Law Applicable to Dog Bites in Chicago, Illinois
Dog attacks are covered under strict liability laws in Illinois. The law states that if someone is injured by a dog (even if they were not provoked), the dog's owner will be held responsible for paying damages up to $50,000 per victim, including medical bills and lost wages and pain suffering damages.
Are you, or a loved one, the victim of a dog attack and want to hold the reckless dog owner accountable for your damages? At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys are legal advocates for injured victims harmed by others' negligence.
Call a Chicago dog bite lawyer at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for legal advice and schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Illinois Dog Bite Laws: What happens If a Dog Bites Someone in Illinois?
Dog bites are a common occurrence in the United States. It is estimated that there are more than 400,000 dog bite victims per year. In Chicago, Illinois alone, there were over 3,000 reported dog bites in 2017, and of those cases, nearly 450 required immediate medical attention.
While the Illinois dog bite law is straightforward, there can be many legal implications for both the victim and the owner of an animal who has bitten someone. If a biting dog has injured you or if you know an injured person who a dog has bitten, please keep reading to find out what your rights may be according to the law applicable to dog bites in Chicago, Illinois.
The laws concerning liability for common dog bite injuries caused by domestic animals vary depending on state law and where the incident occurred (i.e., on the dog owner's property).
Generally, Illinois courts have held that if a plaintiff is lawfully on private property, then the liability of the owner/occupier for any resulting injuries will depend upon whether or not there had been sufficient notification to permit an inference of knowledge by the landowner.
The "one-bite rule" may apply depending on what the owner/occupier of the property knew. It states that if the dog's owner knew that there had been no previous acts by their animal, which would have put them on notice to expect this type of behavior from the dog, then the one-bite rule will be applied at trial.
The pet owner is not liable if they didn't know the dog was dangerous, even if it occurred.
Chicago, Illinois Dog Bite Laws 510 ILCS 5/16
Illinois enacted its dog bite statute in response to a widely publicized dog attack that killed a small child. The law states that the owner of such a dog or other animal is liable under the dog bite statute. Thus, it is neither a dangerous dog law nor a negligence theory typical in the United States.
It does not matter if the dog has attacked an elderly, middle-aged, or young kid. Strict product liability is a notion recognized in Illinois dog bites cases, which means that instead of just suing the individual dog owner, you can also try to sue a negligent manufacturer or distributor.
In Illinois, the dog bite statute is a strict liability law. That means that even if you were trespassing on the owner's property when this dog bite occurred, the owner might be liable for your injuries.
Please remember that both Illinois and Chicago have leash laws that require dogs to be on leashes while off the owner's property. If an unleashed dog in Chicago has bitten you or a loved one, then you may be entitled to recover damages.
Illinois Dog Bite Laws Applicable to Victim vs. Third-Party Dogs
The law applicable to Illinois dog bites may vary depending on whether or not the dog bite injured the victim or a third party.
For example, it has been held that an owner owes a duty to a third party for injuries caused by an animal that is "highly dangerous and likely to cause injury unless closely confined."
If the dog bit the victim while on another person's property or committed a trespass, that person would be responsible for any resulting injuries.
Illinois Dog Bite Laws Applicable When Victim Provokes or Provoked Dog
If the dog owner was aware of the victim's behavior provoking the animal, then it may be possible to hold that person responsible for any harm done by their animal. The law applicable to Illinois dog bites is usually based on what the owner knew about the potential harm caused by their pet.
If they were reckless or knew they were encouraging the animal to act aggressively, they could be held liable for injuries suffered by another person.
Illinois Dog Bite Laws Applicable to Dog Owners
Under the Illinois Animal Control Act and Chicago municipal code, a dog owner is held strictly liable for injuries caused by their dog. The victim only needs to prove animal ownership and does not need to show any knowledge or intent on behalf of the owner.
To minimize your exposure to liability for a dog bite, the owner should have a leash in their possession at all times and have control over the animal. Dog owners must also adhere to local leash laws and follow state guidelines for rabies vaccines.
In Chicago, a dog owner can be held liable for up to $15,000 in damages even without proof of harm. To receive compensation, the victim would need to show that they did not provoke the dog.
Can They Take My Dog Away for Biting?
In Illinois, the law allows authorities to remove a dog if they feel it poses an immediate threat to people or other livestock.
If the dog has bitten someone, they may be held in quarantine for ten days by Animal Control. If no evidence of rabies is found after that, the animal will be released to its owner.
However, if any sign of injury is caused to another living thing, the dog may be destroyed. In addition, the animal owner will need to pay a fee for keeping it in quarantine and possible veterinary fees.
Can They Take My Dog Away If It Comes Up as a "Biter" on the Computer Database?
Authorities have been given authority under Illinois law to remove or destroy any animal that has bitten another person. Should your dog be listed as a "biting" animal on the computer, then someone could report it to Animal Control, and they would be able to seize the animal without any proof that your pet was involved in a dog bite injury.
Is Your Dog Microchipped? Dog Owner Must Know Dog Bite Laws
In Chicago, a per owner is legally responsible for any damage their potentially dangerous dog does to others and their property.
Dog bites are considered to be property damage. So the owner can be held financially liable even if no harm was done to another person.
To recover compensation, the victim would need to show that they did not provoke the dog and that the owner had the type of dog known to attack without warning.
Having a dog in Chicago microchipped is beneficial to the owner because they must report any change of address within ten days. In addition, it means that if the dog is lost or runs away and gets into a fight, it can be returned to the owner quickly and without incident.
Owners of dangerous dogs in Illinois must also know their legal responsibility for damage done by their animals.
For example, they are liable if they know the dog's propensity to attack people or other animals, which means that if a dog has a history of aggression, the owner may be held responsible for any injuries caused by their animal.
Be Careful When You Turn Your Back on a Furry Friend
Dog owners are required by law to have their pets under control at all times. If the animal acted aggressively, the owner could be negligent even if it did not bite anyone. A dog owner must also keep their pet on a leash in public spaces and know their state's leash laws.
For best results, the owner should maintain close supervision over their animal and ensure they are well trained before letting the dog off-leash. In addition, dog owners may be liable for any injuries caused by their animal, and they must also take reasonable precautions to prevent any incidents from occurring.
If the dog was not spayed or neutered, this is a sign that the owner could have been reckless regarding its propensity to attack or bite other animals and people in Chicago.
A well-trained animal does not usually show signs of aggression when off-leash, but when it comes to pit bulls, a spay or neuter may help to ensure that they do not behave unpredictably around other animals.
What Makes Dogs Aggressive and Dangerous
Some dog breeds are naturally aggressive. However, other contributing factors could make even a docile dog more dangerous or aggressive, including the following:
- Pain or discomfort due to illness. If the dog is sick or in pain, it could lash out at people who approach them too closely, even if they are generally docile.
- Territorial behavior. Some dogs may feel threatened by strangers entering their home, and this can lead to aggression.
- Lack of training or socialization. If a dog has not been properly trained or has spent most of its time in the backyard, it may be aggressive towards other dogs and people who approach them.
- Lack of supervision by the owner. Dogs left tied up outside or in yards may feel insecure and lash out at people walking past.
- They may also bark or bite to protect their property if they are not given enough attention.
- Unpredictable behavior of the owner. If the owner is aggressive or abusive, then the dog could also show signs of aggression. The animal senses that they need to protect their owner and become aggressive when threatened.
It is important to understand an aggressive dog's signs and know what to do if encountered. It is not appropriate to approach or pet a dog that is not in the presence of its owner.
Other signs to watch for include growling, baring teeth, bearing down on a person, and lunging at people or other dogs.
If a dog has these signs, it is best to keep as much distance as possible between yourself and the animal. Never stare at the dog, bend down or run away since this can be viewed as a threat by the animal.
If the dog does bite, then wash the wound with soap and water to prevent infection. It is also important not to muzzle an injured dog because this could be viewed as a threat and prompt the animal to bite.
Pit Bull Owners Must Be Aware of Dog Bite Laws in Chicago
Owners of pit bulls should know that these dogs have been banned from the city at least once before, and this may be due to their propensity for potentially fatal dog attacks. To prevent these incidents, pit bull owners may want to have their animals spayed or neutered.
Police officers are allowed to kill any dog that they believe endangers the public or other animals. However, the owner could be held responsible should the pit bull chase someone or cause them to fall over with its high level of energy.
It means that pit bull owners in Chicago should always keep their dogs on a leash in public places and under close supervision to make sure they do not attack other people or animals.
Any pet owner with a vicious dog should consider the need to obtain liability insurance to protect the family's financial situation and have adequate policy coverage to pay for any minor to life-threatening injuries their animal causes. In addition, non-aggressive and aggressive pets must be licensed within the city limits.
Great Tips for Dog Bite Victims in Chicago
If you are the victim of a dog bite, make sure that you report the incident to the owner of the animal and your local animal control department.
The first step the victim should take is to document all injuries and damage resulting from the incident. Next, if any medical bills, lost wages, or repairs were required, the victim should record those costs and save receipts.
If the animal owner cannot be found, your local authority will know what to do next. If you were not at fault but still wanted compensation for the damage done by a dangerous dog, then you would need to consult a Chicago dog bite lawyer.
Animal attacks are not restricted to people alone. Anyone who owns pets knows that animals are not always friendly with each other. Sometimes, they can get into a fight that becomes physically quickly, and you have to be prepared for that eventuality if you have pets of different species.
Proving Negligence in Dog Bite Claims
When seeking financial compensation, the injured victim must prove that the pet owner or others were negligent, leading to a dog bite incident. The two kinds of negligence in these cases are ordinary negligence and certain liabilities.
Ordinary negligence occurs when a person fails to exercise the caution expected from a reasonable person under the same circumstances. It does not require any specific relationship between the parties involved.
In dog bite cases, it means that if a victim is attacked by a dog who was known to be vicious and the owner of the dog failed to take precautions necessary to protect strangers, then ordinary negligence may apply.
Certain liabilities exist when someone with a higher degree of care or responsibility for protecting others takes charge in a situation where such a higher degree of care is required. A common example is parents who know their children are more likely to get into trouble if not watched carefully.
Ordinary negligence is most likely to apply when the plaintiff was trespassing or committing a crime at the time of the attack. The dog's owner might not be held liable for injuries caused by the animal if the injured party was in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, one can still seek financial damages if it can be established that the dog bite victim was not trespassing or committing a crime at the time of the attack.
Certain liabilities are likely to apply in most cases where victims are lawfully on private property when an animal attacks them.
For example, if you get bitten by a dangerous animal while visiting friends for dinner, your claim is more likely to succeed in court since you were invited to the property. If, on the other hand, you are walking your dog when another animal bites it, then you may not be able to hold the owner responsible for the incident.
Dog Bites and State Laws in Chicago
Illinois state laws require that any dog over three months old be licensed with the Chicago Department of Animal Care and Control. Licenses can be obtained from any participating veterinarian, animal shelter, or the city's animal control department.
To obtain a license, owners must provide proof that their dog has been vaccinated for rabies and distemper with Bordetella, as well as a microchip implanted for identification purposes.
Hiring a Dog Bite Accident Attorney to Resolve your Compensation Case
Were you or a loved one the victim of a dog bite? Are you seeking compensation to recover your financial damages?
Chicago dog bite lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can fight on your behalf to ensure you receive maximum compensation for your injuries. We represent victims throughout Illinois suffering dog bite injuries.
Contact us at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for legal advice and schedule a free consultation. We accept all personal injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency fee basis, meaning no upfront fees are paid if your dog bite case is resolved through a negotiated settlement or jury award.