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Chicago Dog Bite Lawyer

Dogs are one of the most popular pets in the United States, especially in Chicago. While these animals exist in many Illinois households, dogs are also responsible for hundreds of severe injuries each year. Dog bite injuries can be especially serious, exposing the injured party to dangerous bacteria and causing permanent scarring and disfigurement.

An experienced attorney is essential when pursuing an injury claim resulting from a dog attack. We understand the complexities of such cases and work diligently to protect the legal rights of our clients. Our attorneys are well-versed in handling dog bite cases involving serious injuries and strive to ensure victims receive fair compensation for their damages, including medical bills and ongoing treatment. With our expertise, we will help you navigate the legal process, gather evidence to build a strong case for dog bite victims.

If you are the victim of a Chicago dog attack, the lawyers at Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC can help. Our Chicago dog bite attorneys have the knowledge, resources, and experience you need to hold the dog’s owner accountable and secure the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (312) 586-1700.

Why Choose Us

  • Our attorneys have decades of experience representing many types of claims in Illinois, including dog bite lawsuits. We will leverage our knowledge and skills to advocate for your best possible outcome.
  • Our law firm is dedicated to securing maximum compensation for your injuries. Over our years of operation, we have recovered $400 million in settlements and record-breaking jury verdicts for our clients.
  • We strive to provide the highest level of professionalism and support to our clients. Throughout your case, our attorneys will be available to answer any questions you may have and inform you of important updates in your case.

The Role of an Attorney After a Dog Bite Incident

Dog bite injury claims are not easy, even if the claim does fall under the strict liability dog bite law in Illinois. Even though you may not have to prove that the dog’s owner was negligent, a lawyer may still be necessary to help you recover the compensation you need.

An experienced dog bite lawyer will take the steps necessary to hold the owner of the dog, as well as the insurance carrier, responsible for reasonable monetary values resulting from the attack. This will include gathering the evidence needed to show what happened, as well as consulting with trusted medical and financial experts to help adequately calculate total losses.

Your lawyer will help file the claim with the insurance carrier and will handle any negotiations back and forth with the carrier. Homeowners’ and renter’s insurance carriers are the most likely source of compensation recovery after a dog bite occurs, but claims adjusters with these carriers know what they are doing. They know what steps to take to limit the compensation amounts they pay out. The good news is that an experienced dog bite injury lawyer will also know what to do and understand how to counter the actions of the insurance carrier.

Finally, if necessary, an attorney can help file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court against the dog’s owner or another party to recover compensation if an insurance carrier fails to pay compensation.

Illinois Dog Bite Laws

Under Illinois law, and the Illinois Animal Control Act, the people who “own” or “harbor” animals are responsible for all damages suffered by victims of any animal attack. This is true whether a case involves a permanent scar on a child’s face from the bite of a dangerous dog breed. There is no “first bite” rule in Illinois, and animal owners are responsible for the injuries their pets cause, unless the animal was provoked.

Illinois dog bite laws play a crucial role in determining liability in a dog bite case. If an injured person wishes to take legal action, understanding these laws is vital. A knowledgable personal injury lawyer can guide the injured person through the legal process and help them seek compensation for the emotional distress caused by the dog bite incident. These laws establish the responsibilities of dog owners and provide a legal framework to protect the rights of dog bite victims.

The State of Illinois also has a statute that makes the owner, harborer or keeper of any animal (whether or not a dog) liable for injuries to people, whether or not it was caused by a bite, (such as any contact) without negligence on the part of the dog owner. In Illinois, the dog bite statute uses the word “owner,” to identify a defendant, the term is defined as “any person having a right of property in an animal, or who keeps or harbors an animal, or who has it in his care, or acts as its custodian, or who knowingly permits a dog to remain on any premises occupied by him or her.” (510 ILCS 5/2.16.)

The relevant part of the Animal Control Act for dog bites in Illinois is as follows:

If a dog or other animal, without provocation, attacks, attempts to attack, or injures any person who is peaceably conducting himself or herself in any place where he or she may lawfully be, the owner of such dog or other animal is liable in civil damages to such person for the full amount of the injury proximately caused thereby.

A dog bite victim can bring a claim against a dog owner based upon the foregoing statute. Additionally, a victim can reach owners and other potential defendants, such as the custodian of the dog, on the ground of negligence or negligence per se.

If you have been bitten by a dog in the Chicago area or throughout Illinois, the law firm of Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC can help you seek recovery from the dog owner’s homeowners insurance policy or renters insurance policy (or even from the dog owner, if he does not have any insurance but assets).

Common Dog Bite Injuries

Dog attacks can result in serious, sometimes life-threatening injuries that require extensive medical attention. You should always seek emergency medical services after an attack to avoid complications such as infection, blood loss, and permanent disability. Some of the most common dog bite injuries include the following.

  • Facial scarring: Many dog bites center around the face and neck. As a result, you can sustain permanent facial scarring in the area. These injuries often require extensive surgery and may impact your self-esteem.
  • Infections: Dog saliva often harbors harmful bacteria that can lead to dangerous infections. These conditions may include rabies, staph and strep infections, and cellulitis. Without prompt medical attention, these infections can lead to severe illness and may even be fatal.
  • Permanent nerve damage: Dog bites can be very deep, harming the nerves beneath the skin as well as the skin’s outer layer. As a result, you can develop permanent nerve damage in your arms, legs, face, and even your neck. These injuries often result in permanent disability, mobility problems, and long-term chronic pain.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder: Not all dog bite injuries are physical in nature. Many dog bite victims develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after the attack, resulting in traumatic symptoms such as nightmares, flashbacks, and an inability to be around dogs. Some victims report a deep fear of going outside, which severely impacts their quality of life.

Damages Available for Dog Bite Victims

If you sustain injuries in a Chicago dog attack, you can hold the owner accountable for your losses through a dog bite lawsuit. You can recover two types of damages in your claim: economic and non-economic. While economic damages concern your financial losses, non-economic damages involve the physical and emotional pain and suffering you sustained.

Common damages in dog bite lawsuits include the following:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation and physical therapy
  • Mental health counseling
  • Property repairs and replacement
  • Disability accommodations and mobility equipment
  • Lost wages and loss of future earnings and benefits
  • Loss of care, companionship, love, and consortium
  • The development of mental health conditions, such as PTSD
  • Chronic pain, disability, disfigurement, and/or amputation

At Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC, your attorney will review your case and identify all potential avenues to compensation. We will help you gather the necessary evidence to estimate and prove these damages, including bills, paystubs, invoices, journal entries, and long-term care plans.

How Much Compensation is Available for a Dog Bite Injury Case

There is no set amount of compensation paid to dog bite injury victims in Chicago if their claim is successful. Rather, there are various factors that can influence an insurance settlement amount or jury verdict amount. Some of the factors that are most likely to influence claim amounts include the severity of the injuries and how long it takes a dog bite victim to recover.

If a dog bite injury victim is unable to work due to their injuries, lost wages and loss of future earnings will also be taken into account. Importantly, the total level of pain and suffering should also be considered. There are various methods for adequately calculating a person’s non-economic pain and suffering damages.

We encourage you to speak to your attorney about how much compensation to expect with your claim.

Can You File a Claim for Other Animal Injuries?

Besides dog bite injury cases, the lawyers at the firm can also assist in various other injuries caused by animals. Specifically, the attorneys at Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC have significant experience litigating cases under the Illinois Equine Activity Liability Act (injuries that occur with horses). In Illinois, an individual can be held liable for injuries of an equine activity participant if he or she displays a willful and wanton or intentional disregard for the safety of the participant and if he or she fails to make reasonable and prudent efforts in ensuring the safety of the participant. In addition, a person will also be held liable for the injury of an equine activity participant if he or she is injured on the land or at a facility due to a dangerous latent condition of which was known to the equine sponsor, professional or other person.

When it comes to dog bites and animal injuries, trust the experienced Chicago personal injury attorneys at Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman for your injury cases. Contact our office for a free consultation today.

How to Prove an Illinois Dog Bite Lawsuit

After a dog bite in Illinois, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the animal’s owner for your injuries. Like many states, Illinois operates under a strict liability standard for dog bite cases. This means that you do not need to prove that the owner’s negligence contributed to the attack. You will simply need to prove that you sustained injuries from the animal and that you did not provoke the dog. You will also need to prove that you had a legal right to be where the attack took place.

However, many dog owners may attempt to defend themselves by claiming that you provoked the dog or that you were trespassing at the time of the attack. If the court finds that these defenses are true, it will likely deny your claim and prevent you from recovering compensation. You will need to provide sufficient evidence to disprove these facts and establish your injuries.

In these situations, a dog bite attorney from Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC can help. Your lawyer will gather all available evidence pertaining to the attack, including surveillance footage, witness testimony, and medical records. Using this evidence, your attorney will craft a compelling case to prove your right to compensation and disprove the other party’s claims.

What to Do After a Dog Attack in Chicago

The moments after a dog attack can feel overwhelming and scary. However, it is very important to protect yourself, gather evidence, and seek immediate medical attention following this ordeal. Your first priority should be your health and safety; get to a safe place as soon as possible and perform basic first aid on the wound.

Seek emergency medical attention immediately and save all records related to your injuries and treatment. This step will not only help prevent dangerous complications such as infections, but your medical records will be valuable evidence in your future claim.

If you are able to do so, you can take the following steps after the attack to preserve evidence and protect your right to compensation.

  • Identify the dog’s owner if you do not know who it belongs to. Ask for the owner’s name as well as his or her contact information and the animal’s vaccination records. Keep your interaction brief and do not admit anything about the attack or your injuries.
  • Contact animal control and report the attack to the authorities. You can contact Chicago animal control officers by dialing 311. By reporting the accident to animal control, you establish official documentation of the attack.
  • Gather as much evidence as possible. Save the clothes and items you had on your person during the attack. Take photographs of your injuries, damaged possessions, and the area around the scene. If there are witnesses in the area, ask for their contact information.

A skilled dog bite lawyer is a valuable ally when dealing with the aftermath of a dog attack. We understand the physical and emotional trauma inflicted by such incidents, especially when it involves severe injuries like puncture wounds requiring reconstructive surgery. Our team specializes in dog bite claims and are familiarized with bite law. We will assess all legal options available to the victim and their family members and negotiate with the insurance company, ensuring all rights are protected. Injury lawyers experienced in dog bite cases are crucial in securing justice and helping victims move forward.

How Long Do You Have to File a Claim?

When discussing how long you have to file a dog bite injury claim in Chicago, there are a few points we want to make. First, the sooner you file a claim, the better. The vast majority of dog bite claims will get settled with an insurance carrier, but insurance carriers are notoriously fickle about paying compensation. They will look for any reason to lower the amount they pay or even deny the claim. Often, there are very vague reporting deadlines in place at an insurance carrier, so filing the claim as soon as possible is the best idea.

In the event you and your attorney decide that filing a personal injury lawsuit against the dog owner is necessary, there are other deadlines to be aware of. In Illinois, the personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date an injury occurs. If a dog bite injury victim in Chicago fails to file a lawsuit within this two-year time frame, the case will likely be dismissed, and they will be unable to recover compensation for their losses.

If you have any confusion about the time frames involved with your dog bite injury claim, reach out to an attorney immediately. Let a Chicago dog bite lawyer examine your case today so they can determine the best steps moving forward for recovering compensation on your behalf.

How Much Does a Dog Bite Lawyer in Chicago Cost?

The expense of a dog bite injury lawyer may seem impossible to overcome, but we have good news. Our team handles dog bite injury claims on a contingency fee basis. This means a few things for dog bite injury victims.

Dog bite claims can be expensive, especially up front when working to gather evidence and consult with medical professionals. An attorney will handle all of the upfront costs related to the case, including the cost of securing outside witnesses or experts and the investigation into the incident. An attorney will not collect any legal fees when they work on a contingency fee basis until they successfully recover the compensation their client needs.

Under a contingency fee arrangement, the final legal fee will be a previously agreed upon percentage of the settlement or jury verdict, but the dog bite injury victim will pay nothing if their attorney does not secure compensation on their behalf.

Will You Have to Go to Court?

As we mentioned, most dog bite injury claims are settled with insurance carriers, in which case, you will not have to go to court. However, in the event it becomes necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit against another party, you may need to go to court if the case goes to trial. However, even after a personal injury lawsuit is filed, there is typically a lengthy discovery process as well as continued negotiations as more evidence comes to light.

Only if your case goes to trial will you have to go to court. Your attorney can advise you throughout this entire process about what to expect as the case proceeds forward through different stages.

Contact Our Dog Bite Lawyers in Chicago For a Free Consultation

If you or somebody you care about has been injured by a dog bite in the Chicago area, we encourage you to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. At Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC, we believe that dog bite injury victims have the right to recover compensation for their losses, and we know how to stand up to aggressive insurance carriers to help. When you need a Chicago dog bite lawyer, it will cost you nothing to discuss your injury case with an attorney. Give us a call anytime or contact us via the form below.