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Chicago Dog Bite Lawyer

According to an Insurance Information Institute report from 2014, 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year and roughly 885,000 require medical attention for these injuries. While dog bite and animal attack injuries can range in severity, some common injuries include:
dog bite

  • Nerve damage
  • Deep puncture wounds
  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Disfigurement
  • Lacerations

The injuries that can result from a dog bite or animal attack can lead to significant pain along with severe emotional trauma. On top of that, you might be facing looming deadlines for medical bills and wondering how you’re going to meet these financial burdens.

If you have suffered an injury from a dog bite or animal attack, you may be entitled to recover compensation that will cover medical bills, loss of normal life, lost wages, disfigurement and scarring, and long-term pain and suffering. At Staver Law Group P.C., our skilled personal injury attorneys can help you obtain the compensation you deserve so you can get the help and care you need.

Illinois Law Regarding Dog Bites & Animal Attacks

In Illinois, if a dog injures a person without provocation, the owner of that dog or animal is liable for damages to the person injured under the Animal Control Act. To establish a claim under the Animal Contract Act, the party seeking compensation must prove:

  1. an injury was caused by the defendant’s animal

  2. that the animal was not provoked

  3. the injured party was engaged in peaceable conduct and

  4. the injured party was in a place where he or she lawfully had the right to be.

Ownership

The term “owner” is defined as any person having a right of property in an animal, who keeps or harbors an animal, who has it in his care, acts as its custodian, or who knowingly permits a dog to remain on any premises occupied by him or her.

Provocation

dog provoking

If you have been attacked by a dog but you were taunting or provoking the dog, it may be more difficult to file a claim against the owner for the dog bite. What constitutes provocation is less clear because it is measured from the dog’s perspective.

From a legal perspective, the question is whether the injured party acted in a way that a reasonable person should have known would provoke an animal to attack. Provocation could include unintentional or intentional acts such as stepping on the dog’s tail or arguing with the dog’s owner immediately preceding the attack.

Peaceable Conduct

The Animal Control Act specifies that if a dog or animal attacks someone who is peaceably conducting himself or herself in a place where he or she may lawfully be, then the owner is liable for civil damages. An example of people conducting themselves in places they may lawfully be includes postal carriers or newspaper delivery people. The issue of peaceable conduct can arise when a child is bitten on someone else’s property or if a salesperson is attacked while going door-to-door.

Determining Legal Liability for Dog Bites & Animal Attacks

Though it seems simple and straightforward that the dog owner is responsible if his or her dog attacks someone, frequently it is not. At times, further investigation is required to figure out who the true owner is. For example, this might occur if the tags or microchips haven’t been updated to reflect a new owner. Another scenario is if a friend is dog-sitting while its owner is out of town and the dog attacks someone.

In these situations, determining the responsible party depends a lot on the circumstances and evidence around the attack and injury. Though your physical and mental recovery from the attack should be your primary focus, any photographs, clothing evidence, medical and police reports, and eyewitness contact information will become useful if you end up filing a claim.

Filing a Claim for Dog Bites or Animal Attacks

In most cases, homeowners’ insurance and renters’ insurance policies will provide liability coverage for a dog bite or animal attack. In fact, dog bites accounted for one-third of all homeowners’ insurance liability claims and amounted to more than $483 million in 2013 alone. The average amount of liability coverage in these policies ranges between $100,000 and $300,000.

Many insurance companies will cover the first animal attack incident but may exclude subsequent claims. However, some dog owners may also have additional animal insurance on top of homeowners’ or renters’ insurance that may contribute to your recovery. The insurance companies are trying to reduce their costs in paying out for dog bite claims and will certainly have defense attorneys to represent them.

You will want to be careful not to agree to compensation from an insurance adjuster because this may impact your ability to sue for additional recovery in a civil claim. This is why having an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer who has handled dog bite and animal attack cases is important to making sure you do not get shortchanged by the insurance companies.

How an Experienced Chicago Dog Bite Lawyer Can Help

When you have sustained serious injuries from an animal attack, it is important to know that you do not have to face this situation alone. The dedicated team of attorneys at Staver Law Group P.C. can help you make sense of health insurance, homeowners’ and renters’ insurance, and animal insurance policies to make sure you get the appropriate level of care so you can put this behind you. With our extensive resources and knowledge, we can help you build a strong argument in support of your claim and will fight for the maximum compensation available for your case.

To learn more, contact us today at for a free case evaluation. We serve the Chicagoland area, including Cook County, Will County, Kane County, DuPage County, Lake County, and Kendall County, and all other cities and counties in Illinois.