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Dog Bites & Animal Attacks
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Things to Know About Illinois Dog Bite Laws

If a dog bites you in Illinois, dog bite laws will clarify your chances of recovering the cost of your injuries from the dog's owner.

Illinois dog bite laws are complicated, because they are included in state, county, and/or city laws. This is why it is best to contact an Illinois dog bite accident lawyer to discuss the particulars of your case.

In Illinois, dog bite injury cases are included in what is known as tort law. Tort law is better known as the area of law that deals with personal injuries, such as those stemming from traffic accidents or slip-and-fall accidents.

Most personal injury attorneys, including Illinois dog bite lawyers, take cases on contingency. This means they don't ask for any money up front, but will take a percentage of a final settlement or award. Most are also willing to meet for an initial consultation for free. So getting an attorney's opinion of your case can be easy and well worth your time.

Illinois Dog Bite Laws

The Illinois laws that govern a dog bite injury also cover any other injury that may be inflicted by a dog. For example, if a dog knocks you down or scratches you deeply, your injuries may be paid for by the dog's owner.

If you're the victim of a dog bite or received a dog-related injury, the law in Illinois says the dog's owner is responsible for covering your medical costs. You do not have to show that the owner was somehow negligent.

There are two exceptions to this law. If you managed to provoke the dog into attacking or if you were not legally allowed to be at the place of your attack, then you cannot collect money for your injuries.

If you've been bitten by a stray, animal control officers will want to catch it, so that it may be observed for 10 days. If the dog shows signs of being rabid or the dog's owner is not known and it is not caught, your medical provider may decide to subject you to a series of rabies vaccinations to protect you from this potentially fatal disease.

It is illegal for a pet owner to euthanize, sell, give away, or otherwise dispose of any animal known to have bitten a person until it is released by health officials, according to the Illinois Animal Control Act that covers bites from dogs and other animals.

What Expenses Can You Recover From a Dog Bite Lawsuit?

If you and your Illinois dog bite attorney believe you have a solid case against the owner or caretaker of the dog that bit or injured you, you may be wondering which expenses you can recover. A successful lawsuit could award you money to cover:

  • Your past, current, and future medical bills
  • Lost income, both from treating the immediate injury and from any future lost income, should you become incapacitated
  • Pain and suffering, including a newfound fear of dogs, especially in children who may experience nightmares after the attack
  • Property damage, if any
  • Loss of consortium, which means that the injury somehow damaged your relationship with your spouse or family

What Role Does Insurance Pay?

If the dog owner has liability insurance, it is likely that the insurance company will be paying for the owner's defense in any lawsuit you bring.

Many homeowner policies will cover the costs that arise from dog bites and other dog-related injuries. Typical liability policies may offer from $100,000 to $300,000 worth of coverage.

Some insurance companies decline to cover certain breeds that are known to bite, such as pit bulls or Rottweilers. Bites that take place in the owner's car may instead be covered by an automobile policy.