Chicago Dog Bite Lawyers

Did you suffer injuries caused by a dog bite or animal attack?

Our Chicago dog bite lawyers at Ankin Law may be able to help you recover substantial compensation.

Dog bites and animal attacks frequently leave victims with severe physical and emotional injuries. In many cases, injured victims face ongoing medical care, multiple reconstructive surgeries, and permanent scarring or disfigurement. For adults, the inability to work can easily become a reality. You shouldn’t have to face these burdens alone. 

Let our injury attorneys help you recover. In Illinois, you have the right to seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. 

Why choose our lawyers to handle your injury claim?

  • We have over 100 years of combined experience handling animal attack lawsuits and other types of personal injury cases.
  • We are available 24/7 to discuss your injury claim or lawsuit.
  • We offer FREE, no-obligation case evaluations.
  • If you can’t come to us, we’ll come to you.
  • You only pay our attorney fees if we win your dog bite lawsuit.

Our Injury Attorneys Have Recovered Hundreds of Millions on Behalf of Injured Victims

Let’s discuss your legal options. Call (312) 600-0000 to speak with our experienced dog bite lawyers at Ankin Law.

Dog Bite Laws in Illinois: Here’s What You Need to Know

In Illinois, animal owners and others can be held liable for the injuries their pets or animals in their care cause, as long as the victim was conducting himself or herself peacefully, was lawfully on the property where the attack occurred, and the animal was not provoked.

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What About the “One Bite Rule”?

The Illinois Animal Control Act, which was enacted in 1949, eliminated the “one bite rule” to reduce the burdens placed on people who suffered injuries in animal attacks. Prior to the Act, the one free bite law had excused liability for first-time animal bites or other attacks because the viciousness of the animal was assumed to have not been demonstrated to the owner or guardian. 

In 1973, the Illinois Animal Control Act was enacted in its current form, further reducing the burdens placed on plaintiffs in dog bite cases. The current Act also provides clearer definitions for terms like “dangerous dog”, “has been bitten”, “owner”, “Vicious dog”, and “Serious physical injury”. It does not, however, clearly define the term “provocation”. Interpretation of the term can significantly impact an animal attack lawsuit. 

How Does Provocation Impact Liability in a Dog Bite Case?

One of the conditions for liability in a dog bite case is that the animal must have been “unprovoked” for the owner to be held responsible for its actions. If the Judge determines that the injured victim provoked the animal before the attack, it may be declared that the animal’s behavior was justified. 

While some types of provocation are more obvious, like the victim threatening the animal, its owner, or its offspring, even accidental provocation may cause an injury lawsuit to be dismissed.   

Can Property Owners Be Held Liable for Dog Bite Injuries?

In many cases, property owners and renters can be held liable for the injuries caused by animals that are in their care or on their property, even if the property owner does not own the dog. Victims can seek damages from the property owner and that person’s homeowners insurance or renters insurance policy, but policy limits will apply. In 2022, the average cost of a homeowners insurance claim involving a dog attack was $64,555 – up 31.7% from 2021. 

How Do Chicago’s Leash Laws Impact Dog Bite Cases?

Under Chicago Municipal Code, animal owners in the city must confine their pets when they are in public. Pets may be contained by leashes, crates, cars, perimeter securing, or other safe means. Deliberately violating Chicago’s leash law can result in fines of up to $10,000 and even jail time for pet owners, but these types of penalties would be handled in criminal court. 

A criminal conviction for breaking Chicago’s leash laws does not guarantee the success of a personal injury case. However, it can be used as evidence of the pet owner’s negligence. In rare cases, evidence of such a conviction may also give rise to punitive damages.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Lawsuits in Chicago?

In Illinois, dog bite victims generally have up to two years to file a lawsuit for the injuries caused by animal attacks. The time limit that applies to your particular case may be shorter or longer, however, so it’s important to reach out to our dog bite attorneys as soon as possible. If you miss the deadline to file a lawsuit, the defendant and his or her attorney can put in a motion to dismiss your case. If the Court honors the request, you will lose your right to seek compensation for your losses. 

How Is Dog Bite Liability Determined?

Dog bite liability is determined by reviewing a wide range of factors. These include the location of the incident, whether the pet owner or someone else was caring for or responsible for the animal, the insurance policies available, and the circumstances that led up to the attack. In some situations, multiple parties may be held liable for dog bite injuries. 

When determining liability, your lawyer will consider all factors that may have contributed to your injuries. You may be able to sue a homeowner, a renter, a business, a dog walker, and/or the animal’s owner. Claims against homeowners and renters insurance policies are common, but filing a claim against the owner’s animal liability insurance coverage may be an option as well.

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    Helpful Resources from Our Chicago Medical Malpractice Attorneys

    How Our Dog Bite Lawyers Can Help

    Dog bites can be a traumatic experience, leaving victims and their families to face physical wounds, emotional trauma, and financial burdens. Navigating the legal landscape when seeking compensation can be overwhelming. At Ankin Law, our experienced dog bite lawyers can guide you through this challenging process, protecting your rights, and making sure you receive full and fair compensation.

    Understanding Your Rights and Legal Options

    Our team will evaluate your situation and explain the legal options available to you. We understand the complexities of Illinois dog bite laws, including strict liability and the possible defenses we might face. We will explore the details of your case, including the circumstances of the bite, the severity of your injuries, and the applicable legal theories to determine the best course of action.

    Building a Strong Case for You

    Obtaining fair compensation requires a well-documented and compelling case. Our lawyers will:

    • Gather evidence: This includes police reports, medical records, witness statements, and photographs of the bite and any injuries.
    • Investigate the incident: We will investigate the dog’s history, ownership, and any violations of local animal control ordinances.
    • Consult with experts: Depending on the specific circumstances, we may involve medical professionals or other experts to strengthen your case.

    Negotiating for Fair Compensation

    In most cases, dog bite claims are settled outside of court through negotiations with the dog owner’s insurance company. To maximize your compensation, our skilled negotiators will:

    • Determine the full extent of your damages: This includes medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and potential future medical needs.
    • Fight for fair compensation: We will negotiate with the insurance company to ensure you receive a settlement that reflects the true cost of your injuries.
    • Guide you through the process: We will keep you informed throughout the negotiation process, allowing you to make informed decisions and feel confident in our representation.

    Taking Your Case to Court

    If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, Ankin Law is prepared to take your case to court. Their experienced trial lawyers will represent you effectively, presenting a strong case and protecting your rights throughout the judicial process.

    Our lawyers accept dog bite and animal attack cases in and around Chicago, Cicero, Chicago Heights, Schaumburg, Joliet, Rosemont, Waukegan, Orland Park, Wheaton, Naperville, Elgin, Morton, Bartonville, Eureka, Bloomington, Galesburg, and the surrounding communities.

    Dog Bite Statistics in Chicago, Illinois and Throughout the US

    With over 4.5 million reported dog-related injuries every year, it’s starting to seem like the United States is under attack by dangerous dogs. Alarmingly, the number of injuries and fatalities  continue to climb. Understanding more about dog attack statistics may help pet owners and other Illinois residents keep their loved ones safe. 

    Dog Bite Insurance Claims Are On the Rise

    Approximately of the money spent in home insurance claims in the United States involves dog bites, animal attacks, and dog-related injury accidents. According to State Farm, the insurance giant paid out almost $211 million in such claims in 2022 – up approximately 30% from 2021. 

    Who Is Most Likely to Suffer Dog-Related Injuries?

    Young children, elderly people, and postal carriers are the most common victims of animal attacks. Over 50% of victims are children, and approximately 42% are kids under the age of six. Sadly, young children are also the most likely to suffer severe injuries or death in animal attacks. 

    How Many Dog Attack Victims Require Medical Attention?

    Each year, more than 885,000 people seek medical attention for their dog bite injuries. About 370,000 victims seek emergency medical care – equal to approximately 1,000 people each day. According to the CDC, nearly 27,000 dog bite victims each year require reconstruction surgery. 

    How Many People Die From Dog Bites and Animal Attacks?

    In 2018, 37 people died from animal attacks. Over 45% of dog bite deaths that occurred between 2000 and 2018 were to children under 16. The number of dog attack deaths increased to 46 in 2020. According to, there were 58 reported dog bite fatalities in 2023.

    Most Dangerous Dog Breeds

    Over the last 20 years, fatal dog maulings were caused by more than 25 breeds of dogs. While Pit Bulls and Rottweilers have been held responsible for over 75% of dog bite fatalities, the CDC reports that studies may have been biased, and visual identification may have been inaccurate. 

    What Body Part Do Dogs Most Often Bite?

    The CDC reports that dog bites often happen to victims’ arms, legs, hands, feet, heads, and necks. Approximately 80% of dog bites that cause severe or fatal injuries to children come in the form of puncture wounds and crushing injuries to the head and neck. 

    Where Do Dog Attacks Happen?

    Over 50% of reported dog attacks happen on the property of the animal owner, but animal aggression can happen anywhere. In fact, strays account for about 15% of animal attacks. Children who live in households with multiple dogs are up to five times more likely to get bitten. 

    What Are the Most Common Dog Bite Injuries?

    While dog bites and animal attack injuries vary in severity and location, some types of dog bite injuries are more common than others. Any dog bite should be taken seriously and evaluated by a medical professional to ensure proper treatment and minimize potential complications.

    The most Common dog bite injuries Chicago attorneys see include:

    1. Puncture Wounds and Lacerations

    Dogs’ sharp teeth can pierce the skin, causing deep puncture wounds or ragged tears (lacerations) requiring stitches and often leaving scars. These are the most common dog bite injuries. Deep punctures can injure underlying tissues, nerves, and even bones. The severity of injuries varies depending on the bite force and the dog’s size. 

    2. Injuries to Arms and Hands

    Nearly half of all dog bites target the arms and hands, as these are often the first areas exposed during interactions. Severe bites can cause crush injuries, and permanently damage muscles, bones, tendons, and nerves. This can impact the victim’s mobility and require physical therapy.

    3. Facial Injuries

    Especially common in children who get attacked, dog bites that occur on the face may lead to serious injuries like broken bones around the eyes or damage to the mouth and tongue. These can require extensive medical care, and they sometimes leave permanent scarring, blindness, and/or paralysis. 

    4. Infections

    Dog bites puncture the skin, creating an entry point for bacteria. Prompt medical attention is crucial to prevent infection. If not properly treated, dog bite infections can lead to further complications like cellulitis or even sepsis.

    5. Psychological Trauma

    Dog bites can be a frightening experience, especially for children. Emotional distress, anxiety, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop in some individuals after a dog bite.

    Dog Bite Injuries? Call Ankin Law at (312) 600-0000 to recover full compensation.

    What Damages Can I Recover in a Dog Bite Lawsuit?

    The damages that will be available to you if we win your dog bite lawsuit depend on the types of losses you’ve endured, and the way your injuries are expected to impact your life. 

    Examples of economic damages include:

    • Past and future medical expenses
    • The cost of necessary medical equipment
    • Lost wages and missed earning opportunities

    The noneconomic damages that may be available to you include:

    • Physical pain and suffering
    • Emotional trauma
    • Loss of enjoyment of life

    Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Bite Injury Lawsuits


    Do I Need a Lawyer for a Dog Bite Injury Claim?

    Whether you need a lawyer for a dog bite injury claim depends on several factors and the specific circumstances of your case. While it’s not mandatory to have legal representation, involving a lawyer can be highly beneficial. While not a guarantee of success, legal representation significantly increases your chances of achieving a successful outcome in your dog bite claim. However, the decision ultimately rests with you.


    How Do I Report a Dog Bite in Cook County?

    If you’ve been bitten by a dog in Cook County, here’s what you need to do:

    1. Report the bite to law enforcement:
      1. For incorporated areas: Contact your local police department.
      2. For unincorporated areas: Contact the Cook County Sheriff’s department.

    An official Bite Report will be completed and sent to the Animal and Rabies Control (ARC) office. This report initiates an investigation into the dog and a possible rabies exposure.

    1. Understand the legal process:

    Reporting the bite to the authorities is separate from filing a personal injury claim against the dog’s owner. To find out more about filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the liable party, call our dog bite lawyers.


    Can I File a Lawsuit if I Was Bitten by a Service Dog?

    In most cases, owners of service dogs are not exempt from liability when their animal bites someone. Similar to any other dog, the owner can be held responsible for injuries caused by the service animal. However, there are additional complexities compared to regular dog bite cases. Due to the crucial role service dogs play in assisting individuals with disabilities, there may be additional legal protections for these animals in your location. This may make it more difficult to successfully sue compared to a standard dog bite case, making it especially important to hire a dog bite lawyer.

    What Our Clients Say About Us

    I highly recommend! The whole process with Ankin Law was professional and required patience. The wait was well worth it and had a great outcome! I was not stressed with their help, they took care of everything and ensured I didn’t have to pay anything out of pocket. Thank you to everyone who helped me with my case and settled out my case, I Truly appreciate you all! If you are looking into trying them out, DO IT!

    ~ J.J.

    Helpful Resources From Our Chicago Dog Bite Injury Lawyers

    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.

    A personal injury claim is a judicial proceeding instigated by a claimant who seeks compensation for physical, emotional, and financial damages caused by deliberate, careless, or negligent wrongdoings of others. Knowing what constitutes a personal injury claim can help you take the right steps to safeguard your rights and hold the liable party financially responsible for your injuries and losses.

    A homeowner’s insurance claim denial can happen when insurance companies decide to not provide coverage for your damaged home. Insurance companies may have their own reasons to deny homeowner’s insurance claims. Homeowner’s insurance companies often deny claims based on whether they are covered by the insurance policy and the level of insurance the homeowner has. The amount of documentation provided with the claim, or the suspicion of fraudulent or negligent behavior by the homeowner, can also lead to a denial. In some cases, an insurance company may deny a valid claim out of bad faith.

    If you have sustained physical injuries, knowing how to prove emotional distress can help you build your personal injury claim. Filing a lawsuit that includes emotional distress as damages will require you to prove that you have experienced emotional distress because of your physical injuries. Knowing the types of emotional distress damages you can recover from your lawsuit will help you get the most out of your personal injury claim.