A dog bite is a serious problem that can result in severe physical injuries and mental anguish. Unfortunately, dog bite victims are often left to cope with their injuries independently without proper medical care, financial support, or legal assistance.
They may not know where to turn for help, especially if the animal’s owner has no insurance or resources to pay for the victim’s medical bills, lost wages, and other damages such as pain and suffering.
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our Decatur dog bite lawyers are legal advocates serving dog bite victims in Macon County and Decatur, Illinois.
Call a Decatur, IL personal injury lawyer who has (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice and schedule a free legal consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Dog Bite Statistics
Dog bites are a serious public health problem. Each year, about 4.5 million people in the United States are bitten by dogs – that’s one dog bite every eleven seconds! While many of these injuries are not life-threatening, they can result in extensive medical care and permanent disfigurement.
In addition to physical harm, victims may suffer psychological trauma for years following an attack. For example, some dog bite victims developed post-traumatic stress disorder triggered by numerous factors, including being close to or seeing dogs after healing physical injuries.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), dog bite cases have steadily increased over the past few years. In 2013, 467,000 dog bites resulted in medical attention or restricted activity. Of these incidents, 386,000 involved children.
In 2010, according to The Journal of Pediatric Surgery, dogs were responsible for 5% of all childhood injuries, and 12% of all dog bite fatalities occurred in children.
Although pit bulls and Rottweilers are often singled out as vicious dogs, any dog can bite in an aggressive frame of mind during play or when guarding something, like food or a toy. Some breeds tend to be more aggressive than others due to genetic and environmental factors that make them more likely to attack people.
Illinois Animal Attack Statistics
The CDC’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System All Injury Program (NEISS AIP) shares data on dog bite injuries.
From 2004 to 2013, about 15% of all dog bites occurred in children between five and nine years old. Another 12% occurred in those between 10 and 19 years. The average age for dog bite victims is seven years old.
The rate of dog attacks was highest among children ages five to nine years, with an average of 19.5 incidents each year in Illinois over the past decade; this accounts for about 32% of all cases reported within these age groups.
Meanwhile, the most frequent victims were 25–34-year-olds, accounting for about 28% of all cases. In most dog bite cases in Illinois, animal bites resulted in some injury with a diagnosis including:
- Contusions/abrasions – 39%
- Lacerations – 24%
- Abrasions – 18%
- Fractures – 16%
- Puncture wounds – 2%
- Male victims of dog bites (61%) tend to outnumber female ones (39%)
Three-quarters of all reported cases resulted in injuries to the upper body, with head and neck injuries accounting for 28%. Only six percent of cases involved bites to the lower extremities.
When it comes to breeds, there is no single breed responsible for more animal attacks than others. Over the decade, four of the most reported dangerous dog breeds were:
- German shepherds (20%)
- Pit bulls (18%)
- Rottweilers (10%)
- Mixed-breed dogs (19%)
During that time in Illinois, no fatalities were reported concerning dog bites. During the same period, dogs that bite children tend to be male (70%), unneutered (65%), and most likely between the ages of one-and-a-half and three years old (36%).
Illinois Dog Bite Laws & Statutes
In the event of a severe dog bite injury or fatality, victims have the right to take legal action against their dog’s owner. In addition, victims may use “common law” evidence to file personal injury cases in Illinois, even though no specific Illinois state statute mandates owners to keep dogs from biting people.
Civil Code Section 15 – (510 ILCS 5/15) Deals With Dog Bites
This law states that the dog owner who, either through negligence or by a criminal act, permits his dog to bite anyone shall be liable for civil damages for such injury.
The Illinois state code also allows authorities to investigate and report on dangerous dogs within their jurisdiction. Municipalities can also pass ordinances to regulate certain aspects of dog ownership, like spaying and neutering, rabies vaccinations, and more.
Illinois Dog Bite Statistics by City (2003-2013)
Since 2003, Decatur has reported an average of two dog bites yearly. In 2010, there were three reported cases with one fatality.
- In 2011, there were no reported dog bites within the city limits.
- The only other Illinois city with a higher average number of reported cases was Peoria which had an average of 10 incidents per year over the past decade.
- The included information is based on all dog bite cases reported to local authorities in Illinois from 2003-2013.
Local Leash Laws
In Decatur, Illinois, dog owners must keep their pets on a leash in public places. If the dog bites someone, it violates the lease agreement and can result in fines or contract termination.
The city ordinance states that dogs are not allowed to be unattended or “loose in any street, alley, parkway or place open to the public including all sidewalks.”
The language of this ordinance does not make a distinction between owners who keep their dogs tethered outside of businesses or homes. Instead, it applies whether the dog is kept on a chain, rope, or leash.
The city ordinance also says that owners must always keep their dogs under control, even on the owner’s property. The law states that dogs may not run loose and must be confined to the dog owner’s property by “humanely” enclosing them via a fence, kennel, or similar enclosure.
Unprovoked Dog Attacks
Unprovoked animal attacks are considered a violation of the city’s ordinance. In addition, owners who keep their dogs on tether have less control over their pets than those that allow them the freedom of movement throughout their home or yard.
Keeping an animal confined is not always practical, so owners must understand the risks of tethering an animal.
In many animal injury cases, it’s not a question of if a dog will bite another person but the extent of severe injuries. In Illinois and most other states, keeping a dangerous or “vicious” animal on a leash in public areas is illegal. Dog owners must protect others from their pets.
Insurance Companies and Fair Compensation
Pet owners must maintain insurance coverage for their animal’s injuries by law. It applies to dog owners who are negligent, criminal, or otherwise at fault for an attack.
When pet owners cannot pay needed medical expenses, victims can work with their insurance company or file a lawsuit against the owners’ assets.
In Decatur, Illinois, it is a misdemeanor if a negligent owner fails to exercise “ordinary care” in ensuring their dog doesn’t injure others. However, owners can avoid criminal charges if a dog does not have a history of biting or attacking people by taking extra precautions to ensure the community’s safety.
Ordinary care usually involves owners ensuring their pets are well socialized, not hungry or unhealthy, and contained within the owner’s home.
The city of Decatur does not specify how owners should contain their pets, but they state that dogs cannot be at large in areas where the public can access them. If an owner’s dog bites another person while roaming free, animal control can impound the animal and place it in quarantine.
Ordinary care is also expected of owners who train their pets to attack another person. For example, if a dog owner sends their pet out to forcibly bite someone, they violate state laws against domestic violence.
The city ordinance specifies that “a dangerous dog has bitten or attempted to bite a person without provocation.” This ordinance makes an important distinction. It explains that a dog or other animal cannot simply be labeled as “dangerous” because they do not like strangers unless an attack happens.
Some pet owners keep their animals tethered outside or in public areas so people can feed and play with them. If the animal bites someone, it is often viewed as an accident rather than a vicious attack or lack of socialization.
Contact a Decatur dog bite attorney for a free consultation today if you need help filing a dog bite claim against your local municipality due to an animal attack.
Local Attorneys Near Me
Call our office today for a dog bite case review and free case evaluation if a pet has attacked you or a loved one in the Decatur area. Our team of experienced attorneys can help you file dog bite claims with negligent pet owners to ensure compensation for any needed medical treatment and other financial losses.
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Decatur Dog Bite Lawyers and Law Firms
The injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC offer legal representation to dog attack victims throughout Macon County and Decatur. Our dog bite attorneys are committed to excellence in litigation and standing up for the rights of those who suffered due to another person’s negligence or intentional misconduct.
The Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC is a Chicago dog bite lawyer that provides legal representation to clients in many Illinois counties, including Cook County. Call (888) 424-5757 or use the contact form to schedule a free case review.
Dog Bite Injury Claims Against the Dog Owner
A Decatur personal injury attorney at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC will thoroughly review the details of your case to determine the validity of the dog owner’s liability for your dog bite injuries.
If negligence can be established, we will file a lawsuit against the pet owner on your behalf to seek compensation for medical bills, wage loss, emotional distress, or pain and suffering caused by the attack.
The state statute of limitations limits the time you must file a claim, so you mustn’t delay seeking legal help. In addition, every dog bite case has its own variables considered when building your claim. Still, many common elements are included in most Decatur dog bite lawsuits.
Negotiated Millions on Behalf of Our Clients
Families in Macon County, Illinois, have collected millions from insurance settlements and jury verdicts for dog bite injuries. But, unfortunately, most claims don’t go before a jury, as most plaintiffs opt to settle rather than run the risk of a defendant’s passionate lawyer running a trial.
After a dog attack occurs, you must take your time to carefully record all details about the incident and seek immediate medical attention to treat injuries. Injury victims are legally entitled to pursue compensation only if they can prove that the dog’s actions were predictable based on its potentially dangerous propensities, which is why it’s vital to be proactive during this time.
Attack children face significant long-term consequences of these incidents, including years of therapy and psychological help. In addition, in some dog attack cases, the results of a dog bite wound can be extremely severe and permanently disfigure the victim.
The Dog Owner and Premises Liability
If the dog chased a child and attacked or bit the child without provocation, the victim or their family can seek compensation. The owner is responsible for any injuries caused by their dog, even if the animal bit the child or acted in self-defense.
This type of incident can result in various types of compensation, depending on the specific circumstances of your accident and how it has impacted you physically, emotionally, and financially.
If the attack occurred on the dog owner’s property and the victim sustained injuries, the pet owner could be liable for damages under Illinois law.
If the victim died, their surviving family members have legal options and a valid claim to recover compensation through the defendant’s insurance company.
Hire a Decatur Dog Bite Lawyer to Resolve a Dog Attack Compensation Case
Call (888) 424-5757 today for your free consultation with an experienced Decatur dog bite lawyer, or use our online contact form to set up your initial case review. All inquiries are held strictly confidential, and all information is filed following state and federal laws.
So let our personal injury lawyers fight for you today to help ensure your rights and best interests are protected.
Our law offices could provide vital legal guidance if you or a loved one were a dog attack victim. A Decatur dog bite attorney from Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC will investigate the incident to determine if the animal’s owner was responsible for the attack.
Your Decatur dog bite attorney will gather evidence, interview any witnesses, and help you establish liability. If negligence can be proven on behalf of the dog’s owner, it is possible to recover financial compensation for medical bills, pain & suffering, lost wages, or other related damages.
We accept all injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay no upfront fees until your case is resolved through a jury trial or negotiated settlement.