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Chicago Dog Bite and Animal Attack Lawyer

Dog Bites Can Cause Serious Injuries

dog-bite-animal-attack Every year, thousands of pets find forever homes in Illinois. However, some of these animals may not be suitable as pets and can pose safety threats to children and local communities. This can result in animal attacks, and the need to consult with a Chicago dog bite lawyer.

Around 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the United States. Of these dog bites, 1 out of 5 of them become infected leading to complications. In addition to  infections, dog bites can also lead to serious damage that requires surgery. In 2018 alone, nearly 27,000 people had to have reconstructive surgery because of dog bite attacks.

If you or a family member were attacked by a dog or another domestic animal that resulted in injury, you could be eligible for compensation. Owners are required to take certain steps to keep others safe from their pet. When a pet owner fails to do this, they could be held liable for your damages.

Common Complications Associated with Injuries From Dog Attacks

The most common complication that doctors see from a dog bite injury is infection. However, there are many other kinds of complications that can arise from dog bite injuries. An injury that has further complications tends to be more expensive, as the patient will have to pay for further medical treatment and may have to take even more time off from work to recover from their injuries.

Common diseases and infections that can occur after a dog bite injury include:

  • Rabies: If the dog that bites you has rabies, they can transfer it to you through their saliva. Rabies contracted from dogs is rare in the United States, but it does happen. If a human contracts rabies it can be fatal. While rabies can be treated, the chances of survival are slim. In this case, a surviving relative would want to file a wrongful death case, for the death of their loved one.
  • Capnocytophaga: Capnocytophaga is a type of bacteria that lives in the mouths of both cats and dogs. This type of bacteria doesn’t make the dogs sick, but if spread to humans it can cause illness, specifically sepsis. This is especially likely for people with weakened immune systems. It can be transmitted through bites, scratches, and even close contact with the infected dog.
  • Pasteurella: Pasteurella is the most common bacteria that causes infected dog bites. It can cause pain, redness, and swelling at the site of the bite.
  • MRSA: MRSA is a deadly form of bacteria that is resistant to multiple different strains of antibiotics. It can be hard to get rid of, and can cause serious problems if contracted multiple times.
  • Tetanus: If you haven’t received a tetanus shot, this type of bacteria can cause paralysis. After being bitten by a dog, it’s important to receive a vaccination to prevent the development of further complications.
  • Amputation: Amputation, while not a disease, can also be a result of a dog bite infection. Some infections may cause tissue death at the site of the infection and amputation may be the only solution to preventing the spread of the infection to the rest of the body.




Many dog bites are complication free, and don’t require medical attention. But when they do and complications arise, they can cause a serious financial strain on the victim. Complications can mean longer hospital stays, more treatment, an overall higher cost, and more pain and suffering for the victim depending on the extent of their complications.

Who is Accountable for a Dog Bite Injury?

Under the Illinois Animal Control Act, if you sustain an injury in an attack by a dog or other animal, you may have a claim against the owner.

These types of injuries can lead to:

  • Costly medical attention, sometimes requiring surgery
  • Prescription pain medication
  • Lost income while recovering
  • Permanent scarring and disfigurement

Illinois law holds animal owners strictly liable if their pet attacks another person, unless the attack was provoked. A dog attack victim does not need to show that the owner was aware of the animal’s dangerous behavior.

The laws of Illinois extend to hold those who harbor animals liable for any injuries the animal causes. This means that if there is an attack by a dog or other animal while the dog is under the control by someone other than the owner, you may have a claim. A dog walker, groomer, sitter, veterinarian, or any other person in control of a dog at the time of an attack can be liable for your injuries.

Proving Liability in a Dog Bite Case

Proving liability in a dog bite case is a multi-step process. First, you must be able to prove who owned the dog. Then, the victim must show that they had a right to be in the location where the attack took place. And finally, that the victim did not provoke the attack.

Further, because Illinois does hold animal owners strictly liable for their pet attacks, you will not need to prove that the owner knew their dog was dangerous. You will only need to prove the steps listed above.

Recovering Financially for Your Dog Bite Injury

Often victims of dog attacks can recover against the homeowner’s or renter’s insurance of the owner of the dog. A financial recovery may include payment for past and future medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, disfigurement/scarring, emotional distress, and any other damages you sustain. The insurance may be available even if the attack happened away from the owner’s home.

Many people do not realize that you can have a claim for injuries you sustain even if a dog does not bite you. If a dog threatens you, chases you, startles you, or in any other way causes an injury, you may have a claim even if you are not bitten.

There are state laws governing dog attacks and some counties and towns also have their own laws. Therefore, it is important to work with a knowledgeable and experienced dog bite attorney. At Abels & Annes, P.C., we handle dog bite cases. We know the steps to take in these cases and we are ready to fight on your behalf.

Economic Damages

There are many different damages that you can receive compensation for in a dog bite case. When it comes to economic damages, you may recover damages for any medical bills that you incurred that were directly related to your injuries. This includes any hospital visits, surgical costs, physical therapy, prescriptions, or ambulance costs that you were billed for. You can also receive compensation for any wages you lost while you were out of work and even any wages you may lose in the future because of your injury.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are losses or injuries that are suffered by the victim of a dog bite that cannot be defined in strictly monetary terms. Non-economic damages include damages for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and disfigurement.

Abels & Annes Dog Bite Settlements

The following are just a few of our dog bite settlements:

$250,000 for a client that injured his shoulder when, while being chased by a large dog, he jumped over a fence and hit the ground hard.

$112,000 for a dog bite victim that was injured by a loose dog, causing a fracture and an infection to her wrist. She required surgical repair of the broken wrist.

$86,000 for a boy in Lake County, Illinois that was bitten in by a small dog in the face. He has minor scarring that has been fading over time.

$38,500 for a woman who was helping her neighbor catch a loose dog when the pet bit her arm, resulting in three tooth puncture wounds and a trip to the emergency room.

Our Chicago dog attack attorneys currently have several cases pending at this time.

How Much is My Dog Bite Case Worth?

We know that most people want to know what their dog bite case is worth. Of course, this is a legitimate concern. Outcomes in civil lawsuits of any kind depend heavily on the facts of the case, the amount of insurance coverage available and the severity of injuries suffered by the victim. However, certain statistics can help you understand how much recovery could be available in a dog bite lawsuit. Of course, your attorney can help you to understand how your particular case might work out.

  • The average settlement for a dog bite lawsuit in Illinois is about $100,000.
  • The median settlement for dog attacks ranges between $25,000 and $35,000.
  • Nearly 80% of dog bit cases recover under $100,000 and 4% of all dog bit cases recover more than $1,000,000.
  • In Cook County, where Chicago is located, 68% of dog bite cases recovered under $100,000 and 11% of cases recovered more than $1,000,000.

Injured in a Chicago Dog Attack?

If you or a family member suffers an injury in a dog or other animal attack, contact the police and local animal control immediately. Also, seek appropriate medical attention, as some animals carry diseases such as rabies. Further, try to write down any ownership information from the animal’s tags, but only if you can do so safely.

After our Chicago dog bite lawyers start to work on your claim, one of the first obstacles in this type of case is determining whether the animal owner has insurance for their pet. Unfortunately, sometimes the answer is no.

If you sustain serious injury in an animal attack, you may need to see a plastic surgeon for an evaluation. This is to determine if the scars are permanent, if surgery would be necessary or helpful, and also determine the approximate cost of surgery to fix dog bite injuries.

Illinois law favors dog bite claimants. However, making an effective injury claim requires the hands-on assistance from a proven, aggressive, and thorough dog bite attorney in Chicago. At Abels & Annes, P.C., our attorneys work on many types of accident and personal injury cases. If we take your case, we determine the most strategic way to move your claim forward. An attorney is standing by now to take your call at (312) 924-7575. We offer free consultations and there is no fee unless you win your case.

If you or a family member has been attacked and injured by a dog or other animal, request a Free Case Consultation or call (855) LAW-CHICAGO to speak with a lawyer now.

Client Testimonial

“This firm was great to work with. Very fast and understanding. Every time I called I was able to receive an update about my case and always had a polite conversation. I was able to get through my case with less stress then I anticipated. I will be sure to come back if I am ever in need of their services again.”

Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Darryl W.
March 2020
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★★★★★ These guys were great to work with. At the end of the day, tough case and all, Abels & Annes helped us get enough to pay our bills and then some. My wife has now recovered and we are able to move forward without the cloud of a huge medical debt. Brett
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