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Legal Questions About Dog Attacks in Illinois

Posted on in Personal Injury Lawsuits

IL injury lawyerDogs can be loving companions. However, they are also animals with sharp teeth and claws. Dog attacks are terrifying for the victim and can lead to long-term health complications. Tragically, some dog bite victims do not survive their injuries. Even more tragically, most victims of fatal dog attacks are children. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a dog attack, it is important to explore your legal options.

Is the Dog’s Owner Liable for My Medical Bills?

Dog bites are not only painful, they can also lead to significant medical complications. Nerve damage, puncture wounds, facial lacerations, and broken bones are just some of the injuries a dog bite victim may suffer. Many victims require extensive medical treatment including surgery and long-term ongoing treatment. Because dogs’ mouths are full of bacteria and other pathogens, dog bites can also lead to dangerous infections.

Each state handles dog bite liability differently. In Illinois, dog owners are liable for dog bite injuries if:

  • The dog was not intentionally provoked by the victim and
  • The victim was on public property or lawfully on private property

Some states require the dog owner to know that the dog was aggressive or capable of biting before the owner is legally responsible for dog bite injuries. However, Illinois follows the doctrine of strict liability in dog bite cases. This means that an owner is liable even if the dog never bit anyone before.

What Types of Damages are Common in Dog Bite Liability Claims?

If you or a loved one were bitten by a dog, you may be able to file a personal injury claim and seek restitution for your damages. Often, dog bite claims are brought against the owner’s homeowner’s insurance company. The owner may be liable for your expenses related to:

  • Emergency room care
  • Hospitalization
  • Surgery including reconstructive surgery
  • Mental health treatment such as counseling
  • Medication

Dog bite victims may also be entitled to compensation for their lost income caused by missing work and any damage to their future earning capacity caused by the dog bite. For example, if a typist suffers a dog bite to the hand that leaves her with permanent nerve damage, she may be unable to return to her previous line of work. She may be compensated for this loss. Compensation for non-financial harm including the victim’s physical pain and emotional suffering may also be available.

Contact a Lake County Dog Bite Lawyer

If you or a loved one were bitten by a dog, you may have a right to compensation. At Salvi & Maher, L.L.C., we know that dog attacks can lead to long-term suffering and financial stress. Our Waukegan personal injury attorneys can help you seek justice and compensation for your damages. Call us at 847-662-3303 for a free, no-obligation case assessment.



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