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Posted on in Premises Liability

IL injury lawyerMost dogs are lovable, furry companions. Unfortunately, not all dogs live up to this reputation. Dog attacks can leave victims with horrible injuries including facial lacerations, damage to the hands and fingers, and deep puncture wounds. Because dogs’ saliva is teeming with bacteria and other pathogens, dog bites injuries can also become dangerously infected. Sometimes, dog attacks are even fatal – especially when the victim is a child. If you or a loved one were bitten by a dog, you may wonder if you can sue the dog’s owner. The answer to that question varies, but in most cases, it is possible to sue a negligent dog owner for dog attack injuries.

Illinois Law Regarding Dog Attacks

States handle dog bite liability differently. In some states, a dog owner is not responsible for dog-related injuries unless he or she knew that the dog was aggressive. These are sometimes called “one-bite” states because the owner often avoids liability for a first-time dog attack. Illinois is not a one-bite state. In Illinois, dog owners are strictly liable for injuries caused by their dogs if:

  • The victim was on public property such as a park or public sidewalk or lawfully on private property at the time of the attack
  • The injuries were caused by the dog
  • The victim did not provoke the dog

Put another way, as long as you were not intentionally provoking the dog or trespassing, the dog owner is most likely liable for dog bite injuries. In Illinois, dog owners are also liable for non-bite injuries caused by a dog. For example, if a dog knocks you to the ground and you sustain a traumatic brain injury, the dog owner may be liable.

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IL injury lawyerAs a parent with school-aged children, you probably trust that your children are safe and well-cared for when they are within the school property. You assume that teachers, custodians, administrators, cafeteria workers, and other school staff will uphold the high expectations you have of them. Unfortunately, some schools miss the mark. If your child was injured or killed due to unreasonably unsafe conditions at their school, you may be able to sue the school and recover damages. However, doing so is a complicated legal process.

When Is a School Liable for a Child Injury?

It is important to keep in mind that suing a public school is quite different than suing a non-government individual or establishment. In a typical personal injury claim, the injured person may sue a party because that party’s negligence, meaning carelessness or recklessness, caused the injury. However, public schools and other government entities are treated differently under Illinois law.

In Illinois, you can only successfully sue a school or school district for s child’s injury if the school or a school employee is acted with “willful and wanton” misconduct. Proving that a school employee acted negligently is not enough.

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IL injury lawyerGetting injured on someone else’s property can be a complicated situation. If it happens at a place of business, you may have no qualms about taking action to hold the property owner responsible for your damages. However, if it happens while you are visiting the home of a friend or family member, you may be more conflicted. Fortunately, there are ways of obtaining the compensation you need without causing financial hardship to someone you care about.

Common Causes of Injuries in the Home

There are a number of situations in which you may be injured at another person’s home. Some of these situations may be caused by a homeowner’s negligence, while for others, the fault is less clear. Common examples include:

  • Slip and fall accidents - Slip and fall injuries can happen on wet or cluttered floors, icy walkways, stairs, and in showers, and a variety of other areas in and around a home.
  • Dog bites - Unfamiliar visitors in a home can cause a dog to feel threatened, and even a dog with no history of violence can lash out and injure a guest.
  • Swimming pool accidents - In the summer months, swimming pool injuries are common due to falls, chemical contamination, unsafe use of slides and diving boards, and accidental drowning. Young children are especially at risk.
  • Collapsing decks or railings - When the structure of an elevated deck or balcony is compromised, or when the railing on a stairway or upper floor is unstable, serious fall and crush injuries can occur.

Sources of Compensation in Homeowner Liability Cases

Often, when an injury happens in someone’s home, the homeowner’s insurance policy will cover some or all of the damages. There are two types of coverage that may apply. One is medical payments coverage, which can take effect no matter who is at fault for the injuries, but usually has a relatively low policy limit. The other is liability coverage, which tends to have a significantly higher policy limit but requires you to demonstrate that the homeowner is liable for your injuries.

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IL injury lawyerNow that the weather is getting warmer, parents and child care providers will likely be spending more time outside with children, including on the many playgrounds throughout Illinois. Playground equipment can be a great way to keep children active and entertained, but unfortunately, it can also lead to injuries, some of which are serious. If your child is injured on a piece of playground equipment, it may be possible to recover compensation if there is evidence of negligence that contributed to their injuries.

Common Cause of Playground Injuries Among Children

Children can be injured on playground equipment in many different ways. Some common causes and contributing factors in playground injuries include:

  • Lack of proper supervision - Without a responsible adult keeping watch, children can easily injure themselves even on reasonably safe equipment.
  • Falls - Children using swings, slides, jungle gyms, and other equipment are often high off the ground, and if they fall, they can suffer broken bones, concussions, and other injuries.
  • Sharp edges - Especially with playground equipment made from wood or metal, sharp points, edges, or protruding parts can cause puncture and laceration wounds if children step on them or run into them.
  • Loose or rusted parts - Unsecured or weakened parts can cause equipment to break while in use and create an immediate injury risk.

Holding Negligent Parties Accountable

Some playground injuries are truly accidents, but in many cases, one or more parties are liable due to their failure to ensure the equipment is safe. Depending on the circumstances, negligent parties could include:

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IL injury lawyerMost parents vividly remember the first day that their child went to school. Placing your child in the hands of teachers and other school staff and trusting them to keep your child safe is no easy task. Unfortunately, serious injuries and even deaths do occur in school. In some cases, a child’s injury is directly caused by the school’s negligence or even the intentional acts of a teacher or other staff member. If your child was injured in a school bus accident, playground accident, or another incident at school, it is important to know your rights. You may be able to hold the school or other at-fault party answerable for your child’s injury and recover damages via a personal injury claim.

Determining Liability in Personal Injury Lawsuits for School Injuries

Children are often rambunctious, energetic, and prone to injuries. However, when a child’s preventable injury is caused by the negligent or wrongful acts of another party, that party should be held accountable. A personal injury lawsuit may be used to hold a school liable for intentional abuse or injuries caused by the school’s negligence or carelessness.

However, determining whether the school or another party is liable is often one of the most challenging parts of a personal injury case. For example, a school bus accident may be caused by negligent driving, poor bus maintenance, or another driver. The school may have acted negligently by hiring a bus driver who was unqualified for the position or was not trained properly. A playground accident may be caused by inadequate staff supervision or it may be the fault of the party who incorrectly manufactured or assembled the playground equipment. A personal injury attorney with experience handling cases involving child injuries at school can help you determine what party or parties are liable for your child’s injury.

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