According to State Farm, Indiana ranked seventh in the nation, in 2012, for insurance claims that were caused by a dog bite. Shockingly, insurance providers in the state had to pay out an estimated $2.7 million for only 148 of these claims. In other words, the median settlement was $18,243 and this high settlement cost causes a dog owner’s premiums to spike to a level that is cost-prohibitive. To make matters worse, insurance providers estimate that at least 20 percent of dog owners do not have the proper coverage in order to protect themselves if their dog seriously injures someone.
If Your Dog Bites…
The United States Postal Service releases an annual list that the details the cities that are the most dangerous for letter carriers due to dog attacks. Fortunately, there are no cities from Indiana in their top 20, but this does not mean that Indiana residents can relax if their dog has a tendency to freak out when someone approaches their property. In fact, the Indianapolis Department of Public Safety’s dog bite list for Marion County indicates that there were more than 2,300 reported bite-related instances from 2007 to 2008.
If you own a dog, it is imperative to take steps to protect yourself. After all, Indiana law states that you can be held responsible for any damages that your dog causes, even if they have never exhibited any aggressive tendencies in the past. However, the law also stipulates that the person who was injured by the dog must not have done anything to purposefully provoke the animal. In other words, if you are able to prove that the victim of a dog bite did something irresponsible that caused your pet to lash out, you might be able to avoid dealing with a large settlement. However, you are still likely to end up in a courtroom before the legal process is complete.
Protect Yourself and Your Dog
Aside from obtaining the proper insurance to protect yourself from any dog bite incidents, you should also never let your dog go outside of your yard without being on a leash. Additionally, it is imperative to keep a close eye on them whenever they are not safely behind a fence that they are unable to jump over. Keep in mind that chaining a dog up in your front yard can quickly become a recipe for disaster, especially if you will not be able to monitor your pet at all times.
If your dog has been implicated in a biting incident, you should contact a skilled attorney to represent you, instead of simply agreeing to file a large insurance claim. Alternatively, if you are the victim of a dog bite, you should turn to a personal injury attorney to help you collect a large enough settlement to take care of your medical bills. Here at Garrison Law Firm, we are willing to help you in any way we can.