Dog Bite Liability

Focus dog bite wound and blood on hand

Dog bite liability is determined by the applicable law and the circumstances leading to the dog bite. Factors at play include whether the bite occurred on the dog’s property or someone else. Likewise, if the person who was bitten provoked or agitated the dog, this may lessen the dog owner’s liability.

How Common are Dog Bites

For many people, dogs are a cherished pet and beloved member of the family. But while most dogs are gentle animals, some dogs are dangerous and can cause serious injuries or even death if they bite or attack. In fact, just last week, an 83-year-old woman and her dog were attacked by a pit bull in West Chicago. The woman was injured in the attack, but survived; unfortunately, her dog did not.

The Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reports that 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, with an estimated one in five dog bites requiring medical attention. Although any dog – even those that seem gentle – can attack if provoked, some of the breeds that most commonly attack include:

  • Pit Bulls
  • Rottweilers
  • German Shepherds
  • Huskies
  • Alaskan Malamutes
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Chow Chows
  • Presa Canarios
  • Boxers
  • Dalmations

Liability for Dog Bites and Dog Attacks

If you, your child, or your pet were attacked or bitten by a dog, you may be able to recover money damages from the dog’s owner. Pursuant to the Illinois Animal Control Act, if an unprovoked dog or other animal attacks (or attempts to attack) and injures a person, the owner of the animal may be liable for damages and injuries caused by the attack.  The law provides rights to injured victims even if the animal does not actually bite the victim, but merely tries to attack the victim.

The Illinois Animal Control Act also requires dog owners to have their dogs on-leash or otherwise enclosed. An exception to this rule is if the owner is legally hunting or training with his or her dog, and has permission to do so. Dogs roaming free or not under proper supervision create safety issues for visitors and passersby. If the dog was roaming at-large at the time of the dog bite, you may use this to boost your dog bite liability claim.

Sometimes, even just delivering the mail can be a dangerous job. Luckily, a postal accident attorney may be able to help you understand if you have a dog bite liability claim.

Damages for Dog Attacks

Once liability is established, the victim can recover money damages for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other damages. Many times, dog attacks include psychological injuries – such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and a newfound fear of dogs – in addition to physical injuries. Proving and calculating psychological injuries is often more difficult than physical injuries, however, so it is important to consult with a Chicago pit bull lawyer who will fight to get you full compensation for all injuries, including mental injuries and the long-term psychological impact of the attack.

Seek medical attention right after a dog bite or attack. The dog may be carrying diseases, viruses, or bacteria that are harmful to humans. If these enter your bloodstream or remain on your skin, you risk getting seriously sick. Even if it doesn’t seem immediately pressing, having a medical professional examine you helps protect you. This visit may also help to preserve and support your dog bite liability claim. Chicago animal attack attorneys may use this information to evaluate your claim.

Contact an Illinois Dog Bite Lawyer

The laws and legal theories involved with dog bites and other animal attacks are complex. The Chicago personal injury attorneys at Ankin Law are familiar with all the applicable legal theories that may be involved, including negligence issues and premises liability issues. If you or someone you love has been the victim of a dog attack, dog bite, or attempted dog bite, contact a skilled Chicago pit bull lawyer at Ankin Law at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation to discuss a possible personal injury lawsuit.

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