Illinois Dog Bite FAQ's
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represents people with dog bite injuries suffered in animal attacks and other types of professional negligence. Our law firm has collected a series of dog bite accident FAQs related to the medical and legal aspects of an accident involving animal attacks. Should you have additional questions, we invite you to contact our office for a free review of your legal rights.
Dog bites are a genuine problem in the United States. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), more than 4.5 million individuals suffer serious dog attacks every year in America. More than half of all dog bite victims are children who are significantly more susceptible to severe wounds caused by an attacking dog.
The animal attack attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers have compiled a comprehensive list of the most frequently asked questions involving dog bites and provided answers below. If the information below fails to answer your questions, do not hesitate to contact our offices at (888) 424-5757 to discuss your situation.
How Does the Law Determine That my Dog Actually Bit Someone?
A dog bite is defined when the animal closes its mouth around any part of an individual's body. To claim you have been bitten,your skin need not be broken nor leave any puncture wound, scrape, laceration or scar. Severe bites typically break the skin and produce crushing injuries that affect the muscles and nerves.
Am I Liable if my Dog's Bite Caused an Injury?
By law, the injured victim has the legal right to seek financial remedy by filing a lawsuit or compensation claim. If the dog bites a minor child, the parents have the right to file a lawsuit on behalf of their child. The lawsuit or compensation claim is filed against the dog's owner or the individual in control of the animal when the bite occurred.
Does my Insurance Company Cover the Biting Actions of my Dog?
Typically, your homeowner's insurance policy will provide coverage for any bite or attack by your pet. However, it is important to talk with your insurance carrier to discuss coverage included in your policy.
Does the Law Protect my Family if I'm Attacked by any Animal?
Even if there is no specific statute for seeking protection against an animal attack, you can always file a civil action through a wrongful death lawsuit or personal injury case. The lawsuit or claim you file is against the individual in control or ownership of the dangerous animal.
I was Bitten by my Neighbor's Dog on my Property. Can I File a Legal Claim?
Typically, these cases are built on circumstances. To successfully resolve your case, you or your attorney will likely need to determine whether strict liability is involved in your case against the dog's owner. If so, you will be required to prove that your injuries occurred as the direct result of the dog's actions.
What is Strict Liability?
By law, strict liability in a dog attack case means that the dog's owner will be held responsible if the dog is at fault for an injury. This law applies whether the owner their dog presented a danger or not.
A Stray Dog Bit me. Can I Still File Legal Action to Receive Compensation?
Probably. Usually, your city, town, and county are not legally responsible for controlling the actions of stray dogs. That said, if the dog escaped the local pound or if you can identify the dog's owner, you can file a claim to recover financial damages against the negligent party.
Can I File a Claim if a Property Owner's Dog Bit me While Working on the Premises?
In many cases, if you are invited onto the property to perform work or visit the household and were bitten by a dog, you can file a claim for compensation. The owner might be legally responsible if they failed to take reasonable efforts to protect your safety. In many cases, you might successfully resolve your case if you can prove the owner failed to warn you of the dog's presence or failed to keep their pet at a safe distance away from you. Additionally, worker's compensation benefits might be available through your employer if you were injured on someone's property while you were on the job.
What Happens to the Dog After a Biting Attack?
While the public often believes that the dog will be put down after biting an innocent victim, the truth is a bit different. The judge will determine what to do with the dog based on state law. Typically, owners of dogs that have bitten innocent victims are required to report the attack to specific state agencies that might include the local police department and Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement. Usually, the dog's name and address are added to a potentially dangerous dog or dangerous dog list managed by state and county agencies. If the dog is ever sold or given away, the dog's owner must provide contact information that identifies the new owner and their location.
Does a posted “Beware of Dog” sign offset the dog owner's liability?
Possibly. Posting a “Beware of Dog” sign is meant to inform any outside visitor (whether invited or not) and alert everyone that a dog is present. If the dog attack occurred, liability would be determined by various extenuating circumstances and factors according to law. Usually, the dog owner is protected from a lawsuit if the individual bitten by the dog was entering the enclosed area while trespassing.
Can I File a Claim if a Police Dog Bit me?
Possibly. If the law enforcement officer failed to use reasonable force when performing their duties or making an arrest you might be legally entitled to file a claim for compensation. If you were not the intended target of arrest or subdued without cause, you might have the legal right to seek compensation. However, suing a government agency, including the police department, can be challenging and often requires the skills of a personal injury attorney who specializes in dog bite cases and suing the state or federal government.
The Dog's Owner Violated the Local Leash Law, and I Was Bitten. Can I be Compensated?
Probably. If the dog attack occurred because the owner violated the local leash law, the court would likely conclude the dog's owner acted negligently. However, to successfully resolve your case, you likely should consider contacting a personal injury attorney who specializes in animal attack cases.
A Vicious Dog Attacked me. Can The Dog's Owner be Imprisoned for the Dog's Actions?
Yes. There are many cases involving criminal conviction of a dog owner who knowingly maintained and controlled vicious animals. In some cases, criminal court jurors had found dog owners guilty of murder when the dog attack claimed the life of an innocent victim. In these cases, the convicted dog owner faced significant jail time or extensive monetary fines.
Why do Dogs With Rabies Bite?
Rabies has specific characteristics that change normal behavior into aggression. A dog with rabies often bites without provocation or eats abnormal items including feces, nails or sticks. Dogs with rabies often run without any apparent reason, produce hoarse barking sounds, and salivate excessively or spew foam on the sides of the mouth.
Is it Safe to Wait for Ten Days Before Receiving Treatment After a Rabid Dog Bite?
No. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) states that immediate treatment for a human bitten by a rabid dog is compulsory. During that time, the dog will be kept under observation for ten days. Specific conditions including broken skin at the dog bite site and bleeding make it mandatory to receive treatment. Receiving treatment is also necessary if any mucous membrane on the victim's body was exposed to the suspected animal's saliva. The victim must also receive treatment if the animal in the attack disappears from the scene or during the time of observation or displays erratic, unusual behavior.
How Much Should I Expect in Compensation for my Dog Bite?
When you or your attorney have successfully resolved your dog bite case, you will likely receive compensatory damages to recover medical expenses, lost wages (if you are unable to continue working), loss of potential future earnings if you suffered temporary or permanent disabilities (associated with your attack), pain, suffering, mental anxiety, disfigurement, and scarring. The Animal Attack Injury Attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can assist you in reviewing your case to help you determine the value of your compensation claim.
The Dog's Owner Wants to Discuss my Injuries. Must I Have That Conversation?
The Dog Bite Injury Attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers have handled many cases for our clients who were bitten by dogs. Our law firm recommends not discussing injuries, medical treatments, or emotional distress with any individual except your attorney. That said, you should exchange your contact information with the dog's owner and make a copy of the dog's license number. Additionally, never sign any documentation the dog's owner or insurance company provides without first talking to your attorney.
Can I File a Claim for Compensation if Someone Else's Dog Bit my Dog?
While there are numerous possible legal consequences for one dog attacking another, most personal injury law firms only handle cases involving people bitten by dogs. That said, by law, the dog owner likely is legally responsible for any damages your family endures including veterinarian expenses, hospitalization bills, and pet burial costs.
How can I Determine if Legal Action is Worthwhile?
The process of filing and resolving a personal injury case or wrongful death lawsuit takes time. Determining whether the legal action against the dog's owner is worthwhile will likely depend on the severity of your injuries and the length of your healing process along with the associated costs. As your attorneys, our law firm will need to review all your injuries and determine any potential future damages including ongoing medical expenses, physical therapy, and the loss of future earnings. When this number is determined, our attorneys will begin settlement negotiations that might not occur for many months or even up to a year after the traumatic incident.
Are Some Dog Breeds More Likely to Bite and Others?
While you can find a comprehensive list of dog breeds that are more likely to bite and others, any dog that is defensive or angry has the potential of biting if provoked. This defense mechanism is no more likely to present itself and one breed compared to another. Because of that, you should always be fully aware of your surroundings when there is a dog present to ensure your protection.
Can I Wait to File my Claim for Compensation?
Not really. The state statute of limitation technically lasts two years. However, a claim for compensation or lawsuit should be filed immediately anyway so the attorney handling your case can gather evidence that might be lost over time. Filing early also provides the opportunity to speak with eyewitnesses before they forget what happened. Filing in the case as quickly as possible is important because you will be required to prove how the dog's actions are directly responsible for your injuries.
Taking the First Legal Step Following a Dog Bite Injury
The dog bite attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers have decades of experience in resolving animal attack cases. Our team provides a no-obligation, initial consultation at no charge to you to discuss the merits of your claim and provide legal options on how to proceed. Call us today at (888) 424-5757 to schedule your appointment.
Our attorneys accept all wrongful death cases, personal injury lawsuits, and dog bite compensation claim through contingency fee agreements. This arrangement postpones the payment of your legal fees until after we have successfully resolved your case through a negotiated settlement or a jury trial award. All information you share with our law offices remains confidential.
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- What Must I Prove to Win a Dog Bite Injury Case in Illinois?
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