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Dog Bites and Compensation in Illinois

There are a lot of dog owners nowadays. In fact, the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) reports that there are around 77.8 million dogs owned as pets in the United States. The American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) further found that, in Illinois, 32.4 percent of all households own a dog.

With all of these dogs comes an increased risk of dog bite injuries. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that dog bites are responsible for nearly 4.5 million injuries annually. Illinois law provides that you may seek compensation if someone’s dog bites you and you sustain in injury.  

Illinois Dog Bite Law

According to Illinois’ law, 510 ILCS 5/16, if a person’s dog, or other animal, bites you, you may prove the owner’s liability by establishing that:

  1.     The dog, or other animal, attacked, attempted to attack, or injured you (Plaintiff);
  2.     You had a lawful right to be in the place where you were attacked or injured; and
  3.     The dog or other animal was not provoked.

Illinois’ dog bite law, as you can see, does not focus solely on dog bites. Rather, the statute provides for all sorts of animal behavior that causes injury to a person. For example, if you are playing basketball in a public park and someone’s dog suddenly jumps on you, knocking you down and injuring your back.

In addition, this Illinois statute maintains that animal owners may be held strictly liable for bites and other injuries that result when their pet attacks a person. This is true even if the animal’s owner was not negligent or did not wrong. Illinois’ strict liability rule will hold the owner liable.

New Illinois Law

Last month, Governor Bruce Rauner signed a new law relating to rabies vaccines. Essentially, and according to this new law, if someone’s dog or cat bites you, that animal must be taken in and undergo a bite exam within 24 hours following the incident. If this rabies vaccination is not administered as prescribed, the animal owner may face a fine of $2,500. A person’s noncompliance with this new law is a class A misdemeanor.

Compensation and the Relevant Statute of Limitations

If someone’s dog bites you, you may be entitled to compensation. Such compensation includes, but is not limited to, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium and loss of enjoyment of life.

Nevertheless, you only have a limited amount of time to file your claim for compensation. Per Illinois’ statute of limitations, you have two years to file your dog-bite claim from the date the dog bit you. It is very important that you strictly adhere to this rule; if you do not do so, you are most likely barred from a later filing your claim.

Take Action

In all, if someone’s dog bites you, and you incurred injuries, it is imperative that you hire an experienced personal injury attorney for your case. The dog-bite lawyers at Levin & Perconti have the skill and experience needed to aggressively represent you. Call us today at (312) 332-2872 or toll free (877) 374-1417 to schedule a FREE consultation.

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