Victims of Dog Bite Incidents Have Rights in Illinois

photo-43-300x225Under the Illinois Animal Control Act, if you or a loved one are injured by an animal, you may have a claim against the owner. The law holds animal owners strictly liable if their pet attacks another person unless the attack was provoked or certain other exceptions are met under the law. The most common animal attack incidents in Chicago are dog bites or dog attacks.

Our pets quickly become a part of the family, and no one wants to believe that their dog could harm anyone, especially a friend or family member. While many dogs are gentle and loving creatures, these incidents do occur frequently. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.7 million Americans experience a dog bite injury every year.

Children are most commonly the victim of dog bites. Of those 4.7 Americans injured by dog attacks, half of these are children. Children often do not understand that a dog is not a play toy and may antagonize the dog, making the dog uncomfortable and leading to an attack. It can be difficult for a dog to understand a child’s innocent intent when the dog perceives the child’s conduct as threatening.

A dog bite can require costly medical treatment including surgery, and some victims will suffer permanent scarring and disfigurement. Dog bites can become easily infected so it is important to seek medical treatment immediately to avoid the injury progressing. Given a child’s small size and inability to defend his or herself, injuries sustained during a dog attack can be fatal to a child. Less commonly, dog bite incidents can be fatal for an adult.

Dogs typically bite or attack because they feel uncomfortable or a need to protect themselves. Sometimes dogs are not properly trained due to owner negligence and do not understand that biting is wrong. In more extreme cases, an owner may actually train the dog to attack others.

Most of these incidents could have been avoided. It is important for both dog owners and others in society to do their part in preventing dog bites. The following lists include tips from the Humane Society for both owners and non-owners to avoid a dog bite.

DOG OWNERS
• Train the dog to discourage violent behavior
• Attend obedience classes to learn how to properly train your dog
• Socialize the dog with other animals and humans
• Be vigilant in supervision
• Don’t let dogs roam on their own
• Avoid stressful situations like large crowds or frequent visitors until the dog is comfortable with these environments

NON-OWNERS
• Always be aware of a dog’s body language – Signs that a dog is uncomfortable can allude to an oncoming attack
• Do not approach a dog you do not know
• Ask the dog’s owner permission before petting or approaching a dog
• If you feel as though a dog is about to attack you, do not run away and try to keep a safe distance backing away slowly
• Be vigilant in supervising children around dogs
• Do not disturb a dog while it is eating, sleeping, caring for puppies, or chewing
If you or a loved one were attacked by a friend’s dog or a family member’s dog it can be very difficult to move forward with a personal injury claim. However, given the potential severity of dog attack injuries you may truly need financial compensation to help cover subsequent medical expenses. In many cases, there is a home owner’s or renter’s insurance policy available to pay for any damage done to a victim which often include medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a dog bite or dog attack accident it may be beneficial to talk with an experienced dog bite attorney to understand your rights. Call Abels & Annes, P.C. today at (312) 924-7575 or contact us online for a free consultation.

Prior Blog Entry:

Illinois Nursing Homes May Be Blamed when Bedsores Occur, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published February 15, 2017.

Resources:

How to Avoid a Dog Bite, The Humane Society of the United States.

Prevent Your Dog From Biting, The Humane Society of the United States.

Dog Bites, www.webmd.com.