Dog Bites Are Common In Chicago, Illinois, Chicago Dog Bite Lawyers Can Help
An estimated 4.7 million Americans are bitten by a dog every year and of those bitten, as many as 800,000 people annually require medical treatment for the bites, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
If you have suffered an injury as a result of a dog attack, you may be able to receive compensation for the costs associated with those injuries and any suffering that you incurred by filing a dog bite case. At TorHoerman Law, our experienced Chicago injury lawyers can help you with a Chicago dog bite lawsuit.
What is a Dog Bite Lawsuit?
If a person is bitten by a dog, there could potentially be a dog bite lawsuit claim. While each situation is different, more than likely, if medical treatment was required or the attack caused significant harm, physical or mentally, the individual has grounds to file a lawsuit.
There is a specific statute in Illinois law that defines the qualifications to prove a dog or other animal owner is liable for a bite.
In order to qualify, the injured party must show that:
- The dog or other animal attacked, attempted to attack, or injured the person.
- The person had a lawful right to be in the place he or she was when attacked or injured.
- The dog or other animal was not provoked.
How Can I Prove Liability?
In Illinois, strict liability laws define all animal attack incidents. Strict liability means that the owner of the animal cannot make the argument that he or she had no warning of the animal’s aggressive nature or likelihood of attacking another person or animal.
If the animal attacked another person or animal and was unprovoked, the owner is liable for the injuries sustained from the attack because technically, the dog is the owner’s property.
Under State of Illinois law, a dog bite victim is eligible for compensation under the doctrines of negligence, negligence per se, scienter, and intentional tort.
There is a special Illinois state statute regarding dog bites referred to as the “Animal Control Act”. This statute makes the owner liable for any injuries to others, without negligence on the part of the defendant. The statute defines these owners as, “any person having a right of property in an animal, or who keeps or harbors an animal, or who has it in his care, or acts as its custodian, or who knowingly permits a dog to remain on any premises occupied by him or her”.
The statute further explains the context of a situation in which a dog’s owner can be held liable, stating,
“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.”
Trespassers who are bitten by an animal within the boundaries of another person’s private property will likely not have a strong claim against the owner. Individuals acting to provoke an animal is also not protected under the clause of plaintiff negligence and will likely not have a strong claim against the owner.
If the defendant acts with negligence, that is the defendant breaches a duty that he or she holds and that breach of duty results in another person’s injury, the defendant can be held liable for the injury.
Under the protection of negligence per se, the defendant is expected to follow any local laws and regulations regarding the animal’s care. If the defendant breaches any expected duty under local regulations, the defendant can be held liable for the injury.
Example: A local statute requires dogs to be on a leash at all times while in public. However, a dog owner at the park allows his dog off the leash. The dog, who is usually friendly, is engaged by a young boy who provokes the dog. The dog bites the boy, who was obviously continually provoking the animal. The owner could claim that the boy’s provocative actions resulted in the bite. But because the owner had the dog off leash, he was not following local statutes and can, therefore, be held liable.
Our dog bite attorney Chicago can assist with a dog bite injury case and answer any questions you may have throughout the process.
Common Injuries From Dog Attacks
A serious bite is no joking matter, especially considering the sheer power a dog can have when biting someone. 20% of those who are bitten by dogs require medical attention, according to the CDC. Typically, the most common victims are children. Common injuries are:
- Puncture wounds
- Scratches, bruising, or cuts
- Tearing of the muscles
- Amputations, in rare cases
- Head or skull injuries
The public information website, DogsBite.org, reports that the most severe of dog bite attacks can require “$250,000 to $1 million in specialized medical care treatment.” Reconstructive surgery is also often a requirement to fix the lasting damage from the attack.
Why Should I Contact a Dog Bite Attorney Chicago?
At TorHoerman Law, our primary concern is our clients. We want to make sure that you receive the help you need for any injuries you sustain from a dog bite. You can trust a dog bite attorney Chicago will help guide you through the lawsuit process.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, insurance companies paid $317.2 million for dog bite liability claims in 2005 alone. The lawyers at TorHoerman Law can help you receive compensation for your injuries. By filing a dog bite lawsuit, you could receive compensation for the damages you suffered, such as, but not limited to:
- Medical treatment and corresponding medical bills
- Plastic surgery to fix residual scarring
- Physical therapy, if needed
- Wages lost while off work to recover
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
To learn more about a dog bite lawsuit, contact a TorHoerman Law Firm injury attorney for a free consultation. We are here to help you through a difficult situation.
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