Pet owners in Illinois are required to keep their animals under control at all times. Failure to do so can result in harm to another person, for which the owner can be held legally responsible. If you or a family member have been injured by a dog or other animal owned as a pet, you may have the right to be compensated for any costs related to the injury. A Pontiac dog bite lawyer could review your case and discuss your legal options for recovery. By working with an experienced attorney, you could put yourself in a better position for recovering compensation.
Damages from an Animal Attack
Sadly, young children are frequently the victim in dog attacks. Treatment can involve anything from stitches to multiple plastic surgeries. Additionally, while the physical damage can be devastating, the emotional trauma can be even more difficult to overcome. Due to the seriousness of these situations and the complexity of determining losses such as future medical expenses, pain and suffering, and emotional distress, it is in your best interest to contact a Pontiac attorney who has experience with dog bite cases.
Under the Illinois Animal Control Act (510 ILCS 5) a person claiming they were injured by an animal that was kept or owned by another person must be able to prove the animal attacked or attempted to attack them, that the injuries were caused by the attack, that they did not provoke the animal in anyway, and that they were in a place they were legally allowed to be. For the purposes of the law, “attack” includes clawing or scratching.
The Doctrine of Strict Liability
Illinois is what is known as a “strict liability” state as it pertains to dog or other animal related injuries. An owner cannot make the argument that they did not know their animal would be aggressive or that it had never been aggressive in the past. The exceptions would be if the owner could prove that the animal was provoked prior to the attack or if someone were illegally on the owner’s property and was attacked by an animal as a result. In those limited cases the owner may not liable for the injuries caused by their animal. An experienced lawyer in Pontiac could examine the facts of the case and determine whether liability applies.
What Statute of Limitations Applies to Dog Attack Cases in Illinois?
The statute of limitations on dog bite cases in Illinois can vary depending on who was injured in the attack. Typically, a lawsuit needs to be filed within two years of the incident, but when a child is involved different rules apply. In any case, if the suit is not filed before the limitations period expires, the case will likely face dismissal in court. A Pontiac attorney who is familiar with and experienced in dog bite laws will be able to make sure your lawsuit is filed before the statute expires.
What are Common Mistakes in Dog Bite Cases?
There are several mistakes that people commonly make when it comes to dog bite cases. Some of these include:
- Waiting too long to file a claim
- Not reporting the bite to animal control
- Not getting proper medical care
- Trusting the animal owner to pay medical bills
- Taking a settlement from the insurance company before consulting with an attorney
Speak with an experienced Pontiac dog bite attorney to avoid making these and other costly mistakes.
How Much is a Dog Bite Case Worth?
The amount of compensation an animal bite victim receives is based on a number of factors. For example, the circumstances of the attack and the injuries suffered can both influence the amount of the award. Further factors include how severe or extensive the injuries are, the medical bills incurred, if there is scarring or disfigurement as a result of the attack, whether there is emotional trauma related to the attack, and any history of previous bites or attacks related to the animal.
The amount of insurance the animal owner carries will likely also be an important factor in determining the amount of any financial compensation the victim can recover.
Contact a Pontiac Dog Bite Attorney Today
If you or someone you love has been injured by someone’s animal, a Pontiac dog bite lawyer could help you determine the compensation that you may be able to recover for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering, and help you through the process of making a claim and filing a suit. Call now to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.