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The dog owner is saying that my own negligence caused me to be bitten by his dog. Does that mean I can’t collect damages in a dog bite lawsuit?

Negligent handling of a dog may reduce your recovery if it attacks

In most cases, when you are acting peacefully and you are in a place where you have a legal right to be, a dog owner will be responsible for paying your damages if you are injured by the dog. However, the dog owner, the dog owner’s insurance company, and the dog owner’s attorney will try to defend against your claim to the extent possible.

One possible defense is contributory negligence. The dog owner may argue that you should not be allowed to collect damages because your own negligence caused you to be bitten by the dog.

How Will This Impact Your Case?

As with any legal claim, the defense will need to evidence. The defense will need to prove:

  • You were the reason, or proximate cause for, the dog bite.
  • The percentage of fault that is attributable to your own negligence. If the defense can persuade the court that you were more than 50% responsible for the dog bite, then you will not be able to recover damages. However, if the defense persuades the court that you were negligent but you were not the primary cause of the bite, then you may be able to recover damages. The amount of damages would be reduced by the percentage of fault that is attributable to you. For example, if the court finds you to be 25% at fault for the dog bite then your damage award would be decreased by 25% because it would be unfair to make the dog owner pay for the part of the dog bite incident you caused.

The exact impact on your case depends on the specific facts of your case. If you have been seriously injured then it is important to talk to an experienced dog bite lawyer as soon as possible to understand how an Illinois dog bite case works and to protect the fair recovery that you deserve. To learn more, please call us directly at 1-800-800-5678 or start a live chat with us via this website.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham