Pets are an important part of many people’s lives, and dogs, cats, and other animals are often considered to be full-fledged members of their families. However, as much as we love and bond with our pets, it is important to remember that they are animals, and situations can arise when they harm someone. Dog bites
are unfortunately common, and those who are injured in these and other types of animal attacks should understand how Illinois law applies to their situation as they determine how to recover compensation for the harm they have suffered.
Liability and Compensation for Dog Bites in Illinois
The Illinois Animal Control Act states that when a dog or other animal bites or attacks someone, the animal’s owner is liable for the damages that were caused. Unlike some states, Illinois uses a “strict liability” standard when it comes to dog bites, meaning that an owner is liable for the injuries caused by their dog, regardless of whether they were aware that the dog was dangerous or had aggressive tendencies.
There are two exceptions to this liability standard. A dog’s owner may be free from liability if:
A person was injured after provoking the dog.
A person was trespassing or was not legally allowed to be in the location where the attack occurred.
Types of Dog Bite Damages
Those injured by dog bites should understand the extent of the damages they may be able to recover. These include:
Medical bills - Dog bites can result in a wide variety of serious injuries, including lacerations, broken bones, puncture wounds, injuries to the eyes or face, or severe scarring and disfigurement. An injured party should be able to recover the full costs of medical care, including any ongoing rehabilitation.
Lost income - If a person was unable to work while recovering from their injuries, or if the injury resulted in disability
that affected their ability to earn an income, they may be able to recover these losses.
Pain and suffering - An injured person and their family may experience a great deal of physical and emotional pain as they make their recovery, and financial compensation can help them overcome these difficulties.
Property damage - If an animal attack resulted in torn clothing or damage to jewelry or other belongings, the victim should be compensated for these losses.
Due to the strict liability standard, Illinois has one of the highest rates of animal attack claims in the United States, second only to California. State Farm reported that it paid more than $14 million in dog bite claims in 2016, with an average of $43,000 per claim.
Contact an Arlington Heights Dog Bite Injury Attorney
If you have been the victim of a dog bite or other animal attack, you should work with an attorney to determine your best options for pursuing the financial compensation that will help you recover from your injuries. At Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, our Crystal Lake personal injury attorneys
will help you recover the full and fair compensation that you deserve. Contact us at 847-934-6000 to schedule a consultation.
About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.