Chicago Dog Bite Lawyer
Did a dog bite you in Chicago, Illinois? If so, the law often allows you to recover financial compensation for your injuries. However, there is a good chance that the dog owner will be liable for any harm that their dog caused.
When you file a claim or a dog bite lawsuit, you have taken the first step to financial compensation for you or a loved one who has been attacked by a dog.
Attorneys for Victims of Dog Bite Cases
The Chicago personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC help their clients with the process of filing a personal injury claim for their bite injuries.
While the law favors plaintiffs in dog bite accidents, you still need to negotiate a settlement with the dog owner's insurance company or prove your case in court.
It is where we can assist you. Our law firm can help clients maximize their settlements, and we will fight for your legal rights. Call us today for a free consultation to discuss your options for legal action.
Statistics About Dog Bites in Illinois and the U.S.
Data estimates that over 12 million dogs reside in Illinois. Overall, there are roughly 73 million dogs in the United States, growing pet ownership.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, an estimated 6.5 million companion animals enter shelters nationwide every year.
- Statistics show between 4-5 million dog bites every year
- Most of these bites are minor, but roughly 20% seek medical attention
- The segment of the population that is most vulnerable to dog bites is children
- Half of all dog bite victims are children. Most of them are bitten in the face or neck, resulting in serious injury
- Statistics indicate that at least one dog bite occurs every 75 seconds in the United States
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), Illinois ranks fifth in the county in the number of dog bite claims paid out in 2019.
In 2019, III data reveals victims filed 854 dog bite injury claims, with homeowner's insurance companies 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 each year in the United States.
Common Types of Dog Bite Injuries
According to an Australian study of people hospitalized due to dog bites, injuries to the arms and hands (45%) were most common in adults, and injuries to the face (73%) were the most common in children.
Many of these serious injuries involve:
While relatively uncommon, dog bites can be fatal. According to DogsBite.org, there were 431 dog bite fatalities from 2005 to 2017. Pit bulls are involved in 66% of these deadly dog attacks.
What You Need to Prove to Win a Chicago, IL Dog Bite Personal Injury Claim
You need to prove four things to be eligible for compensation for a dog bite claim:
- The defendant’s dog attacked you
- You suffered a severe injury caused by the defendant’s dog
- You did not provoke the dog
- You were not somewhere where you did not have a legal right to be
To prove negligence in dog bites or animal attacks, you will have to show that the owner or keeper of the dog knew or should have known about the dog's dangerous propensities yet failed to take reasonable steps to control the dog or protect others from it.
Irresponsible dog owners should be held responsible when their dogs bite someone.
Our dog bite attorneys can hold dog owners liable for injuries their dog causes, whether the dog was on a leash or not. Call and speak today with a Chicago dog bite attorney if a dog bit you.
Dog Bite Settlements and Verdicts
The amount of money that dog bite victims can expect to recover will depend on your serious injury and other damages. Most dog bite injury cases in Illinois settle during negotiations with insurance companies.
Each personal injury lawyer in our office is committed to securing the best recovery for each dog bite case via negotiation or litigation.
Below are some dog bite claims our office has been involved with:
- $275,000: Recovery for two children bitten on the face and neck by a babysitter's Doberman. The serious injuries required emergency medical attention included in the injury claim
- $185,000: Settlement for a boy bitten on the leg by a neighbor's pit bull requiring surgery at a Chicago, IL hospital
- $200,000: Non-bite dog attack knocked an older adult down a flight of stairs at an apartment building when a neighbor's dog lunged at her
- $90,000: Settlement for a delivery driver who suffered nerve damage to his hand.
- $135,000: Out-of-court settlement for a 15-year-old dog bite victim with a facial scar and emotional distress when a neighbor's dog attacked her
- $1.2 million: Recovery for an 83-year-old woman who was mauled by two pit bulls that pulled her off of her walker
- $235,000: A negotiated settlement involved a 79-year-old with Alzheimer's disease and dementia for injuries sustained when her neighbor's pit bull attacked her
If you have questions about a potential claim, we encourage you to talk with an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney for a free case evaluation.
Compensation You May Receive in a Dog Bite Claim
There is a reason why these claims are 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. It is essential if you need rabies shots because they result in large 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 dangerous dog breeds attack you. But, as you saw above, if your child was attacked, you may even be eligible for compensation for emotional pain if you had to watch the attack on a family member
- Lost earnings if you are forced to miss time from work
- Cost of physical rehabilitation
Did a dog attack you? If so, our Chicago dog bite lawyers at our firm can help you recover the compensation you deserve. We have recovered over $250 million for our clients, and we are ready to put our experience to work for you.
Claims 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 dog bite injury claim against someone you know can sound awkward and uncomfortable, bringing a claim to recover compensation for your injuries is within your legal rights.
Data shows that often when dog bite victims know their owner, they find it challenging to prove that the dog was aggressive previously. Unfortunately, this means that the dog owner will often deny that their dog has ever attacked anyone.
They may even insist that the dog bite victim must have done something to cause their injury (such as provoking or agitating the animal). Often, such excuses are used in an attempt to avoid paying.
In addition, if there was a prior incident, the victim can show that the dangerous dog was not properly restrained.
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 get dog bite compensation with the help of a Chicago dog bite lawyer. Contact us for a free initial consultation.
What to Do If A Dog Attacks You
When dog 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 be able to get witness contact information, but you will likely not be able to do much more.
Here are some steps you should take in the wake of a dog bite injury:
- The first thing you should do is seek medical attention as soon as possible. Getting medical attention will document your 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
- You should report your injury to the local authorities (Animal Control and a police report) from the scene or as soon as you can to get a record of the incident and the dog's owner
- As soon as possible, begin to document the injury, including talking to witnesses to get their recollections. You should also gather all of your medical records that show the extent of your injury
- Contact an experienced lawyer for a free case review to discuss your options for legal action. The dog owner may even 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 their injuries, many dog bite victims do not anticipate having plastic surgery in the future. However, the wounds incurred in an animal attack are frequently severe.
Consult a plastic surgeon immediately if you suffer from a dog 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 restoring scarred tissue from a dog 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, bending, bending arms, legs, wrists, ankles, fingers, toes, shoulders, and knees. Sometimes, the tissue damage is so profound that it causes chronic pain and arthritis.
In addition, plastic surgery is often required to repair various parts of the face by a specialist who practices facial reconstruction. This surgical procedure involves using a synthetic mesh or an actual skin graft from another part of the body to restore function. These surgeries are costly and can take months to complete.
When a dog attacks you or a loved one, the consequences can be devastating.
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 dog bite wound. The removal of dead tissue could prevent the spread of bacterial infection.
Damage to Muscles and Tendons
After debridement, a hand specialist often requires extensive repairs. These surgeries involve using synthetic mesh and cadaver tendons to repair the wound. Unfortunately, a specialist could take 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 and not on another owner's property? If so, you may have homeowners insurance coverage that will pay for the property damage.
Are you thinking about filing a personal injury civil suit against the pet owner to seek compensation to cover 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 use the law to hold the dog's owner accountable for all minor or life-threatening injuries.
Dog Bite Injury Law FAQs
Below are some frequently asked questions about dog attacks in Chicago. Contact our law firm for a free consultation with our dog bite lawyers should you have additional questions about taking legal action.
Who Pays for a Dog Bite 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 go after their assets to recover your losses. In addition, the animal control office can take action against the dog's owner to have it destroyed.
Can I File a Claim for 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 dog 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 received 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 Chicago, IL Dog Bite?
In Illinois, personal injury lawsuits must be filed within two years from the dog bite incident date.
Your failure to file a personal injury 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 from turning 18.
What Are the Most Common Types of Dog Breeds Involved in Dog Bite Injuries?
According to Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, the most common breeds to cause injuries include:
- Mixed breed
- German shepherd
- Rhodesian ridgeback
- Saint Bernard
- Australian cattle dog
- Doberman pinscher
- Labrador retriever
Talk to Chicago Dog Bite Lawyers Today
Those attacked and injured by a dog might be eligible for financial 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 on your side when negotiating a settlement.
The dog bite attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC help clients who have been bitten by dogs and need to file personal injury cases in the Chicago area and across Illinois.
Our law firm has many years of experience helping people throughout the State of Illinois recover damages such as property damage for their animal attack cases on a contingency fee basis.
Call a Chicago dog bite attorney today at our toll-free number or fill out a contact form to schedule your free consultation with a dog bite attorney and discuss your legal options about taking legal action.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.