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Dog Bite Liability in Illinois

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports1 that about 4.5 million dogs bite humans in the United States on an annual basis. While some dog bites are simply frightening, others can leave victims with severe injuries including torn tendons or muscles, puncture wounds, lacerations, and fractures, among others. In a particularly serious dog attack, a victim may require several surgeries and still may face the rest of their life with disfiguring scars.

Whether you need wound care for your dog bite or reconstructive surgery, you should always seek medi\cal attention for infection prevention after a dog bite. The question then commonly arises: who can be held liable for the costs of treatment and your other injury-related losses?

Liability of the Dog Owner

Illinois has a specific statute2 that addresses liability after an injury caused by a dog or other type of animal. The Animal Control act holds the owner of the dog liable for the full cost of any injuries proximately caused by the attack. There are a few exceptions to this automatic liability under the law, which include:

  • The dog was provoked into attacking or biting;
  • The dog bite victim was not “peaceably conducting himself or herself;” or
  • The person was not lawfully on the premises (i.e. was trespassing on property).

Recovering for Emotional Injuries

Recovering for physical injuries can be relatively straightforward as your medical bills indicate the costs of care you’ve received and a medical professional can estimate your costs of future treatment. However, many people also suffer emotional distress after a dog bite, as well. You can generally recover for emotional injuries as long as they are tied to physical injuries and this can be examined on a case-by-case basis. While typically the damages from physical injuries such as scarring and disfigurement are a much bigger part of a case, psychological damages can also be explored as well.

Contact a Dog Bite Attorney in Chicago for Help Today

The after-effects of a dog bite can be serious and expensive. At the Chicago law office of Abels & Annes, P.C., we understand the rights of dog bite victims in Illinois and will protect your right to compensation from a dog owner. Please call our personal injury lawyers at (312) 924-7575 for assistance.


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