Super Lawyers
Illinois State Bar Association
Justia Lawyer Rating
Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Avvo Rating
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers BBB Business Review

Chicago Dog Bite Lawyer

Did a dog bite you in Cook County, or Chicago, Illinois? If so, Illinois law often allows you to recover financial compensation for your dog bite injuries. The dog owner is likely liable for any harm the dog caused.

When you file a claim or a dog bite lawsuit, you have taken the first step to financial compensation for yourself or a loved one who suffered an animal attack.

Attorneys for Victims of Dog Bite Cases

The Chicago personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC help their clients file a personal injury claim for their dog bite incidents.

While Illinois dog bite laws favor plaintiffs in dog bite cases, you still need to negotiate a settlement with the dog owner's insurance company or prove your case in court.

Our Chicago, Illinois attorneys can help clients maximize their settlements, and we will fight for your legal rights. Call us today at (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation to discuss your options for legal action.

Chicago Dog Bite Lawyer

Statistics About Dog Bites in Illinois and the US

It is estimated that over 12 million dogs reside in Illinois. There are roughly 73 million dogs in the United States, with a growing number of dog owners.

According to the Humane Society, an estimated 6.5 million companion animals enter shelters annually.

  • Statistics show between 4-5 million animal bites every year.
  • Most of these bites are minor, but roughly 20% seek medical attention.
  • Children are the segment of the population that is most vulnerable to dog bites. The average dog bite victim's age is five years old.
  • Half of all dog bite victims are children. Most cases involve an injured victim bitten on the face or neck, resulting in severe injuries.
  • Statistics indicate that dog attacks occur once every 75 seconds in the United States.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), Illinois dog bite cases ranks fifth in the county in the number of claims paid out in 2019.

That year, the data reveals victims filed 854 dog bite claims, with homeowner's insurance company paying out an average of $48,098 per claim for a total insurance payment of $41.1 million.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports approximately 4.5 million dog bites yearly in the United States.

Common Types of Dog Bite Injuries

According to an Australian study of people hospitalized due to dog bites, arms and hands (45%) injuries were most common in adults, and injuries to the face (73%) were the most common in children.

A dog bite victim can suffer serious injuries, including:

  • Puncture wounds
  • Lacerations
  • Scratches
  • Bone fractures
  • Nerve damage
  • Infections

While relatively uncommon, dog bites can be fatal. According to, 431 dog bite fatalities were from 2005 to 2017. Pit bulls are involved in 66% of these deadly domestic animal attacks and rank first in settlement amounts resolving dog bite injury claims.

Factors That Affect Liability

Establishing liability in a personal injury case is not always possible. Many local and individual factors can affect liability.

The pet's owner could retain a criminal dog bite injury lawyer to refute your charges if their dog bit someone. The most widely used defenses are:

  • Dog provocation implies an animal biting you because you provoked or forced it. A human cannot threaten an animal and demand restitution for a bite.
  • Trespassing: A dog bite victim cannot file a personal injury claim if they enter a home or wander onto private property without permission.
  • Assumed risk is among the murky areas in dog bite situations. You assume some risk when dog owners warn of a hazardous dog. Going to a dog park exposes you to the risk of getting bitten.
  • Negligence: Dog owners may be held accountable for injuries caused by their pet if their carelessness or negligence caused the incident. An illustration could be a dog owner who disobeys regional or national leash regulations.
  • State laws can differ regarding liability for aggressive dog bites. For instance, some strict liability rules often do not apply to injuries brought by police or military dogs biting someone.

The number of damages awarded in a dog bite case may be adjusted if it is determined that the injured party hurt in the assault was somewhat to blame for the attack because of provocation or trespassing.

Unsavory pet owners could attempt to claim that their dog is a service animal or all dogs bite when provoked. However, our knowledgeable dog bite attorney will know the defenses pet owners raise and how to counter them.

Compensation You May Receive in a Dog Bite Claim

There is a reason why the value of most dog bite injury claims with severe physical injury is relatively high. When you have been harmed by a dog bite injury or other animal attacks that required you to seek medical attention, you may be entitled to financial compensation for the following in Illinois:

  • Any medical bills or other medical expenses you have paid out-of-pocket. Seek medical attention if you need rabies shots because they result in significant medical expenses for patients, even if they have medical insurance.
  • Serious injuries with scarring and keloids may require reconstructive surgery, which is expensive medical care and could cause you to miss work.
  • Pain and suffering for what you have endured.
  • Emotional trauma can be considered when a Pit Bull, Doberman, or another dangerous breed attack you.
  • Lost earnings if you are forced to miss time from work.
  • Cost of physical rehabilitation.

If a dog or other animal, without provocation, attacks, attempts to attack or injures any person who is peaceably conducting themselves in any place where they may lawfully be, the owner of the such dog or other animal is liable in civil damages to such person for the total amount of the serious injury.

An experienced attorney from our law office can evaluate your claim to determine your case's value.

Filing a Dog Bite Claim Against a Friend, Family Member, or Neighbor

The Humane Society estimates that over 60% of dog attack incidents occur in a familiar place, and 77% of dog bite victims know the animal's owner.

While bringing a injury claim against someone you know can sound awkward and uncomfortable, bringing a lawsuit to recover compensation for your injuries is within your legal rights.

Data shows that when victims know their owner, they find it challenging to prove that the dog was previously aggressive. Unfortunately, the dog owner will often deny that their dog has ever attacked anyone.

While all dogs have the potential to bite, specific breeds have a higher incident rate of attacking, including:

  • Pit bull
  • Rottweiler
  • German Shepherd
  • Husky
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • Chow
  • Great Dane

In Chicago, The One-Bite Rule Does Not Apply

When a dog bites, it is deemed to have entered into a "one-bite" rule in some jurisdictions. If the dog has never previously bitten anyone, its owner will not be liable to pay damages for medical treatment or other costs associated with the bite.

Strict Liability Statute in Dog Attacks

Under a strict liability statute, the owner of a dog that bites someone can be held liable for damages regardless of whether the dog had previously shown any aggression or whether the owner was aware of any dangerous propensities. However, military dogs are exempt from this rule.

Did you sustain a dog injury? You may be able to receive financial compensation with the help of a Chicago dog bite lawyer. Contact an experienced attorney for a free consultation to discuss your personal injuries.

What to Do If a Dog Attacks You

When attacks occur, you should do several things to put yourself in a position to receive compensation if you are an injured person who a dog has bitten.

First, it is difficult to do any documentation at the attack scene because you are bleeding and hurt. You may obtain witness contact information, but you will likely be unable to do much more.

Here are some steps you should take in the wake of a dog bite injury:

  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Getting medical attention will document your physical injury or the potential need for reconstructive surgery as close as possible to when it occurred.
  • Gather information about the dog's veterinary records to understand the prior behavior of the attacking dog if possible, and get the dog owner's contact information.
  • Report your injury to the local authorities (Animal Services and a police report) from the scene or as soon as possible to get a record of the incident and identify the dog's owner.
  • Document the injury, including talking to witnesses to get their recollections. You should also gather all your medical records showing the extent of your injury.
  • Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer for a free case review to discuss your options for legal action. The dog owner may try to trick you into getting you to make admissions that portray the attack as your fault. Our dog bite law firm can help you maximize your settlement.

When Plastic Surgery is Required

Because of serious injuries, many dog-bite victims do not anticipate having plastic surgery. However, the wounds incurred in an animal attack are frequently severe, and most dog bite cases can end up on the surgical table.

Consult a plastic surgeon immediately if you suffer from a bite injury. Doing so will help you in the long run - and assist you in making informed judgments to seek compensation and litigation.

Removing Scarred Tissue

Plastic surgery is often the last resort to remove scarred tissue from a bite injury. Without repair, the victim's skin will thicken, droop, sag, and wrinkle. In addition, not repairing the medical problem could hurt the victim's self-esteem and how strangers perceive them.

Intense scarring could make it challenging to use the damaged area when walking and bending arms, legs, wrists, ankles, fingers, toes, shoulders, and knees. Sometimes, the tissue damage is so profound that it causes chronic pain and arthritis.

Facial Reconstruction

A facial reconstruction specialist often requires plastic surgery to repair various parts of the face. This surgical procedure involves using a synthetic mesh or a skin graft from another body part to restore function. These surgeries are costly and can take months to complete.

The consequences can be devastating when a dog attacks you or a loved one.

Hand Reconstruction

The most challenging area to repair is the hand. Any disfigurement could ruin the victim's career and ability to provide for themselves or their family.

A plastic surgeon will often perform "debridement" to clean and remove dead or dying tissue in the bite wound. The removal of dead tissue could prevent the spread of bacterial infection.

Damage to Muscles and Tendons

After debridement, a hand injury often requires extensive repairs. These surgeries involve using synthetic mesh and cadaver tendons to repair the wound. Unfortunately, a specialist may need to do multiple surgeries to restore function to an injured hand, and these procedures are incredibly costly.

Dealing with The Cost of Surgery

Did a dog attack occur in your yard, not on another owner's property? You may have homeowners insurance coverage to pay for the damage.

Are you considering filing a civil suit against the pet owner to seek compensation for your medical costs and lost wages? If so, in addition to filing a lawsuit against the dog owner, you should also file a claim for compensation with your homeowner's insurance company.

Our Chicago personal injury attorneys could help you use Illinois law to hold the pet's owner accountable for all minor or life-threatening injuries.

Dog Bite Injury Law FAQs

Below are frequently asked questions about dog bites and attacks. Contact our law firm for a free consultation with an experienced dog bite lawyer should you have additional questions about taking legal action.

Who Pays for an Animal Attack Settlement?

Should you be attacked in an area where the owner must keep their dog on a leash, you can make a case that the owner was not adequately controlling their animal.

Illinois leash laws clearly state that when dogs bite people in certain public or private areas, the dog owners are at fault for the victim's injuries.

The dog owner is liable for any injuries their pet causes, including medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. If the owner does not have insurance, you may be able to recover their assets to recover your losses. In addition, the animal control office can take action against the dog's owner.

Can I File a Claim for a Dog Attack if a Dog Did Not Bite Me?

Yes, the Illinois Animal Control Act covers non-bite injuries that may occur in a dog attack.

An example of a compensable dog attack would be if a dog knocks you down to the ground and you suffer a serious injury.

How Long Does a Dog Bite Case Take to Settle?

The length of time it takes to resolve a bite case depends on numerous factors, including:

  • The extent of your injuries and how long it will take to heal
  • How long it will take to understand any future loss, including the need for additional surgery
  • If you suffer a temporary or permanent disability
  • The availability of insurance coverage
  • The willingness of the parties to negotiate a settlement

Generally, dog bite lawsuits will take 6 to 18 months to resolve. However, some dog bite cases may take longer, depending on the facts and circumstances involved.

Is a Dog Bite Settlement Taxable?

It depends on your dog bite settlement and how it is structured. In general, most personal injury settlements are not taxable.

However, some parts of the settlement are taxable. For example, both are taxable if you are paid lost earnings as part of your settlement or receive punitive damages.

Pain and suffering and medical bills from a personal injury case are not subject to federal or state income tax.

How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit for a Dog Bite?

In Illinois, personal injury lawsuits must be filed within two years from the dog attack incident date.

Failure to file a dog bite case within the statute of limitations will forever bar your recovery from holding the animal's owner accountable.

There is an exception to this rule for children, as a minor can generally bring a claim within two years of turning 18, no matter how old they were when the bite occurred.

Talk to a Chicago Dog Bite Lawyer

Those attacked and injured by a dog or other animal might be eligible to recover compensation. The law is generally on your side in making the dog's owner liable for the harm that you have suffered. It helps to have a dog-bite lawyer when negotiating a settlement.

The Chicago dog bite lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC help clients who have been bitten by dogs and need to file personal injury cases in Lake County, Cook County, Chicago, and across Illinois.

Our law firm has many years of experience helping people throughout the State of Illinois recover damages such as property damage, physical therapy costs, and other expenses for their animal attack cases on a contingency fee basis.

Free Case Evaluation

Call our Chicago dog bite attorneys at (888) 424-5757 ( toll-free phone number) or fill out a contact form to schedule your free consultation with an experienced attorney and discuss your legal options for taking legal action.

All confidential or sensitive information you share with your dog bite attorney remains private through an attorney-client relationship.


Personal Injury News & Developments - Dog Bite Attacks
Client Reviews
Jonathan Rosenfeld was professionally objective, timely, and knowledgeable. Also, his advice was extremely effective regarding my case. In addition, Jonathan was understanding and patient pertaining to any of my questions or concerns. I was very happy with the end result and I highly recommend Jonathan Rosenfeld. Michonne Proulx
Extremely impressed with this law firm. They took control of a bad motorcycle crash that left my uncle seriously injured. Without any guarantee of a financial recovery, they went out and hired accident investigators and engineers to help prove how the accident happened. I am grateful that they worked on a contingency fee basis as there was no way we could have paid for these services on our own. Ethan Armstrong
This lawyer really helped me get compensation for my motorcycle accident case. I know there is no way that I could have gotten anywhere near the amount that Mr. Rosenfeld was able to get to settle my case. Thank you. Daniel Kaim
Jonathan helped my family heal and get compensation after our child was suffered a life threatening injury at daycare. He was sympathetic and in constant contact with us letting us know all he knew every step of the way. We were so blessed to find Jonathan! Giulia
Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa