More than 48 million households, or about 38 percent of all families in the United States, own one or more dogs. Most dogs make great pets or companion animals; however, they can still attack humans—often without notice or reason. Each year, nearly five million people are bitten or attacked by dogs. Of those, about 800,000 dog bite victims seek medical treatment. If a dog attacked you or a loved one, the Lake County dog bite lawyers at Briskman Briskman & Greenberg are here to help. Our dedicated team of personal injury lawyers has over three decades of experience helping dog bite victims recover the monetary compensation they need to cover their medical expenses and move on with their lives.
Dog-related injuries in the United States made up over 1/3 of the money from homeowners insurance liability claims spent in 2016. This added up to over $600 million.
And, in the United States in 2018, over 27,000 people went through reconstructive surgery due to dog bites.
Some states in the U.S. employ a “one bite” rule, which to a degree exempts owners from legal responsibility the first time their dog causes injury if they did not have a reason to believe their dog to be dangerous.
However, in Lake County and throughout the state of Illinois, the owner is liable any time their dog's actions cause injury, even if it is the first time their dog has behaved aggressively. This means that despite the dog’s previous behavior, the owner is liable for their dog in any case of personal injury as long as the victim is “peaceably conducting himself or herself in any place where he or she may lawfully be” according to Illinois’s statute.
The vast majority of dogs go their whole lives without ever attacking or biting a human. However, certain breeds are more dangerous than others. For instance, Pitbull terriers attack specific parts of their victim’s body, including the head, neck and groin. They do this instinctively to incapacitate their victim.
While any dog breed is technically capable of “snapping” and attacking a human, most dog bites are inflicted by a few breeds. Just two breeds—Pitbull terriers and Rottweilers—are responsible for more than 75 percent of all fatal dog attacks. Other dangerous breeds of dog include:
And remember, even if you were bit by a dog not on this list, it would not impact your ability to recover compensation.
Regardless of the type of dog that attacked you, the knowledgeable Lake County dog bite lawyers at Briskman Briskman & Greenberg can help you effectively bring a claim against the animal’s owner.
When it comes to dog bite injuries, the most obvious is damage to the skin. Dogs have sharp teeth and incredibly powerful jaws. When a dog clamps down on a victim, their teeth will easily pierce the skin. However, dogs are capable of causing much more serious damage. The following are the most common dog bite injuries:
Additionally, infection is a serious risk after any dog bite. Dogs carry foreign bacteria in their mouths, which can result in a potentially life-threatening situation. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, about one in five dog bites become infected. An infection can occur even if a wound is properly cleaned. The most common infections after a dog bite include:
If you were bitten by a dog and notice any of the following symptoms, it may mean that the bite is infected:
It is imperative that you immediately seek medical treatment if you notice the signs of infection after a dog bite.
If you have been bit or attacked by a dog, it may feel as though your world was suddenly turned upside down. You cannot work. You cannot participate in the activities you used to enjoy. You may have missed a family vacation or a child’s wedding. And on top of all this, you now face an onslaught of medical bills. However, you are not alone; hundreds of thousands of people are bitten by dogs each year. You also have options.
Under state law, you are legally entitled to bring a Lake County dog bite lawsuit against the owner of the animal or the person caring for the animal at the time of the attack. When it comes to dog bite laws, Illinois is a strict liability state. This means that if another person’s dog bites you, the owner is liable—even if they were not negligent in caring for the animal. However, strict liability does not apply in every dog bite case. To benefit from the Illinois strict liability dog bite statute, you must:
1. Not have provoked the animal;
2. Be “peaceably conducting” yourself; and
3. Be in a place you are lawfully allowed to be.
If one or more of these does not apply to your case, it does not mean that you cannot recover compensation for your injuries. However, it does mean that you will need to prove that the animal’s owner was negligent.
While many dog attacks involve a bite, that is not always the case. Say, for example, a dog aggressively jumps on you without warning, knocking you down. Or, a dog starts to chase you, and you trip and fall as you are trying to escape. In these situations, you can still bring a Lake County dog bite lawsuit against the dog’s owner because state law holds owners liable for all injuries proximately caused by an attack or attempted attack.
Damages in Lake County Dog Bite Case
Dog bites and other injuries related to an attack can have a profound effect on your life. While every case is different, Illinois dog bite law allows victims to obtain two types of damages: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are the out-of-pocket expenses you are forced to pay as a result of the accident. They also include any money that you would have earned but could not due to your injuries. Non-economic damages are harder to pinpoint because they require a jury consider the subjective effect of the accident on your life.
Some of the economic damages available through a Lake County dog bite claim include:
Non-economic damages are imperative to a full and fair recovery, and can be substantial. For example, common types of non-economic damages are:
Unlike economic damages, you cannot prove non-economic damages by presenting medical bills and paychecks. Instead, you must submit a compelling case to the judge or jury explaining how the accident changed your life. At our Lake County dog bite law firm, we understand what you and your family are going through and can help you identify the full extent of your damages, so you know what a fair settlement offer looks like. We will also negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf in pursuit of maximum compensation.
What To Do After a Dog Attack
The most important thing to do after being attacked by a dog is to obtain immediate medical treatment. Not only will this give doctors the chance to determine whether you suffered any serious injuries that may not be visible, but it also documents important details about the attack.
As soon as you can, take a few pictures of your injuries. Often, photos from immediately after the attack are compelling evidence of just how traumatizing the attack was. This can help convince a hesitant insurance company that you are entitled to a significant damages award.
It is crucial to document everything you can to provide this information to your Lake County dog bite lawyer. For example, you should jot down where the accident occurred, where you first saw the dog, what type of dog it was and a description of its appearance, and who was caring for the animal at the time.
Once you have been checked out by doctors, you should contact the local animal control center to report the attack. Animal control centers track the number of dog bites in Lake County and track the cases of rabies and other potentially life-threatening infections. Animal control is also responsible for determining what to do with the dog after an attack.
Reporting the bite serves as proof of the incident and protects others who may encounter the animal in the future. Lake County Animal Care and Control is located at 18736 West Peterson Road Libertyville, IL 60048.
Once you are well on your road to recovery, it is time to consult with a dedicated dog bite lawyer to go over your options. Preferably, you will meet with a lawyer before speaking with the dog owner’s insurance company. Insurance companies routinely try to settle these cases for pennies on the dollar in hopes of avoiding a bigger payout once an attorney gets involved. Thus, you should not agree to anything with the insurance company without first speaking with a lawyer. If an insurance company is offering to settle a case immediately, it often means it knows that the case could result in a much higher payout. Working with an experienced lawyer ensures that you receive full and fair compensation for your injuries.
At Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, our respected personal injury lawyers have been representing accident victims since 1987. Over this time, we have earned a reputation for aggressively pursuing maximum compensation for our clients. However, we have not lost sight of the fact that we deal with people, not cases. We vow to treat you with the respect and dignity you deserve and will always be upfront with you about your case. And, as part of the Briskman Guarantee, we will provide you with a free consultation during which we will answer all your questions and explain the recovery process in clear and understandable terms. We also handle Lake County dog bite cases on a contingency basis, meaning you will never pay us a fee unless and until we can get you the compensation you deserve. To learn more and schedule a free consultation with one of our Illinois dog bite lawyers, call us at 877-595-4878. You can also reach us through our online contact form.
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a car accident because of the carelessness of another, you may be able to receive compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
When you call Briskman Briskman & Greenberg for a free consultation, you will speak directly to an experienced attorney in Chicago, usually one of the firm’s principals, who will assess the facts of your situation and advise you of your rights. Don’t delay getting your free legal consultation: if you fail to pursue your claim in a timely fashion, you could forever lose your rights.