Have You Been Seriously Hurt by a Dog Bite or Animal Attack in Illinois? You May Have Grounds to Sue the Owner
With over 160 recognized breeds of dogs in the United States, along with countless numbers of mixed-breed dogs available, dogs are a popular pet throughout the country. Dogs have become known as “man’s best friend,” offering protection, daily service assistance, and companionship to millions of Americans. Unfortunately, dogs and other animals can also become aggressive, no matter how cute and cuddly they may be.
Every year, an estimated 4.7 million dog bites occur in the United States, sending around 800,000 dog bite victims to the hospital to seek medical attention. Nearly one-half of all dog bite victims are children under the age of 12, with those between the ages of five and nine being at greatest risk. If you or someone you love has been seriously hurt by an animal, here are some things you should understand about your rights to recovery under Illinois law.
Illinois Dog Bite Laws
Under Illinois law and the state’s Animal Control Act, the people who own or harbor animals are responsible for all damages suffered by victims of any animal attack. This is true whether a case involves the bite of a dangerous dog or an attack by a less-likely animal, such as a cat. There is no “free bite rule” in Illinois. Animal owners are generally responsible for any injuries their pets cause, unless the animal was provoked.
The Animal Control Act specifically covers harm caused by dogs and other animals. The statute reads, in part:
“If a dog or other animal, without provocation, attacks, attempts to attack, or injures any person who is peaceably conducting himself or herself in any place where he or she may lawfully be, the owner of such dog or other animal is liable in civil damages to such person for the full amount of the injury proximately caused thereby.”
Note that the Illinois dog bite law refers to an animal that “attacks, attempts to attack, or injures” a person. This means that the law gives legal rights to people who were injured by an attack, but not specifically bitten by the animal. For example, it may be possible to seek compensation for a serious head injury that happens because the victim was knocked to the ground in the attack.
Common Injuries Related to Dog Bites
Although many people don’t think about pet bites being serious injuries, the truth is that the long- and short-term consequences of an attack by a pet can be devastating. Injuries can include:
- Bite puncture wounds and lacerations
- Nerve injuries, whether temporary, permanent, partial, or total
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Complications from blood loss
- Rabies and other illnesses
- Fractures, broken bones, and crushing injuries
- Psychological trauma
- Head or brain trauma
- Spinal or “twisting” injuries
Any of these injuries can leave victims saddled with unfathomable physical, emotional, medical, and financial hardships. However, victims should know that they may be have the right to seek financial compensation for what has happened to them.
Possible Compensation for Injuries Resulting From a Dog Bite or Animal Attack
The compensation that the victims of animal attacks are entitled to depends heavily on the details of each unique case. However, with the help of an experienced attorney, victims are generally eligible to recover full, fair, and complete compensation for damages like:
- Past and future medical bills
- Lost income and potential earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Short- or long-term disability
We Are Noted for Our History of Success in Protecting the Rights of Injured Illinois Victims
At Lane & Lane, our law firm has a long history of multimillion-dollar awards and settlements in difficult cases of injury and death. The efforts we’ve made on behalf of our clients have resulted in life-saving changes in hospital and medical procedures, as well as potentially life-saving access to the financial compensation needed by victimized families. Ultimately, although our history of success is important to us, we are focused on the needs of our clients in each and every case and making sure their rights are protected.
If you’re ready to take action and get answers after a dog bite or animal attack, please contact our Chicago-based law firm today at 888-484-9881.