Recovering Compensation for Dog Bite Injuries

Web Admin - Thursday, August 23, 2018
Schaumburg dog bite injury lawyerPets 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.

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.


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.

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