Animal attacks and dog bites can cause devastating injuries in a matter of moments. Most victims neverexpect to be injured by an animal they see as a friend. Dog bite injuries account for the majority of animal attack claims and lawsuits. In addition to dogs, animal attacks injuries and claims may involve other types of wild or domesticated animals. If an animal bites or attacks another person in Chicago and Illinois, the animal’s owner may be liable for the resulting injury and damages. If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite or animal attack, you must take action to protect your rights under the law.
Dog bite and animal attack victims can suffer severe physical injuries and emotional damages. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 4.7 million people sustained a dog bite, and approximately 800,000 dog bite victims seek medical care for their injuries a year. Young children between the ages of 5 and 9 are the most common victims of dog bite injuries.
States typically use one of two legal theories to handle dog bite or animal attack cases. These theories are known as “negligence” and “strict liability.”
In certain states, the dog bite or animal attack victim may receive compensation if they can establish that their injuries were caused by that the owner’s negligence. This theory of recovery is commonly referred to as the “one bite rule.” Under the “one bite rule,” a dog bite or animal attack victim must prove that:
In Illinois, dog bite and animal attack liability is absolute, which means that Illinois does not follow the “one bite rule.” In Illinois and Chicago, dog bite and animal attack injury claims are addressed under the theory of “strict liability.” Under the strict liability theory, even if negligence on the owner’s part is never established, the animal or dog owner is responsible for any injuries their dog or animal inflicts on the victim. In other words, if a person is bitten or injured while they are in a public place or lawfully on private property, including the offending dog or animal owner’s property, the owner is liable for the damages suffered by the person bitten or injured, regardless of the dog or animal’s history of vicious behavior or the owner’s knowledge of its viciousness.
Illinois law contains a specific statute that covers dog bite and animal attack injuries. Under 510 ILCS 5/16, an injured person must show that:
In Illinois law, liability can attach to either the actual owner of the dog or animal; or the person that was actually in control of the dog or animal at the time of the attack.
In Illinois, dog owners and owners of other animals cannot escape liability by arguing that they had no warning of the animal’s aggressive or injury-causing tendencies. However, in Illinois, dog owners and owners of other animals generally have two defenses to a dog bite or animal attack claim:
The statute of limitations refers to the law that sets the amount of time an injured person has to file a lawsuit in court after an injury occurs. Generally, in Illinois, the statute of limitations for dog bites and animal attacks gives an injured person two years from the date of the bite or attack to file a lawsuit.
While dogs and other animals are seen as a member of the family, they can also be dangerous. Even small dogs or animals can cause severe injuries because of their sharp teeth. In the event that a large dog or animal attacks you or a loved one, the injuries suffered can be catastrophic.
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the most common injuries for dog bite victims were:
If you or a loved one has been bitten or attacked by a dog or other animal, you should take the following steps to protect your health and legal rights:
At Kasan Law, we take all personal injury cases on a contingency basis, which means you will not pay any legal fees unless we get you compensation for your case. Our consultations are free and carry no obligations.
As with any personal injury case, you must act quickly to protect your legal rights. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a dog bite or animal attack, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.
Contact our Chicago and Illinois dog bite and animal attack attorneys to schedule your free consultation by calling (312) 300-6724, e-mailing us at [email protected], or schedule your consultation online.