Illinois has one of the highest number of dog bite incidents in the country. In 2014, the Insurance Information Institute reported that 872 dog bite claims were made in Illinois—making it the state with the fourth highest number of dog bite claims in the United States. Together, these dog bites cost more $30 million. Individually, the dog bites cost an average of $34,894 and a significant amount of suffering.
As your doctors help you get the personalized medical treatment that you need to recover from your physical injuries, you also need to know about your legal rights so that you can protect them and get the unique financial recovery that you deserve. This page will provide you with a lot of useful information as you begin your recovery, and so too will our FREE dog bite brochure.
Liability for Dog Bite Injuries
The Illinois dog bite statute allows victims to recover from anyone who owns or keeps the animal that caused the injury. This may include the animal’s owner, someone who has the animal in his or her care, or someone who knowingly allows the dog on his or her property.
Dog bite accidents may happen anywhere, but commonly occur at:
- Veterinarian’s offices, daycares, or other businesses. A dog may be leashed or unleashed, and under control of its owner or someone else at the time of the bite or attack.
- Parks. Dog owners commonly bring their pets to parks, but if they chose to do so then they are responsible for the actions of their dogs.
- Other people’s homes. Dog owners are liable for injuries caused by their dogs in their own homes or in other people’s homes.
- Common locations such as sidewalks. Dog owners remain liable for the actions of their pets on sidewalks, streets and other common areas.
If you are bitten or attacked by a dog in any of these places then you may suffer serious injuries.
Types of Injuries That Result From Illinois Dog Bites
Your unique injury will depend on how aggressively the dog bit you, the part of the body the dog bit, your underlying health, and whether the bite caused you to fall or otherwise injure yourself. Some possible injuries you should be aware of after a dog bite include:
- Facial injuries. Facial injuries, which can be disfiguring, are a serious risk of dog bites or attacks. Dogs may be at face level with young children or with adults who are crouching down to pet or play with the animal.
- Infection. Cellulitis, capnocytophaga, pasteurellosis, and other serious infections that require immediate medical attention can result from a dog bite injury.
- Amputations. A dog’s sharp teeth may cut through bone, tendons, and nerves in a way that makes amputation of a finger, hand, arm, toe, foot or leg necessary for survival.
- Scarring. Scarring can occur anywhere on the body, but may be particularly traumatic on an area of the body that is not typically clothed, such as the face.
- Nerve damage. Dogs’ jaws are strong and their teeth are sharp. Accordingly, serious nerve damage can result from a dog bite.
- Death. Death can occur because of blood loss, infection, or other complications following a dog bite or attack.
Additionally, parents should be aware that the victims of dog bites are often children. If you—or your child—have suffered an injury, then it is important to know what to do next.
Take the Necessary Steps to Protect Your Recovery
Before you can recover, you need to know how to protect that recovery. Some tips for protecting your recovery include knowing:
- How insurance works. It is important to consider all potential insurance policies as a source of payment for a dog bite injury. A dog owner’s homeowner’s policy, for example, might cover your injuries.
- How to report the bite or attack. You should promptly report the dog bite or attack to both the dog’s owner and the local authorities.
- What to do after a dog bite. The steps you take right after a dog bite should include getting immediate medical attention, securing the evidence, and learning more about your rights.
- What not to do after a dog bite. Delaying medical treatment, trying to negotiate directly with the dog’s owner, and other mistakes could jeopardize your fair recovery of damages.
Additionally, it is important to know how an Illinois dog bite case works. Specifically, you should know:
- How to collect and protect evidence for your case. Photographs, medical records, and eyewitness accounts of the attack may all be important to recovery. Therefore, you need to know how to collect the evidence and protect it.
- How long you have to file a case. Generally, you have two years to file a personal injury case in Illinois, but the statute of limitations may be shortened or lengthened in certain circumstances.
- If you have the legal authority to file a case. You likely have the authority to bring a lawsuit if you were hurt by the dog. Additionally, you may bring a case on behalf of the person who was hurt if are that person’s parent or legal guardian.
- What happens if your own negligence contributed to the animal bite or attack. If you did not provoke the attack and if you acting peacefully in a place where you had a legal right to be, then you may recover damages for the dog bite or attack.
- What witnesses may be important to your case. Eyewitnesses to the attack and expert witnesses who can testify about your medical condition, the impact of your injury on your life, and your damages could be useful to your recovery.
- How dog bite settlements work. Dog bite settlements must be negotiated. Insurance companies may try to limit your recovery. Thus, it is important to know how to negotiate successfully. Once you agree to a settlement it is binding and will prevent your further legal recovery.
- If you need an attorney. An attorney can remove the day-to-day stress of a dog bite case from your shoulders and make sure that all of your legal rights are protected while you concentrate on your physical recovery.
You should also know how to protect the rights of your child who was hurt by a dog. Your child is counting on you for help getting the damages she deserves.
Fair Damages for You—or Your Child—After an Illinois Dog Bite
If you are able to settle your case or if the court rules in your favor, then you may be able to recover financial compensation for your past, current, and future:
- Medical costs. You have the right to be compensated for all of your medical costs, including surgeries, hospitalizations, medications, doctors’ visits and rehabilitation therapies.
- Lost income. Any income that you were unable to earn while recovering from your injuries or because of a permanent injury may be compensable.
- Pain and suffering. Your pain and suffering is compensable so long as you also suffered physical injuries and your suffering is related to those injuries.
- Other expenses. The Illinois dog bite statute allows dog bite victims to recover for the full amount of the injury they suffered. This might include any out-of-pocket expenses you incurred as a result of your injury.
You are going to have to fight for your fair recovery of these damages, but you don’t have to fight alone. Instead, you have the right to contact us for a free case evaluation and to learn how we can help you through this difficult time. Please call us at 1-800-800-5678 or contact us via this website to learn more.
It can be difficult to apply all of this information to the facts of your case without the help of an experienced attorney. Our Wisconsin car accident lawyers have extensive experience representing people who have been hurt in car crashes in settlement negotiations and at trial, and we have a successful track record. If you would like to schedule a free consultation at one of our conveniently located Wisconsin offices in Milwaukee, Appleton, Green Bay, Madison, or Wausau, then please call us today at 1-800-800-5678 or start a live chat with us now.