Unfortunately, dogs bite almost 5 million people per year and nearly half of those injured are children. A dog bite can be anything from a nip to a serious injury that requires medical treatment. And, sadly, a dog attack can also result in long lasting psychological trauma for the victim. Any dog bite or attack that leads to injury can be reason to file a personal injury claim against the owner of the animal to seek compensation for your, or your loved ones, injuries. Therefore, you should reach out to a Lincoln dog bite lawyer right away.
What Do I Need to Know About Dog Bites in Lincoln
In Illinois, dog bite claims are governed by the Illinois Animal Control Act. (510 ILCS 5). If the victim of a dog attack can prove they were in a place where they were legally allowed to be, and that they did not provoke the animal to attack, then the owner is liable for any injuries caused by their dog. An attorney who has experience with dog bite claims will be able to discuss your case and determine who is liable for the injuries you, or your loved one, suffered as a result of a dog attack.
Because the Illinois Animal Control Act is very favorable to dog bite victims, if the dog owner has homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance with liability coverage, the insurance companies are often willing to resolve dog bite claims without a lawsuit. The insurance company generally has less incentive to litigate a case where they know they are likely to lose. This can be important because often the injured party is a friend, neighbor, or even family member of the dog owner, and the injured party can often recover compensation without having to file a lawsuit against the owner of the dog.
Injuries from Dog Attacks
A dog attack can include both a bite or injuries from being scratched or clawed. Most dog injuries occur to the face, arms, hands, or legs and can include cuts, scratches, bruising, tearing, puncture wounds, fractures, or even amputations. Statistically children under the age of 9 account for almost half of all dog bites. Injuries from dog bites that require medical attention can mean anything from a few stitches to plastic reconstructive surgery. A Lincoln attorney who is familiar with dog bite cases will have experience valuing cases, and helping victims seek compensation for both physical injuries and the long lasting emotional trauma that can result from a dog attack.
What Kind of Compensation Can I Expect Following a Dog Bite?
If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog attack you may be able to seek compensation for things like current and future medical costs, lost wages or lost future earnings, damage to personal property, pain, suffering, and emotional trauma. A dog bite lawyer in the area could guide you as you determine all the areas of compensation that may apply to your case.
Dog bites frequently involve parties who know each other – family members, neighbors, friends, or other acquaintances – which may make the victim reluctant to seek legal compensation for fear they may cause financial hardship to the owner of the dog. You should be aware that dog bites are covered by the homeowner’s liability insurance. In fact, dog bite claims account for almost one third of all claims that are paid by insurance companies. In many cases a settlement can be reached with the insurance company without ever taking the case to court. An experienced attorney could discuss the details of your case, assess the value of your claim, and guide you through the process.
What Should I Do if I Have Been Bitten by a Dog?
If you have been bit or attacked by a dog, here are some steps you should take:
- See a doctor. Even a seemingly small bite or scratch should be treated. Infections can result when injuries aren’t treated.
- Take photos of the dog and any injuries, if you are able to do so safely.
- Make notes on the location where the attack occurred, the details and circumstances of the attack, and any witnesses.
- Report the dog bite to the police or local animal control officials. This will be important later to establish the who, what, where, and when of your case. It can also help you determine if the dog has a previous history of dog bites. Cases involving a dog with a bite history may have increased value.
- Record the name, address, and phone number of the owner of the animal.
Be aware that you are not required to communicate with the at-fault party’s insurance company. It is a bad idea to give them a recorded statement. They will probably try to get you to settle quickly by offering a quick and low cash settlement. This will prevent you from seeking any further compensation in the future, which will likely not be to your benefit. A consultation with a local dog bite lawyer will help you more accurately value your case, and understand the steps you need to take to realize the compensation you deserve.
Contact A Lincoln Attorney Today for Help with Your Dog Bite Claim
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury from an animal owned by another, protect your right to compensation for dog bite injuries by contacting our office today. The initial consultation is always at no cost to you. Our experienced Lincoln dog bite lawyers are here to help. Call us today.