Dog bites can lead to serious injuries. Every day in the United States there are about 1,000 people who are treated for dog bite injuries. Dog bite losses exceed $1 billion annually. In addition, homeowners find themselves paying out more than $300 million every year because of dog bite injuries.
When it comes to dog bite laws, only a handful of states in this country go by the “one-bite rule.” This law protects a dog owner when their dog bites for the first time. Under this type of law the only way an owner could be held responsible is if the owner:
- Knew that the dog has a tendency to bite
- Negligently or intentionally caused the bite
- Violated a leash law
- Violated any other animal control laws
However most other states, including Illinois, will impose a penalty on a dog owner whose dog bites. This is whether or not it was the dog’s first bite and despite the dog’s normally good behavior.
Illinois Dog Bite Laws
Illinois dog bite laws follow statutory strict liability when it comes to dog bites. This statute puts the responsibility of the dog bite on the owner. The owner is liable for any injuries that their dog inflicts on another person. The owner of a dog is defined as the person who:
- Has the right of property in a dog
- Harbors or keeps the dog
- Cares for the dog
- Acts as the dog’s custodian
- Knowingly allows the dog to remain on their premises
Statutory Strict Liability in Illinois The statutory strict liability law in Illinois prevents a dog’s owner from getting off the hook if their dog bites for the first time. In an Illinois dog attack, it doesn’t matter if the owner wasn’t negligent, they are held liable if their dog bites.
Animal Control Act in Illinois
The Animal Control Act in Illinois states if a dog attempts to attack, attacks, or injures someone without provocation, resulting in injuries to that person, the owner will be held liable in civil damages for the full amount of the injury. This allows an injured party to bring a claim against the dog owner.
Under Illinois law, even if a dog injures you without biting, you could recover damages.
Dog Bites in Illinois
Illinois deals with dog bites on a frequent basis. Most of the victims of dog bites are children. The most frequently attacked area on a child is their face, which can leave lasting scars and disfigurement.
Not only do dog bites lead to physical injuries but many victims suffer emotional trauma after a dog bite. Fear of all dogs or going outdoors can result in the decline of a person’s quality of life. This can entitle a victim to recover damages for pain and suffering.
Under the “zone of danger” doctrine, if a person is in a zone of physical danger and they fear for their own safety, they may have the right to sue for emotional distress that accompanies their physical injuries.
Keep in mind that in many Illinois dog bites, a lack of restraint or insufficient fencing is often a common cause for unprovoked dog attacks. These can occur on either private or public property.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a dog attack, you may be facing huge medical expenses for your emergency room care, rehabilitation, therapy and plastic surgery. These are all good reasons to contact a Chicago dog bite lawyer and file a personal injury claim.
Contacting a Chicago Dog Bite Lawyer
Dog bite injuries can leave psychological and physical scars. At the Law Offices of Barry G. Doyle, P.C, our Chicago dog bite attorneys will examine all aspects of your dog bite case, determine liability, and aggressively pursue the full amount of compensation due to you for any injuries or loss you may have suffered as a result of your dog bite incident. Contact us today for a free case evaluation – 312-263-1080.