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Who Is Responsible for a Dog Bite at an Illinois Business or Veterinarian’s Office?

You could be attacked by surprise by a dog in a veterinarian's office

You weren’t worried about your own physical safety when you entered a store, vet’s office or other business.

Until You Were Attacked by a Dog

Now, whatever was on your mind before the bite is quickly overshadowed by pain and fear. After you get emergency medical treatment and realize just how badly you’ve been injured, you might consider filing a lawsuit against the dog owner, but is that the right person to sue?

Maybe…Maybe Not

In 2013, the Appellate Court of Illinois Second District decided an important dog bite case. In Hayes v. Adams, the court held that the Illinois Animal Control Act does not always impose strict liability on a dog owner simply because the dog owner is the legal owner of the dog. In some cases, the vet may be responsible for the attack at the vet’s office.

In the Hayes case, the defendant, Ms. Adams, had left her dog in the custody and control of the veterinarian’s office so that the dog could have surgery. While in the care of the vet’s office, and without Ms. Adams present, the dog got loose and bit a child who was waiting for a school bus nearby. The court upheld the lower court’s summary judgment in favor of the dog owner, Ms. Adams. However, the injured child could have a potential claim against the veterinary office.

If your injury happened in a vet’s office or business with the owner present, then it is possible that you could have a potential claim against the dog’s owner, the person who had custody of the dog, or the owner of the business or property where the dog occurred if such person had knowledge that the dog was there.

How Does This Apply to Your Case?

If you were hurt by a dog anywhere in the state of Illinois, then it is important to consider all of the facts before filing a lawsuit so that you make sure that you name the right defendant(s). If you have any questions about how the law impacts you after a dog bite anywhere in Illinois then please start a live chat with us now. We would be pleased to provide you with a free consultation about your rights.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham