What Happens If a Pet Bites Someone?

Web Admin - Friday, July 24, 2015

Illinois dog bite lawyer, dog bite liabilityFor many of us, pets are considered another member of the family. While pet owners love their pets, they may end up costing their owners money if they bite another person through personal injury lawsuits. Though dogs and cats are the typical animal involved, Illinois law is applicable to all living creatures, other than human beings, which may be affected by rabies.  

Owner Responsibility

Under Illinois law, an administrator is appointed to attempt to control the spread of rabies and the overpopulation of dogs and cats. The administrator uses sterilization, humane education, rabies vaccines, impoundment, and any other means deemed necessary to accomplish these goals. The administrator is usually a veterinarian licensed by Illinois.

In the event that an animal bites a person, the animal is confined under the observation of a licensed veterinarian for 10 days. Immediately upon confinement, the veterinarian reports the clinical condition of the animal to the administrator. The report contains the owner’s name and address, date of confinement, breed, description, age and sex of the animal, and whether the animal has been spayed or neutered.

At the end of the confinement period, the veterinarian submits a written report to the administrator indicating the final disposition of the animal. If the animal has been inoculated against rabies and the veterinarian deems it satisfactory, the animal may be confined to a house or in any other manner in which it will be prohibited from biting a person for a period of 10 days. At the end of this confinement, the animal is examined by the veterinarian.

An owner who is aware that his or her animal has bitten someone must inform the administrator. It is illegal for the owner to euthanize, sell, give away, or otherwise dispose of the animal until it is released by the administrator.

If an animal, without provocation, attacks, attempts to attack, or injures a person, the owner of such animal is civilly liable to such person for the full amount of the injury proximately caused by the attack or attempted attack. This places owners under strict liability, meaning they can be ordered to pay damages without the victim proving negligence or any fault on the part of the owner; all that needs to be proven is injury caused by the animal.

In certain circumstances, a determination may be made as to whether a dog is considered a dangerous dog. This determination must be proven by a preponderance of evidence. The decision is made after meeting with the owner, gathering medical and veterinary evidence, and interviewing witnesses. A dog is not considered dangerous if the conduct that led to the inquiry was justified. Some examples of justified behavior is when the threatened person was harming the dog or the dog was protecting itself.

A determination that a dog is dangerous is appealable. The owner must file a complaint against the administrator in circuit court within 35 days of receiving the notice of the determination. The determination that a dog is dangerous places more responsibility on the owner, including mandatory spaying or neutering, microchipping, and adult supervision anytime the dog is in public.

Personal Injury Assistance

If you have been bitten by another person’s pet, it is possible that you have a valid claim for personal injury against the owner. For more information, speak with an experienced Illinois personal injury attorney at Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. Our firm proudly represents individuals in areas such as Crystal Lake, Schaumburg, Rolling Meadows, and Arlington Heights.

Ken ApicellaAbout 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.

Recovering in a Hit and Run Accident

Web Admin - Tuesday, April 22, 2014

illinois hit and run lawyerAfter a car accident, people have a variety of duties that the law requires them to fulfill. Among these duties is the requirement that the drivers stop and exchange insurance information. This allows the parties the opportunity to recover from the insurance companies for the damages once fault has been decided. However, some drivers ignore this duty and instead flee the scene of an accident. In fact, these hit and run drivers are responsible for over 1,000 deaths every year, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

This trend of hit and run accidents is a particular problem because victims of these sorts of accidents can find it difficult to receive compensation from the driver who caused their injuries. Yet, such victims are not without recourse. People injured in hit and run accidents may be able to use a variety of resources to discover the identity of the other driver. Further, even if the other driver cannot be identified, the injured person may be able to file a claim with their own insurance company to help handle their medical costs and repairs.

Identifying the Driver

Hit and run accidents can be a chaotic experience, which makes it difficult for the victim to get any identifying information about the fleeing car. However, injured drivers do have some tools at their disposal. Oftentimes, there will be eyewitnesses on the scene who can help provide descriptions of the car or license plate numbers. Additionally, there may be video evidence of the accident from nearby traffic cameras that can help police determine the identity of the fleeing driver. Finally, some hit and run drivers experience remorse for leaving the scene. Drivers who flee the scene out of fear, especially those under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, have been known to turn themselves in to the police at a later date. All of these methods can help tie a person to the accident, and allow victims to receive full and fair compensation for their injuries.

Without an Identified Driver

In the event that the driver who perpetrated the hit and run cannot be identified, injured motorists may still have the ability to file a claim using their own insurance to receive help with their medical and repair bills. Many insurance policies include insurance for collisions with uninsured or underinsured motorists. These policies are mostly intended to come into use when the policyholder gets into an accident with someone without insurance or someone whose insurance will not cover all the damages. However, many of these policies count unidentified drivers as uninsured drivers, so it is possible that they would cover hit and run accidents.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a hit and run accident, contact a Palatine personal injury lawyer. Our team of experienced attorneys serves clients in towns like Deer Park, Inverness, and Des Plaines.

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.

Motorcycle Crashes in Illinois: How to Stay Safe and What to If You Can’t

Web Admin - Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Motorcycle crashes represent a particularly dangerous brand of traffic accident, often with far more serious injuries than a typical car wreck. A report issued by the Illinois Department of Transportation stated that, even though motorcycle accidents made up only 1.6 percent of total crashes in Illinois, the proportion of the total crashes that involved a fatality shoots up to 16.7 percent. With accidents that are so often so dangerous, riders should know what steps they can take to keep safe, as well what they should do in the unfortunate event that they end up involved in a serious accident.

How to Drive Safe

As with all motor vehicles, following the rules of the road, and practicing defensive driving are key to a safe, enjoyable ride. However, Illinois law places restrictions on riders beyond those of a normal car. Illinois law requires:

  • • The use of the bike’s headlights at all times, regardless of weather conditions or light levels;
  • • Motorcyclists to refrain from lane splitting, or driving between two lanes of traffic;
  • • Proper seats and footrests if the motorcycle is carrying a passenger;
  • • Insurance coverage similar to that required of automobiles.

  • Riders can also take further steps to ensure that they stay safe. Helmets, while not required by law in Illinois, can decrease the likelihood or severity of head trauma, a common cause of death in motorcycle accidents. Additionally, regular bike maintenance can decrease incidence of equipment failure mid-ride, which makes getting into an accident less likely.

    What to do After an Accident

    The steps to take after a motorcycle accident very much resemble those taken after a car crash:

    1. 1. Check on everyone involved in the crash to see if anyone needs immediate medical attention.
    2. 2. Call 9-1-1, to inform them of the accident; do this even if no one has been seriously hurt, since you should still report the accident to the police.
    3. 3. Collect as much contact information as you can from the other people involved in the crash, especially a phone number, license plate number, driver’s license number, and insurance information
    4. 4. Document the scene of the accident. If you have a camera or a camera-phone handy, get pictures of the scene, as well as the individual vehicles involved. If you don’t have a camera available, try to take some pictures of the damage to your bike once you get home.
    5. 5. After you have spoken with the police and made your report, contact your insurance company to report the accident. They may ask you for an interview to provide them with the details of the accident. Make sure not to provide this information without first consulting with an attorney.

    If you have recently been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact an experienced Schaumburg personal injury attorney today. Call 847-934-6000 to speak to a member our team today. We serve the northwest suburbs of Chicago including Rolling Meadows, Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, and other nearby communities.

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