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Counsel That You Can Trust & Depend On


Guy DiMartino March 19, 2015


Q. My teenage son returned from school the other day and parked in our driveway. When he got out of the car, the dog of the neighbor across the street shot out their dog and attacked my son.We spoke to another lawyer who said we have to show that the dog attacked or bit someone before my son. Is that true?

A. The answer to this question requires a little explanation more than yes or no. Some folks believe that there are some breeds of dogs that are known to be aggressive or vicious.

The law in Indiana starts out with the presumption that all dogs are docile, and in order to defeat the presumption, you have to show that the dog acted up before. Some people call this the one free bite rule. However, that is not the only analysis. The other question that needs to be answered is did the owner of the dog act reasonably under the circumstances. For instance, we would have to ask some other questions like.

  • Did the neighbor's dog always take off from their property?

  • Has there been any problems with the dog in the neighborhood before?

  • Were there other kids outside taunting the dog?

  • Were the neighbor's kid(s) outside taunting the dog?

  • Was the screen on the neighbor's door broken?

  • Was there a problem with the door?

  • Why was the dog able to get out and take off?

Like most injury cases, there is no hard and fast rule, the specific facts have to be looked at to see if there is a chance of receiving compensation for the injuries. If you plan on calling a lawyer for your Indiana dog bite claim, you should be ready to answer some or all of the above questions. If your response to the questions are “I don't know” you probably do not have a claim, however, if you can show that the neighbor knew that the dog was a problem, you probably do have a claim.

If you have any questions about Indiana dog bite claims, give me a call at (219) 874-4878.

Photo Attribution: Image courtesy of James Barker at