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Man's Best Friend is Also Man's Big Liability

Dogs are wonderful companion animals. They are loyal, loving creatures that often make great family pets. However, dogs, like any other animal, have natural behaviors and instincts that can be dangerous at times. Even the calmest dog can cause serious and costly injuries. In a recent report issued by State Farm analyzing the number of dog bite claims reported in 2013, Indiana ranked 7th in the country. According to the report, there were 148 dog bite claims in Indiana last year, which resulted in over $2.7 million dollars being paid out. California was the number one ranked stated with 451 dog bite claims totaling $17.1 million dollars. The law in Indiana does not presume that dogs or other domestic animals are dangerous; however, that also does not mean that dogs are always entitled to one “free” bite before an owner can be found negligent for a dog attack. Indiana courts have repeatedly held that dog owners, keepers, and handlers have a duty to keep the dog under reasonable care and control to prevent injuries and bites. Moreover, failure to leash a dog, no matter how calm or domicile, will likely result in the owner being liable for any injuries the dog causes if those injuries were caused because the dog was not on a leash. There is also strict liability for a dog owner if the dog bites a US Postal worker or other government employee regardless of whether the owner was aware of any vicious tendencies in the dog. Although dogs may be man’s best friend, dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claim dollars paid out last year. This is the result of both rising medical costs and the size of settlements, judgments, and jury awards given to those injured or attacked by a dog. Therefore, as a dog owner it is important to remember to properly supervise and restrain your pet to avoid injuring others. It is also important to remember to be cautious and alert when encountering strange or otherwise agitated dogs so as not to needlessly place yourself in harms way. If you or someone you love have been attacked or otherwise injured by a dog, you may be entitled to damages. For a free consultation with one of our top personal injury attorneys, please call 877-877-LAW2 (5292) or 219-924-2427.

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