Getting bitten by a dog is likely to be a traumatic experience that leaves you with painful injuries and other losses. Dog bite victims can recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress and other expenses through a personal injury claim against the animal’s owner. The Joliet dog bite attorneys at Briskman Briskman & Greenberg are dedicated to providing experienced legal representation to people who have been injured due to dog bites.
Dog Attacks by the Numbers
There are around 4.5 million dog bites in the United States each year. In 2018, Illinois ranked fourth nationwide for dog bite incidents, with 822 claims and a total of $29.2 million paid by insurance companies.
Illinois has a high number of dog bites despite have one of the nation’s lowest rate of dog ownership. Just 31 percent of households have a dog, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
There are likely to be a variety of reasons behind the state’s high bite numbers. They can potentially be attributed to irresponsible pet ownership and inadequate care. For example, dogs may be more likely to bite if they are sick, hurt or not being taken to the vet regularly.
Many dog bite victims are children. According to data from 2019, 27 percent of dog attack fatalities nationwide were children 9 years old and younger. Adults accounted for 67 percent of deaths, while the remainder of fatal dog bite victims were between the ages of 10 and 18.
Over the years, pit bulls and Rottweilers have consistently emerged as the most dangerous dog breeds. They were responsible for 76 percent of the 521 dog bite deaths from 2005 to 2019. Pit bulls accounted for 69 percent of the 48 deaths that arose from dog bites in 2019, even though the breed makes up just 8 percent of the nation’s total dog population.
In 2019, 42 percent of fatal dog attacks occurred off the dog owner’s property, marking a 75 percent increase from the 14-year average of 24 percent. A whopping 95 percent of off-property attacks involved multiple dogs, while pit bulls were involved in 75 percent of incidents.
Dog Bite Laws in Joliet
Joliet’s many dog parks offer owners plenty of opportunities to spend time outdoors with their pets. While Joliet is a dog-friendly city, it also has strict laws when it comes to pet ownership.
A number of municipal ordinances have been enforced to keep residents safe from dog attacks and encourage responsible ownership of dogs. Dog owners are required to abide by the following rules:
• All dogs in public places must wear a durable collar that displays a current city license tag.
• Dogs are prohibited from running at large in public areas. They must be leashed at all times when outside the home, unless in a dog park.
• Owners are responsible for ensuring their dogs do not cause noise disturbances such as excessive barking, growling or whining.
• All dog attacks must be reported right away to local authorities or the county health department. When a dog bites someone, it must be placed under the observation of a rabies inspector and be evaluated by a licensed veterinarian.
Despite strong laws in place to protect Joliet residents, dog attacks still occur. With so many local dog parks that allow canines to roam off-leash, there should be no excuse for owners allowing their pets to wander city streets unleashed and unattended. While Briskman Briskman & Greenberg supports responsible dog ownership, our experienced Joliet dog bite attorneys know all too well that careless owners need to be held accountable when their pets bite someone.
Who is Responsible for Dog Bites?
In Joliet and throughout Illinois, the responsibility for dog bites lies with owners. The owner is strictly liable for any injuries their dog causes to another person, regardless of where the attack occurred and the animal’s past behavior. Unlike other states, Illinois does not enforce a “one bite rule” that can exempt an owner from liability if their dog injures someone for the first time.
If you have been injured due to a dog attack, you can file a claim against the dog owner to obtain compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The claim is typically handled under the owner’s renters or homeowners insurance.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
Dog attacks can lead to serious and catastrophic injuries, some even permanent. A dog’s teeth and claws can cause painful puncture wounds and lacerations that require extensive medical treatment. Sometimes rabies shots, stitches or reconstructive surgery may be necessary. Here are some injuries that a Joliet dog bite victim may suffer:
• Puncture wounds
• Nerve damage
• Broken bones
• Limb loss
Damages in Joliet Dog Bite Cases
The dog bite attorneys at Briskman Briskman & Greenberg are dedicated to helping clients in Joliet pursue full compensation for their injuries. We hold dog owners and other responsible parties accountable through personal injury claims. Our lawyers will thoroughly investigate your dog attack and speak to witnesses to build your case, along with taking care of all negotiations with insurance companies.
Illinois does not have damage caps for personal injury, including dog bite cases. The dog bite does not have to come from a dangerous breed, such as a pit bull or Rottweiler, in order for you to pursue compensation. We recognize that along with painful wounds, dog bite injuries can also result in long-lasting emotional trauma.
The damages you can pursue in a Joliet dog bite case are not just limited to physical injuries. Along with recovering medical expenses and lost wages, you can also pursue compensation for emotional distress, as well as pain and suffering.
How to Protect Yourself from Dog Attacks
Joliet dog owners have a duty to prevent dog-related injuries. They should follow local ordinances and develop an understanding of their dog’s breed, especially if the animal has acted out in the past.
There are also things you can do to protect yourself and minimize the chances of a dog attack. Being aware of common warning signs that indicate a dog may be stressed can help you avoid getting bitten. Here are some things to remember the next time you encounter a dog:
• Avoid eye contact: Making direct eye contact with a dog may be viewed as a threat.
• Identify signs of stress: Behaviors like shaking, yawning or licking lips may signal stress.
• Understand body language: A relaxed dog holds its head up and tail down. Dogs with tails up, arched backs or lips curled are not relaxed.
• Remain calm: Avoid yelling, making loud noises or running away from dogs as such actions may provoke a dog to attack. Be aware of your surroundings.
• Do not approach unknown dogs: Ask before petting a dog you are unfamiliar with. Stay away from dogs behind fences or in their own yards.
• Avoid bothering sleeping dogs: Also, be cautious when dogs are eating or appear to be protecting a toy.
Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim for a Dog Bite
If you were injured from a dog bite in Joliet, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the dog’s owner. In order to have a successful personal injury claim, you should make sure to report the attack to local authorities so that they can investigate it. Also, it is important to get immediate medical treatment and hold on to all resulting paperwork.
Speak to an experienced Joliet dog bite attorney about the possibility of pursuing legal action. A lawyer who has detailed knowledge of Joliet dog bite laws can help you navigate the complex legal process and explain what damages you may be eligible to obtain if your claim is successful.
Insurance companies often try to settle claims for as little as possible. With a lawyer fighting for your rights, you have a greater chance of getting the maximum compensation you deserve.
Do Not Wait to Act
When a dog bite incident occurs, you typically have two years to file a claim. If the two years have passed, it may no longer be possible to pursue a personal injury claim. Any delays in taking action can mean you lose your right to obtain compensation for your injuries.
No Fee Unless Your Dog Bite Case is Successful
The Joliet dog bite attorneys at Briskman Briskman & Greenberg understand that it may be difficult to understand specific laws surrounding dog attacks. We urge you to reach out to us with any questions or personal concerns.
All dog-related personal injury cases are taken on a contingency basis. This means we only require payment if we succeed in recovering damages for you. Contact us for a free personal injury consultation.