Even a friendly family dog can act out without provocation and can attack an innocent visitor or stranger passing by the home. Aside from being an incredibly frightening experience, dog attacks and dog bites can result in serious injury to the victim. Dog attacks and dog bites may cause horrible pain and disfigurement from scars. Many dog bite victims require initial medical treatment and possibly future corrective surgeries by a plastic surgeon to minimize the scarring.
Strict liability for Illinois dog bite cases
Many jurisdictions have laws that impose essentially strict liability on the owner of a dog who injures another party. The Illinois Animal Control Act requires the owner of a dog to pay for resulting medical expenses, pain and suffering and disability, when the victim establishes the following:
- The defendant was the owner or harborer of the dog.
- The person who was injured was legally permitted to be in the location where the attack occurred.
- The injured person was acting peaceably at the time of the attack or bite.
- There was no provocation of the animal.
Increase in dog bites injuries
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) put together a statistical brief on the increase of dog bite incidences that was released in November 2010. The agency looked at data for dog bite injuries that resulted in emergency room visits and hospital stays in 2008 and compared it to compiled data from 1993-1995. Some of the findings were:
- Between 1993 and 2008, there was an increase of over 86% in hospital stays due to dog bites
- There were 316,200 emergency room visits and approximately 9,500 hospital stays in 2008 for dog bite injuries
- The average cost of a hospital stay for a dog bite injury was $18,200, 50% higher than the average injury-related stay
Insurance claims for dog bite victims
Since the majority of dog bites injuries are from a dog that is owned by a friend or family member, victims may feel uncomfortable asking them to pay for their injuries. However, it is rarely the dog owner that pays for the injuries. Many cases involving dog attacks and bites are covered under the dog owner’s homeowners insurance policy, where a recovery for resulting damages can be obtained from the insurance carrier directly.
Scarring in dog bite cases
Beyond the initial injury inflicted from the dog bite, victims must also live with scarring from the bite. Dog bite scars often involve tearing of not just the skin, but also the underlying fat layer and muscles, which can lead to severe scarring. These scars can leave a victim disfigured, requiring extensive repair and even surgery to reduce the appearance of the scar tissue.
Pursuing a legal claim in a dog bite attack
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can assist victims of dog bite attacks get the compensation they deserve by carefully investigating the situation, obtaining medical records and reports, and usually documenting the extent of the injury with the help of professional photographers and plastic surgeons.
While many of our Illinois dog bite cases actually resolve prior to going to court, our dog bite lawyers aren’t shy about filing lawsuits against negligent dog owners. Our no nonsense approach to dog bite case usually translates to a faster and more meaningful recovery for our clients.
As a dog bite lawyers who have represented many children and adults in dog bite cases we understand the physical and emotional toll that accompanies these situations. To help provide answers to some of these questions, we have created Chicago Dog Bite Injury Lawyers (www.chicagodogbiteinjurylawyers.com). There you will find frank discussion of your legal rights as well as a variety of information that the dog owner’s insurance company doesn’t want you to hear.
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