Springfield Dog Bite Lawyer
When a dog bites you in Springfield, it's hard to know what to do. The legal process can be complicated and confusing.
You might not want to take legal action against the owner of a friend or family member's pet, but you still need compensation for your injuries. You must understand your rights after being injured by a dog bite in Springfield.
Are you a dog bite victim, or did you lose a loved one in a fatal dog attack? At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys are legal advocates for injured victims harmed through another's negligence.
Call a Springfield, Illinois personal injury lawyer at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
How Common are Animal Attacks?
Statistics for central Illinois reveal that animal attacks, including dog bites with serious injury, are common occurrences. The data reveals that dogs are the most likely to attack, representing 57 percent of all animal attacks. We did not find the number of fatalities reported in connection with animal attacks.
There are specific contributing risk factors for dangerous predatory animal behavior. For example, many studies have found that dog bites occur among children, statistically more likely than adults to be victims. Male dogs are also more likely to attack than female canines.
Scottish medical journal 'BMC Veterinary Research' revealed that nearly 80 percent of all recorded dog attacks occurred on private property, most occurring at the family home or on the family's property.
In the United States, there is no federal law requiring dog owners to carry liability insurance. However, more than half of all states have passed some pet owner insurance laws. In addition, many companies offer policies specifically designed for the pets in your home.
Many pet owners have a simple formula that equates a dog with a child's unconditional love. But, unfortunately, that does not exclude the dog's instinct to attack when provoked or frightened.
Dog bites may cause serious injury, disfiguration, and even death. But, even if the animal is someone's pet, you could seek compensation for your physical, emotional, and financial losses caused by another's negligence in an Illinois court of law.
Dog Owners and Leash Laws
Dog owners have a legal responsibility to manage their animals and obey state and local leash laws to avoid biting incidents, animal attacks, and property damage.
Illinois law has stringent animal control laws, including leash rules for livestock and dogs. Owners are also required to maintain proof of current rabies vaccinations. In addition, the Illinois Animal Control Act imposes harsh penalties for those convicted of dog bites or attacks on another person's pet (Section 30/1).
Dog bite victims in Springfield may be entitled to collect financial compensation from the dog owner for pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages from work, and permanent disfigurement or disability.
In Illinois, a dangerous dog is defined as 'One that has been determined to be likely to inflict injury or otherwise endanger the safety of persons...or other animals...' (510 ILCS 5/2.15). Under certain conditions, owners may also be required to register dangerous dogs in Illinois.
Owners could face criminal charges for allowing their pets to run loose when the animal causes serious injury to a human being. Criminal charges are filed under state laws that prohibit reckless conduct or aggravated cruelty.
The Animal Control Act suggests that any dog owner convicted of two or more violations face felony charges with penalties of up to a $25,000 fine and possibly one year in jail.
The dog's owner could also be convicted under the Illinois Criminal Code for reckless conduct or torture resulting from serious physical injury or death caused by an animal attack.
Dog Bite Statistics
The CDC reports that the highest number of dog bites occur between 4 pm and 7 pm on weekdays. Surprisingly, that is typically when children are dropped off at school or picked up by their parents.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund reports that pit bulls are responsible for most fatal animal attacks in the United States. However, this belief is likely due to the breed's popularity rather than an increased propensity toward violence.
Many dog bite cases are dismissed in court because the victims cannot prove that the animal had a history of violence or previous incidents of biting. However, even if the dog's owner hears about previous incidents, they can claim that this aggression was out of character for their pet.
Provocation is another common defense. If you encouraged your neighbor to put her dog on a leash after they pet it, for instance, the dog's owner might claim that your actions provoked their dog into attacking you.
Dog owners are not expected to be perfect or infallible. However, when injuries occur through no fault of the victim (such as when an animal bites a child they did not provoke), the owner should compensate the victim.
Victims should take the following steps as soon as possible to protect their rights:
- Seek medical treatment immediately, even if you feel certain that your injuries are not serious. Medical proof of injury may be required later
- Report all dog bites to the animal control authorities and provide a description of the dog and any other relevant information (color, breed, weight, etc.)
- Take pictures of your injuries and keep all receipts associated with treatment
- Keep notes of all conversations with authorities who investigated the incident
Dog owners are liable for the actions of their pets, even when outside the 'home' jurisdiction. For instance, a dog owner in Chicago could be sued if they allowed a pet to attack someone in a public park.
Dog owners have a legal obligation to compensate the victims of their pets or face criminal charges for animal attacks.
Dog Bite Incidents in Springfield, Illinois
It does not always take a dangerous breed of dog to cause catastrophic injuries through aggressive behavior. The following cases show that any dog has the potential to cause severe injury:
In 2010, a Woodford County family sued the owners of two Cane Corsos. The dogs reportedly jumped through glass windows and attacked grandparents as they were celebrating their granddaughter's birthday. The family had the legal right to file multiple dog bite cases based solely on the pet owner's failure to take reasonable care to ensure everyone's safety based on dog bite laws.
Dog Attacks Child in Her Backyard
The April 2015 Springfield, Illinois, dog mauling of a 10-year-old girl has left many neighbors wondering what went wrong. The Springfield girl was transported to a Sangamon County Hospital suffering serious, life-threatening wounds from the attack. The family's dog ripped the clothing off the girl in her backyard.
With reported multiple dog bite cases, this incident was not the first time the Springfield family's Great Dane bit someone in the household. In addition, the victim's older sister stated to law enforcement officers that she also was bitten two months prior.
The sheriff's department indicates that the previous attack was never reported to authorities. However, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has since opened an investigation based on allegations of neglect of the victim's parents.
The Springfield household members have considered the Great Dane to be 'mean and vicious.'
Dog Attack at a Friend's House
In another incident in Springfield, Illinois, in 2020, a child suffered 'major bite wounds' to the neck, back, and ear when he was attacked by another dog while at a friend's house. In addition, the child's father reported that his son suffered cuts and scrapes, bruising, and puncture wounds in the attack.
The father indicated no other visible dog bites on his son, but the emergency room staff found 'puncture wounds to the neck and back area,' consistent wounds that the dog bit him. The child was treated at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, Illinois, by hospital staff.
There is no information on whether criminal charges will be filed against the dog's owner in Springfield for this serious injury resulting from a dog bite. However, the family filed a personal injury lawsuit citing a dog bite failing to provide reasonable safety care.
Neighborhood Dog Kills Family Dog
Reports indicate that a neighborhood dog viciously attacked the family's pet in late 2019 and Springfield, Illinois. The incident occurred when the victim was walking his dog in a common area behind their apartment complex.
Neighbors reported that it sounded like something was 'being torn apart' in the background of the attack they heard in early 2020. The Springfield incident resulted in serious harm for both dogs.
The injured pet had to be put down by emergency responders due to its injuries. Unfortunately, the attacking dog survived, and its owner had to pay, in addition to other costs, for euthanizing his family's pet.
Dog Attacks The Handyman
In a case where a tenant in a Springfield apartment complex brought in a worker to perform maintenance in late 2020, witnesses reported that the dogs escaped from an open gate. One dog attacked the worker before the others joined.
The reports indicate that one dog bit the victim then broke his arm, requiring hospitalization to repair damage sustained from surgery. In addition, the Springfield tenant was issued a citation for not providing adequate signage indicating pets were on the property and an open gate providing access to non-tenants of the property.
The handyman sought aggressive representation in court due to his severe injury to negotiate a settlement through the defendant's insurance company to recoup medical bills, property damage, and other losses. His lawyer based the case on strict liability and that his employer failed to follow appropriate measures to ensure his safety.
Springfield City Dog Ordinances
Title IV, Chapter 91, Article IV of the Springfield, Illinois code of ordinances refers to animal control, including dogs and cats. Some of these ordinances involve:
- Identification: Every dog owner or keeper must ensure a harness or collar is worn by the animal affixed with the tag inscribed with the owner's contact information, including a name, address, and phone number. (Section 91.05)
- Dog Restraint: All dogs must be kept under restraint. (Section 91.15)
- Dog Bites: All dog keepers and owners must maintain a safe environment free of their pet attacking or biting an individual or other animal without provocation that results in injury. (Section 91.18)
- Dog as 'at-large' (running at large):- No person shall allow a dog to run at large. (Section 91.22)
- Barking: It is unlawful for any dog to bark or howl in a disturbing way that disturbs neighbors or individuals in public spaces, causing a nuisance. Allowing the dog to continue barking after being requested to stop barking will result in a fine of $75.00 for each occurrence. (Section 91.30)
- Animal Abuse: Any person convicted of cruelty or mistreatment of a dog is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one-year imprisonment and fined not less than $1,000 or more than $2,500. (Section 91.43)
Any Springfield dog bite injury involving a Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Rottweiler, and other breeds with dangerous reputations requires immediate medical attention for the victim.
Getting in touch with a legal team experienced in dog bite cases will help you understand the situation and ensure that all legal remedies apply to your Springfield dog bite injury lawsuit.
The loss of work, medical expenses, damage to property, and permanent scarring may require compensation from the pet owner and animal control agency in charge of enforcing city ordinances and state dog bite laws.
The Dog Breeds Most Likely to Bite
According to DogBite.org, there are specific dog breeds that are more aggressive than others. However, the American Veterinary Medical Association states that it is the individual 'dog's level of arousal, previous experiences, and interactions with people and other animals are more important factors in predicting which dogs are likely to bite than breed alone.'
However, some dangerous breeds do have a higher tendency to attack or bite without warning than others. These include:
- Pit Bull Terriers: Pit Bull attacks are the worst because their jaws lock on a victim and do not let go until they tire out. Pit Bulls often come from a fighting background and history where they were trained to be violent.
- Boxer: This breed of dog is known for its intolerance to pain or discomfort combined with a high tolerance for aggression. Their tendency to be high-strung makes them good guard dogs but also more aggressive than other dangerous breeds.
- Akita: This dog breed is territorial and will attack if they feel threatened or hear something out of the ordinary, like a baby crying. They are considered the bravest breeds because of their willingness to protect their territory, family, and the owner will not stop until the threat is gone.
- Labrador Retriever: This is a popular breed of dog with children. However, they are known for their aggressiveness toward other dogs. Although most Labs are friendly and playful with an even temperament, some can become aggressive if trained to attack or fight another canine.
- Doberman Pinscher: This breed of dog tends to be more aggressive toward other dogs than humans. It is an intelligent and loyal breed that does not trust easily. They are bred to protect their owners, making them good guard dogs with a heavy presence.
- Rottweiler: This is a very large breed of dog that is highly intelligent and powerful. They have a history of being used as guard dogs in police, military, and civilian capacities due to their ability to learn obedience commands quickly.
- Caucasian Mountain Dog: This breed can be aggressive toward strangers, intimidating them with its large size. It can attack or bite if not trained and socialized properly and handled with care and respect.
- Mastiffs: This dog breed is a gentle giant that can become aggressive if threatened or scared. They can be very protective over their family and territory but display more signs before acting aggressively than other breeds, such as barking and growling.
- Presa Canario: This breed of dog is a fighting breed that tends to be more aggressive toward other dogs than humans. They were bred during the Spanish Inquisition for their brutal nature and can become very dangerous if not raised, trained, and treated with respect and care.
- German Shepherd: This dog breed is part of the working group and has an extremely high level of intelligence. They were bred to have physical strength, mental ability, and endurance. However, if not raised properly, they can become aggressive toward strangers, making them good guard dogs but dangerous if mishandled or mistreated.
- Wolf Hybrid: This hybrid breed is a cross between a wolf and a husky or malamute. They are regarded for their high prey drive, which means they will attack and kill other animals without warning or reason under certain circumstances.
Studies show that most dog bite cases result from the pet owner failing to take reasonable care to ensure everyone's safety.
Seeking Financial Recovery
Thousands of individuals across the nation suffer serious dog bites and injuries, and dog attacks every year.
In most incidents, dog bite victims have a legal right to seek financial recovery from every responsible party, including the pet's owner. Obtaining compensation is important because dog bites and dog attacks often cause extensive injuries, including:
- Cuts, lacerations, crushing wounds, abrasions, and punctures
- Disfiguring scars to skin on the face, neck, and shoulders
- Permanent nerve damage
- Extensive bleeding and torn skin
- Infection and susceptibility to rabies
- Wrongful death
Nearly all of these injuries require immediate medical care to ensure that the severe injury does not become infected in the days or weeks following the dangerous dog attack.
Holding Pet Owners Accountable After Their Dog Attacked
The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC recognize that nearly every dog attack or dog bite results from negligence by one or more individuals. Therefore, our team of attorneys will evaluate your case to determine the parties that are negligent, responsible, or at fault for your injuries.
Filing a dog bite lawsuit might entail numerous defendants, including:
- Pet Owners and Keepers: This includes any individual responsible for the dog's custody or care, which could include an animal sitter, the dog pound, or a pet kennel.
- Property Owners: The owner, occupier, or tenant of a property can be held legally liable for any injury caused by a dog that they are allowed to be on the premises.
- Parents of Minors: Was the care and custody of the vicious or dangerous dog left to a minor child 17 years or younger? If so, the parents could be held legally liable through a dog bite lawsuit, even if one or both parents were not directly involved in the incident.
- Landlords: The landlord of an apartment complex can be held legally accountable if they knew, or should have expected, that the property tenant owned a dangerous pet.
Contact a Springfield dog bite lawyer today at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC's law offices at (888) 424-5757. Our attorneys specialize in dog bite cases and are passionate about protecting your rights to secure the compensation you deserve.
Our dedicated legal team of dog bite attack lawyers will aggressively fight for you to ensure you receive maximum compensation negotiating with the defendant's insurance company.
Hire a Springfield Dog Bite Lawyer to Resolve Your Maximum Compensation Case
At the law offices of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, a Springfield dog bite lawyer can work on your behalf to hold the dog's owner legally and financially accountable for your damages caused by an attack.
Our personal injury law firm builds cases on Illinois dog bite laws to ensure that our clients recover financial compensation based solely on the extent of their injuries, their losses, current and future medical bills, and the need for future care.
Contact a Springfield dog bite attorney today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form for immediate legal advice and free consultation.
Our legal team accepts all dog bite cases and wrongful death lawsuits through contingency fee agreements. This promise ensures you pay nothing until your dog bite lawsuit is resolved through a negotiated settlement or jury trial award.