Evanston Dog Bite Lawyer
When you get bit by a dog, the cost of your care and any ongoing therapy may be covered by insurance or personal injury lawsuits. But, unfortunately, it's not always easy to know if you have grounds for an insurance claim or lawsuit against the owner of the dog who bit you.
Speak with a lawyer about whether this is worth pursuing after getting bitten by one of these animals.
The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, will help guide you through every step of this process. We'll help you file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against the owner to cover your expenses and receive compensation for the pain and suffering caused by this incident.
Call an Evanston personal injury attorney at (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
Nearly half of all households in Illinois have dogs that serve as companions or guard dogs, providing security of the home. However, when the dog's ability to provide security backfires and the dog attacks, families and individuals can be left legally liable for the injuries involved.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), serious dog bite injuries continue to be a significant problem among children and adults in certain occupations, including postal workers. In addition, data reveals that in 2009, 4.7 million Americans received medical care for dog bite injuries.
Additionally, in 2010 according to the US Postal Service, more than 6,000 employees were attacked by dogs across the country. These numbers are likely higher because not all dog bites are reported or documented accurately.
People bitten by a dog have legal grounds for filing a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering.
Dog bite victims who work in certain occupations are required by law to report the incident to the U.S. Postal Service otherwise, and they will not receive worker's compensation benefits. For example, since mail carriers are considered government workers, Illinois state law requires them to tell their employers about dog bites.
According to the U.S. Postal Service, Illinois leads the nation in attacks on postal workers by pit bulls and other breeds with a history of aggression toward humans – accounting for over half of all reported dog bite incidents during 2010. In addition, there were 128 incidents that year involving canine attacks on mail carriers and postal service workers.
Avoiding a Dog Bite Attack
To avoid being attacked by a dog, avoiding going on the property of a person you believe has a dangerous animal on the premises is always advised. However, if you have no choice, knowing how to identify a potentially problematic canine from those that are safe can help prevent serious injuries from occurring and report any attacks or bites to authorities.
Other steps to avoid dog bites include:
- Keep a distance between you in an unfamiliar dog at all times and never turn your back on the animal.
- Don't make eye contact with a dog who may interpret this behavior as aggression, which can trigger an attack.
- Never approach a strange dog, even if they appear to be sleeping in the owner's car or near the home. It is especially dangerous during the summer when windows are left open.
- If you notice a dog is upset either by its owner's return home or another stimulus (such as another individual, animal, or noise), quickly exit the area and do not attempt to confront the dog.
- If you find yourself unable to avoid a canine encounter or a vicious animal starts attacking you, never try to run from it – this will only trigger the dog to unleash its instinct to chase and attack.
- Instead, play dead and don't move – even if the animal bites you repeatedly (unless it is about your face). When a dangerous canine realizes it cannot make prey out of its victim, it will retreat.
- If helping another person who an aggressive animal has attacked, seek medical attention for the victim as soon as possible and stay with the individual until someone arrives who is not a threat to the animal.
To help protect your loved ones from dog bites, have each family member familiarize themselves with common breeds known to attack people and avoid these animals at all times.
Holding the Pet's Owner Accountable in a Dog Bite Lawsuit
Illinois provides a legal remedy for injured victims who have suffered a dog bite requiring medical attention.
Under Illinois ' "dog bite statute," people who a dog bites may be protected from the owner under Illinois' "dog bite statute." The statute holds owners legally responsible for injuries caused by their pet if the victim was not trespassing and has been bitten more than once before by a different dog, even if there were no previous reports of aggression.
The law allows dog bite victims to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering resulting from the attack.
It does not mean that the owner of an aggressive animal will be forced to pay full compensation for all losses associated with a dog bite accident. Illinois state law caps the limit of damages recoverable in court at $20,000.
A victim only qualifies for this amount if it can be proven that the owner knew or should have known that their dog posed a potentially dangerous risk to others and did not properly secure his pet.
Help for Victims of Dog Bites
Even if the injury appears minor, people who attack in Evanston need immediate medical attention.
If you are bitten, the wound must be cleaned immediately to avoid infection, and medical attention should be sought. Dog bites can cause serious problems, including infections that may require antibiotics or surgeries, which increase the likelihood of costly medical bills resulting from an attack.
If a dog has attacked you, it is important to preserve the evidence (clothing items worn during the attack, pictures of the scene, and images of injuries) needed to build a strong case. In doing this, you should also not destroy evidence by washing away any bodily fluids left on your body from the attack before seeking medical attention.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is committed to holding dog owners responsible when their animals attack or bite adults or children in Evanston, Illinois.
Dog Bite Laws Applicable to Evanston Canine Owners
Nearly every community, including Evanston, Illinois, maintains city ordinances on dealing with dog bites. These local laws, municipal codes, and ordinances often deal with legal responsibility or liability for any damages, injuries, or death caused by the dog.
Personal injury cases often involve legal theories of strict liability, negligence, and reckless behavior.
For example, owners can be found legally liable if the dog bite is the result of negligence that could include:
- Allow the dog to roam free even though there is a city "leash law" ordinance.
- Know that the pet is easily excited or high-strung yet taking no reasonable steps to protect others from its propensity to attack or bite.
- Fail to provide adequate restraint to secure the pet, including high fencing, locks on gates, or other measures to control the dog.
- Negligently allow the animal to escape its enclosure and attack another person.
- Owners must also take precautions when transporting a potentially dangerous pet, such as an aggressive dog breed or one that has previously bitten someone else. For example, owners can be held liable if they transport an aggressive dog in anything other than a secure carrier in the vehicle's closed cargo area.
Evanston Dog Law Municipal Codes
Chapter 4 of the Evanston, Illinois Municipal Code relates to all wild and domesticated animals within the city limits, including dogs and cats. These ordinances are designed to maintain public safety. Some of these ordinances include:
- Numbers of Household Dogs: Households and individuals within the Evanston city limits are limited to three dogs on the premises. (Section 9-4-3-2)
- Dog Tag Registration: All dogs must wear a durable collar and tag with proper identification and registration number displaying its year of issuance. (Section 9-4-3-5)
- Animal Restraint: All dogs are required to be kept under restraint. It means the dog must be leashed at all times when in public or when entering commercial establishments, school premises, public beaches, or in public parks and playgrounds. (Section 9-4-7)
- Vicious Animals: No individual within the city limits is permitted to keep a vicious animal on their premises. The city ordinance defines dangerous dogs as pets known to have a disposition, propensity, or tendency to attack without provocation. (Section 9-4-17)
When Medical Attention is Necessary for a Dog Bite
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), serious injuries are a common outcome of a severe dog bite or animal attack. Typically, the dog bite victim must seek immediate medical treatment that might involve reconstructive surgery, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and ongoing medical care.
Many dog bite cases involve permanent injury or disfigurement, which can be emotionally traumatic and physically painful. In addition, there may be a loss of work and diminished quality of life following a dog bite attack.
Without medical treatment, the injuries could become significantly worse due to:
- Infection at the puncture wound bite site
- Sepsis (blood infection)
- Inflammation from muscle damage
- Inadequate blood flow, loss of sensation or mobility
- Paralysis if the bite affects the nerves and muscles in a limb
- Severed nerves
- Thick scarring that could contract and limit the range of motion in a limb
- Pain that is not fully relieved by medications or physical therapy
In cases when surgery is required, infection from dog bites might be difficult to treat with antibiotics making a recovery more complex and lengthier. Dog bite victims who survive an attack might require lifelong medical treatment, medications, and plastic surgery procedures
Illinois Law, Local Animal Control and Personal Injury Lawyers
Being bitten by a dog or any other animal may contact animal control, a governmental agency typically managed by the county. The local animal control agency will investigate and file a report in Evanston and throughout the Chicagoland area, dog bite ordinances in Illinois.
The victim or a family member must file a written complaint with animal control within five business days after the attack to successfully prosecute pet owners who violate state and local ordinances.
In personal injury cases, when a serious injury is severe, and an investigation uncovers evidence that leads to charges in court, if the dog owner has not complied with the laws of Illinois, DuPage County, Cook County, animal control will impound the pet.
In other cases, when a dog bite victim is hospitalized or requires extensive medical attention for more than 24 hours beginning in the emergency room, Illinois law requires that their pet be quarantined for ten days to monitor the risk of rabies exposure.
The dog's isolation and quarantine are conditions that might be imposed as part of a court order after filing an Evanston dog bite lawsuit. The owner might also be told to limit association with other humans and animals, which could include restrictions on:
- Leaving the pet at home by itself
- Re-homing or placing the pet of the owner has children, information about the dog must be disclosed to the parents
- Contacting any future pet owners of record or potential owners
Dog Attack Liability for Personal Injuries
When an individual is injured through a dog attack or dog bite, the dog owner is usually legally liable for any injuries. However, the individual in control of the dog is held responsible for keeping the other safe from attack. Injuries caused by a dog attack are often severe, long-lasting, and life-altering.
The dog bite can often leave the victim with deformities, scarring, fractured bones, and trauma. If the dog's actions were unprovoked, victims would often file a claim to recover damages against the dog's owner.
In Evanston, Illinois, many individuals injured by dangerous dogs have the right to sue for damages that include:
Satisfaction of a civil judgment against the dog owner, including compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Surgical fees and supplies
- Inflammation from muscle damage
- Loss of work time and diminished quality of life due to the injuries
- Emotional pain and suffering can impact future earning potential or family life
Who Might Be Held Responsible After A Dog Bite Attack?
The owner of the dog could be held liable for an attack. In addition, the person whose negligent or reckless actions allowed the animal to escape and injure someone else may also face charges.
In Evanston, when a victim files a civil lawsuit against an owner, they might have difficulty obtaining financial compensation without assistance from animal control officials responsible for investigating dog bite claims.
The Requirement To File A Complaint With Animal Control In Evanston, IL
If you are injured by a dog attack in the City of Evanston, Illinois, there is no time limit for filing an official complaint with animal control. Animal control will attempt to identify the owner and investigate the dog bite case. If they find evidence that proves the owner violated the law, animal control may impound the dog pending any criminal charges.
Fatal Dog Attacks
Our Chicago dog bite lawyers have provided legal representation for fatal victims of dog attacks and surviving family members. In Illinois, the decedent's estate and surviving families can file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking financial recovery from the dog owner's insurance company to pay for:
- Funeral bills and burial expenses
- Hospital costs
- Any medical bills that arise in the future
- Lost wages and the diminished earning potential of the decedent resulting from an attack
- Loss of companionship or consortium
- Reimbursement for the emotional distress suffered by the family due to a pet attack or dog bite
The Evanston, IL animal control department investigates all dog bites cases and may be involved in liability actions. If you have been injured in an animal attack in Illinois, our Chicago personal injury attorneys can provide professional legal representation that protects your rights.
What will you need to do?
The family should seek information about their legal options for filing a claim against an owner. Information about the incident should be collected, including:
- Witness names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses
- Information about the dog and the owner that includes:
- Breed of the animal
- Name, age, sex, and location of any other pets in the househol
- Descriptions of injuries to anyone involved
- Photos or videos of the scene
Illinois law requires the owner to identify a pet as dangerous if it bites or injures a person or domestic animal, and either:
- without provocation has killed or caused serious physical injury to a person
- has a known history of wandering loose or running at large
In the City of Evanston, a dangerous dog must be registered. In addition, the animal must have a city license and rabies vaccination. In addition, the owner is responsible for posting signs warning people of a potentially dangerous animal on their property.
When tragedy strikes and someone is killed in a fatal dog attack, the state may prosecute the owner to the fullest extent of the law. Call our Chicago dog bite attorneys for immediate advice if you need help filing a personal injury claim because a dog in Evanston injured you.
Hiring an Evanston Dog Bite Lawyer to Resolve a Dog Bite Lawsuit
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has years of experience in handling severe dog bites and attacks. We assist clients in protecting their legal rights by filing a claim against the pet's owner to ensure the victim receives financial compensation. Your personal injury lawyer can build the case for recovery of:
- Hospitalization costs, medical bills, and rehabilitation expenses
- Lost earnings from time away from work
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
The Evanston personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have experience handling negligent parties who refuse to accept responsibility for the incident.
We have access to valuable resources to build your dog bite case and hold each party accountable for your injuries. Retaining our services early on will assure you obtain justice from every negligent individual through their insurance policy.
We offer free consultations and invite you to call a dog bite attorney at (888) 424-5757 today to discuss your dog bite injuries. In addition, our Evanston personal injury law firm accepts dog bite cases on a contingency fee basis to eliminate the need to pay for our legal services upfront.
Our Evanston personal injury practice areas include motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, workplace accidents, nursing home abuse.