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Illinois Dog Bite Laws

Millions of Illinoisans love their dogs. However, an aggressive dog can attack you and cause serious injuries, including deep bites, scratches, and significant mental and emotional trauma. You could have expensive medical bills and other losses, but if the dog attacked you for no reason, you have legal options.

Below, the personal injury attorneys at The Law Office of Jack M. Shapiro share essential information about Illinois dog bite laws that you should understand if you’re injured. If you or a loved one needs legal assistance or has follow-up questions, contact The Law Office of Jack M. Shapiro for a free consultation: (847) 243-8917.

Dog Bite Statutes in Illinois

After a dog bite incident, you should understand laws pertaining to dog bites in Illinois. States usually have one of two approaches to animal and dog attacks. First, some states have what is referred to as a ‘one bite’ rule. This means the dog owner could only be liable for a dog bite injury if they knew or should have known that their dog could be aggressive.

If the owner never saw the dog get aggressive or bite before, they may not have had a reason to take preventive actions. There are exceptions to the one-bite rule, but proving a dog bite case in these states can be more challenging.

On the other hand, other states, such as Illinois, have a strict liability approach to dog bite injuries. The strict liability legal theory means that if you show that the dog attacked and caused injury, you can be compensated for your medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and more. You would not need to prove that the dog owner knew or should have known their animal could be aggressive.

Illinois’ strict liability law is stated in 510 ILCS 5/16. It says that a dog owner is liable for all of the dog bite victim’s injuries, assuming that the injured party was:

  • Peaceably conducting themselves when the attack happened
  • Had a legal right to be where the dog attacked
  • Did not do anything to provoke the animal

Also, the Illinois Animal Control Act allows you to recover damages for any type of animal attack, not just a dog bite. So, if a Rottweiler slammed into you and you fell and broke your wrist, you may still have a viable personal injury claim.

Liability for the dog attack can be on the dog owner or whoever was controlling the animal when the attack happened. For instance, if the dog owner had the neighbor watch the dog, it escaped from the backyard and bit you, the neighbor may be liable for your injuries.

Filing a Dog Bite Liability Claim

Many dog bite claims are filed with the at-fault party’s homeowners insurance policy. While you can file the claim with the dog owner’s insurance company, the adjuster is accustomed to offering low settlements and using delay tactics to foil injury victims who don’t have an attorney.

They may also offer defenses to deny your claim, such as you provoked the dog somehow or were trespassing. A dog bite attorney from The Law Office of Jack M. Shapiro can handle the claims process for you and negotiate aggressively for a just settlement.

Dog Bite Claim Statute of Limitations

You have a limited time to file your dog bite injury claim in Illinois. You have only two years from the date of the attack to file a lawsuit against the owner. So, moving quickly and hiring an experienced dog bite attorney to review your claim is critical.

Contact Our Dog Bite Attorneys Today

If you were hurt recently in a dog attack in Illinois, you should understand your legal rights and obtain aggressive legal representation today. A personal injury attorney at The Law Office of Jack M. Shapiro can review your case and determine if Illinois’ strict liability rules apply to your dog bite case. If so, you could receive compensation for your injuries and other losses.

Call (847) 243-8917 for a free legal consultation today. Attorney Shapiro has many five-star testimonials from his many satisfied personal injury clients, and he looks forward to serving you.

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