In 2013, the state of Illinois ranked second in dog bite incidents, with 309 claims and $8.9 million paid by insurers that year.
In quite a few states across the United States, there exists a “one bite” rule where the dog owner or guardian is, to a degree, exempt from legal responsibility the first time their dog causes injury as long as they did not have a reason to believe their dog to be dangerous.
However, in Chicago and throughout the state of Illinois, the owner is completely liable for any time their dog causes injury. 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.
There is no damage cap for personal injury in the state of Illinois. It also does not matter whether or not the dog bite comes from a dangerous breed, such as a pit bull or Rottweiler.
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In Chicago, Illinois, the owner is considered to be anyone with the right of property to the dog; this includes someone who is keeping the dog, has the dog under their care or allows the dog to be on their personal premise.
If the plaintiff is bringing a case forward of owner negligence, they must give plausible facts that demonstrate the owner’s breached responsibility. The owner may be classified as negligent from being unreasonable or failing to act, such as providing warning.
Physical injury is not the only way to receive fair compensation for damages and loss from a dog bite. According to federal law, emotional pain, as long as it is in tandem with the physical injury, is considered justifiable suffering. Mental suffering alone is not cause for damage recovery across the United States. Nonetheless, when the victim under emotional distress resulting from close proximity to the incident, or a “zone of physical danger,” experiences fear of personal safety and suffers physical injury as a result, they can then recover damages.
However, in Illinois courts specifically, it has been determined that damages can be given to the victim for mental distress even if it does not directly relate to physical injury.
In the United States in 2018
Dogs let you know in their own ways when they are stressed. Some signs include:
Learn more about dog bites with our custom dog bite infographic.
Any dog bite victim, other than a minor or someone who is under a legal disability, of a dog-related injury has two years from the date of the attack to file a claim.
If it has been over two years, the lawsuit cannot be pursued. If the victim intentionally or accidentally provokes the dog, such as kicking the dog or stepping on its tail, the claim may be defensible under Illinois law. Another way for a claim to be barred is if the victim is not lawfully on the owner’s property. If the victim is invited onto the owner’s property as a guest, then it is considered lawfully being on the property. If the victim is trespassing or committing another crime, then it is likely that the damages of a dog-related injury will not be recoverable.
In Illinois courts specifically, it has been determined that damages can be given to the victim for mental distress even if it does not directly relate to physical injury.
If the victim of a dog attack wants to pursue compensation, they must consider all of the injury-related damages. These include any medical expenses, previously mentioned emotional pain, any further suffering and lost wages.
In order to decrease the amount of personal injuries related to dog attacks, it is important for owners to become educated about their dog’s breed, especially if their dog has previously acted out. It is also important for any potential victim to be aware of their surroundings, particularly in case of an accidental provocation.
There is no damage cap for personal injury in the state of Illinois. It also does not matter whether or not the dog bite comes from a dangerous breed, such as a pit bull or Rottweiler. You may recover compensation for a bite from any breed.
The attorneys at Briskman Briskman & Greenberg understand that it may be difficult to understand specific state laws surrounding dog-related personal injury. We urge you to reach out to us with any queries 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 getting your damages recovered.
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