It is not just pit bulls. Dogs of all breeds and backgrounds can snap on a moment’s notice. Even when you are completely alert and ready, you might not be able to do anything about it. If you are distracted, however, a dog bite can be extraordinarily tragic and even fatal. They can happen anywhere too: at the park while you’re playing football, on the sidewalk while you’re walking to work, or even at work if one of your coworker’s decides to bring his or hers in to the office. Also, dog attacks are not minor things to consider. They can seriously disrupt or alter your life by scarring or disfiguring your body, costing you significant sums of money in medical bills, and even keeping you away from work for large blocs of time as you recover.
The pages below are a compilation of dog bite settlements and verdicts compiled from various Illinois jurisdictions involving different types of dog bite cases. We hope you find this information useful. However, it is important to remember that each case is unique and deserves to be evaluated on it own merits.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has learned these facts after representing a lot of victims of dog bites and accidents in Chicago and across Illinois. After the shock and anger immediately following a dog incident have subsided, your thoughts will rationally turn to putting the pieces of your life back together. At that time, you should contact us so that we can walk you through the ins and outs of the legal system to protect and maximize your recovery. Think of the courts and the justice system merely as a tool by which you can make those responsible for your accidents pay you back for the pain that they have caused you. We can help you do this.
Illinois Dog Bite Law
The first step in analyzing what your dog accident recovery will look like is understanding the law surrounding it. States generally take one of two different approaches in their dog bite laws: negligence and strict liability. With negligence, the plaintiff must show that the owner did not reasonably ensure that his or her dog could not attack others. With strict liability, the plaintiff must merely show that he or she was attacked by someone else’s dog, absent some special circumstances. In Illinois, here are all the points that a plaintiff must prove in order to be successful at trial in their dog bite case:
- The defendant’s dog attacked, or at least tried to attack, the plaintiff;
- The plaintiff was not trespassing when attacked by the dog;
- The dog was not provoked.
For more information, see 510 ILCS 5/16.
From the above, it is clear that all you have to show is 1) a dog attacked you; 2) you were not trespassing; and 3) you did not provoke the dog. Traditionally, many other states have adopted a one-bite rule. This means that the dog’s owner is not liable for the dog’s first attack. The rationale for this was that the owner did not have knowledge of the dog’s dangerous propensities before this attack and should not be held responsible until this characteristic manifests. Illinois does not follow this rule and does require the dog’s owner to have any prior knowledge of the animal’s dangerous character before placing liability on him or her. Therefore, absent trespassing or provocation, dog owners are responsible for all dog bites and attacks of their pets.
Typical Dog Bite Awards
While the law and circumstances of you dog bite accident are very important, we understand that your first and foremost question will often be “How much is my dog bite case worth?” This is a very practical and legitimate concern. Lawsuits are not academic exercises in right and wrong. They are an arduous process to compensate victims for legally recognizable wrongs. With that being said, while every case is different and deserves a careful examination of the relevant facts and laws surrounding the dog bite, here are some statistics to help you start to imagine how much you could recovery in a lawsuit. Of course, you should speak with a qualified attorney to understand how these issues affect your particular circumstances and outlook for recovery.
- The state average for dog attacks is a little under $100,000.
- State median returns for dog attacks ranges roughly between $25,000 and $35,000.
- 79% of all cases recovered under $100,000 and 4% of all cases recovered more than $1,000,000.
- 68% of all cases in Cook County recovered under $100,000 and 11% of all cases in Cook County recovered more than $1,000,000.
Past Illinois Dog Bite Awards
Below we have summarized some cases involving dog bites and attacks to help you begin to answer the question, “How much is my dog bite case worth?” See if you can compare any injuries you have to those identified in the cases. This will help you gather an impression of what kind of recovery has been possible in the past, but that does necessarily mean you cannot gain more in the future.