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What to Do After a Dog Bite | Legal Rights & Compensation

Posted on October 26, 2023

Dog bites can lead to major injuries and long-term complications for a victim. Individuals must act swiftly in order to recover compensation for a dog bite injury. Here, we want to discuss the strict liability dog bite law in place in the state of Illinois, which outlines the rates available to dogfight victims as well as the types of compensation they may be able to recover.

What Does the Illinois Dog Bite Law Say?

If we review the dog bite law in Illinois, we can see that there is a statute on the books that places liability for injuries an animal (not necessarily just a dog) causes onto the owner. The statute uses the term “owner,” But you can also include a person who keeps or harbors the animal or who has the animal in their care or acts as a custodian to the animal.

The Illinois dog bite law is considered a “strict liability” law, which means the dog owner will be held liable regardless of whether or not the owner knew the dog was capable of aggressive behavior or if the dog has bitten anybody before. Other states have different types of dog bite laws, including “one bite laws,” that essentially only place liability on the dog owner if the dog has bitten somebody previously.

It is important for a dog bite victim to file their claim as promptly as possible. This is not only for insurance purposes but also for the personal injury statute of limitations in place. In Illinois, injury victims have two years from the date an injury occurs to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent party.

An Attorney Can Help a Dog Bite Case

After sustaining a dog bite injury, victims need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. These claims can be challenging, even though this strict liability law is in place. There are some exceptions to the strict liability law, including if the victim was trespassing or intentionally provoking the dog.

In some cases, the dog’s owner may try to shift fault away from themselves and onto the dog bite injury victim. An attorney can help fully investigate the case and put together the evidence needed to show what happened. A lawyer will help a dog bite injury victim fail their claim with the appropriate insurance carriers, and the attorney will handle all communication with other parties involved. This includes any settlement negotiations.

Possible Compensation After a Dog Bite in Illinois

Dog bite injury victims may be able to recover various types of compensation if their claim against the dog’s owner is successful. This includes, but is not limited to, the following types of economic and non-economic damages:

  • Coverage of medical bills associated with the dog bite
  • Compensation for any surgical procedures needed
  • Lost wages if a dog bite victim cannot work
  • Typical and emotional pain and suffering damages
  • Loss of enjoyment of life damages

There is no set amount of compensation paid for a dog bite injury claim, but there are various factors that can influence the settlement amount. These factors include the severity of the injuries, the length of the recovery time, insurance policy limitations, and more. Your injury attorney can work with trusted medical and economic experts to help adequately calculate total losses.