Have you or a family member been injured by a dog bite or other animal – either by being bitten by a dog or by being otherwise attacked or knocked down? Are you seeking to pursue compensation for your medical bills, pain or suffering, lost wages and other costs? If so, the Chicago dog bite attorneys at Briskman Briskman & Greenberg are ready to fight for your rights. From years of experience, we understand the challenges and costs of personal injury cases from dog bites and other animal-related injuries. We are prepared to get you the compensation that you deserve.
Illinois Has a Dog Bite Problem
In 2013, the state of Illinois ranked second in dog bite incidents, with 309 claims and $8.9 million paid by insurers that year.
- 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.
- 6,750 U.S. Postal Service workers reported dog attacks in 2016, which is 200 more reported than in 2015.
- In the United States each year, around 4.5 million dog bites are reported. Around 1/5 of these bites get infected.
- In the United States in 2015, over 28,000 people went through reconstructive surgery due to dog bites.
- From 1993 to 2008, there was an increase in hospitalizations due to dog-related injuries by 86 percent.
- At a 50 percent increase from a regular personal injury hospital stay, dog bites cost an average of $18,200 for a hospital visit.
- Adults in possession of 2 or more dogs in a home are five times more likely to get a dog-related injury than those without dogs living at home.
The “One Bite” Rule Does Not Exist in Chicago, Illinois
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.
Owners Are Responsible for Dog Bites
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.
Dog Bite Fatalities
In the United States in 2016:
- 31 people died from a dog attack.
- Pit bulls accounted for 22, or 71percent, of dog-related deaths. Pit bulls are currently regulated in over 900 U.S. cities as well as in military housing areas.
- Rottweilers, the second most dangerous dog breed, accounted for 2 deaths. These two breeds accounted for a total of 77percent of reported U.S. dog-related deaths that year.
- 13, or 42 percent, of dog-related fatalities were victims 9 years old and younger. 18, or 58 percent, were adults 30 years and up.
Time is Running Out
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.
Recoverable Compensation for Damages
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.
How to Prevent Dog-Related Injuries
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.
No Fee Unless Your Dog Bite Case is Successful
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.
Any personal injury consultation is free with Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. All calls are answered 24/7. Se habla español.