough to be a victim of a dog attack, the Indiana State Board of Animal Health suggests you at least fill out an Official Indiana Animal Bite form. This form includes information such as the circumstances surrounding the bite, the dog’s owner’s name, and status of the dog’s rabies vaccination.
Because of the risk of infection, it is also important to wash the wound vigorously for at least 15 minutes. If it is a severe wound, you should also seek medical attention. Even if it is only a minor wound, you may need a tetanus shot if it has been five years or more since your last booster. You should also contact your local Department of Health as well as the Indiana State Department of Health to report the bite.
Once you have cleaned the wound and taken care of reporting the bite, you might be wondering about your legal rights. Indiana personal injury lawyers can help you to understand the state laws concerning dog bites. Under Indiana state law, it is a Class C misdemeanor if “the owner recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally fails to take reasonable steps to restrain the dog” and the dog causes bodily injury to a person. The owner can be convicted of a greater crime if this was not the first time the dog bit someone, the bite results in serious injury to the person, or if the bite results in death.
Governmental workers, including postal workers, are especially protected by this law while they are in locations where they are required to perform their duties. The one big exception to owner’s liability is when a police or military dog is performing its appointed responsibilities. If you would like to know more about dog bite laws in Indiana or you would like legal consultation concerning your situation, contact us.