In Illinois, dog bite cases are not uncommon. If you visit an emergency room in a hospital, you are likely to see one or two cases of dog bite injury being treated by the doctors. More than 4.5 million Americans become victims of dog bites every year, with about 800,000 injuries requiring medical attention to varying degrees. If you have been bitten by a dog, you are entitled to receive compensation for your damages under Illinois’s dog bite laws.
Illinois’s Dog Bite Statute
Laws that govern the dog bite cases are laid out in the statute 510 ILCS 5/16. It contains guidelines regarding how to prove that a dog owner is liable for the actions of their pet. When filing a claim, you need to establish that:
- The dog attacked you, injured you, or attempted to attack or injure you
- You did not provoke the dog in any way
- You had a legal right to be in place where you were attacked or injured by the dog
This statute also covers injuries that are caused by other behaviors of the dog. For example, you are walking on a sidewalk when suddenly your neighbor’s dog comes running out of their house and jumps and knocks you down, causing you to hit your head on the pavement. The injury caused in this situation will be covered under the dog bite statute, and you will be entitled to compensation.
Strict Liability Law in Illinois
Almost all states have one of the two legal theories for dealing with dog bite cases, namely, negligence and strict liability. In Illinois, the latter theory is applied when it comes to injuries related to dog bites. Under strict liability law, the owner of the dog is liable to pay for damages, regardless of whether they had prior knowledge of aggressive behavior of their pet or its tendency to cause injury to other people and animals. This law also applies to a situation when you are injured by actions of the dog, but not by its bite.
Damages you can recover from a Dog Bite Lawsuit
If you and your attorney is able to satisfy the three requirements for proving a dog bite injury claim, you will be entitled to receive monetary compensation for different types of damages, including:
- Medical expenses
- Property damage, if any
- Lost income due to treatment of injury and any future lost income, in case of disability
- Pain and suffering, including fear of dogs and traumatic experience, which is common in children who suffer from nightmares
- Loss of consortium – it means that the dog bite injury has affected your relationship with your family
If you have been attacked or injured by a dog in Illinois, you should consider talking to a personal injury attorney to evaluate your case and provide you skilled legal counsel. Contact Fisk & Monteleone Ltd. for a free consultation at 815-315-0594 and to discuss your options.