Illinois is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bite law. This means that, unlike many other types of personal injury cases, dog bite victims do not need to show that the person responsible for their injuries (the dog’s owner) was negligent. Instead, the mere fact that a person’s dog bit or attacked you is sufficient to prove liability in most situations.
In most personal injury cases, the crux of the accident victim’s case depends on whether they can prove that the other party was responsible for their injuries. To do this, they must present evidence showing that the other person breached a duty of care that was owed to them. However, when strict liability applies, the only question is whether the other party’s actions caused the accident victim’s injuries—whether they were negligent is not relevant.
So, what does it mean that Illinois is a strict liability state for dog bites? It means that a dog’s owner is liable for any injuries caused by their animal, regardless of whether the owner was negligent or could have prevented the attack.
While strict liability is the default in Illinois dog bite cases, it does not apply in every dog bite case. For example, courts will use a strict liability framework in the following situations:
1. You did not provoke the animal;
2. You were “peaceably conducting” yourself; and
3. You were in a place you are lawfully allowed to be.
For example, assume that you check your mail and notice the mail delivery person accidentally delivered some of your neighbor’s mail to you. Being a good neighbor, you decide to walk over to your neighbor’s home to deliver the mail. However, as you approach the front door, their 75-pound Rottweiler comes running around the corner. If the dog attacked you, your neighbor may be strictly liable for any injuries caused by the attack. This is because you were legally permitted to be on your neighbor’s sidewalk, you did not provoke Bruce, and you were otherwise peaceably conducting yourself.
Another example of a strict liability dog bite case involves an animal that breaks free of its owner’s control. In this situation, it would not matter if the leash broke or the owner was negligent; the owner could not control their animal, so they are responsible for any resulting injuries.
Does Strict Liability Always Apply in Chicago Dog Bite Cases?
Chicago courts will not apply strict liability in every dog bite case. in some situations, courts may apply a negligence analysis. This typically occurs when the owner claims you provoked the animal or were trespassing. However, just because strict liability does not apply does not mean you cannot recover for your injuries; it only means you must prove that the animal’s owner was negligent. Negligence in a Chicago dog bite case can take any of the following forms:
• Failure to secure a dog with an appropriate leash;
• Allowing a dog to roam freely in public;
• Failure to install the proper fencing to keep an animal on the owner’s property;
• Failure to provide warning of a dangerous dog on the owner’s property.
At the Chicago dog bite law firm of Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, our dedicated personal injury lawyers have handled countless dog bite claims on behalf of victims across the state. We can help you understand your rights and how to pursue them effectively.
Can Owners Be Strictly Liable for Other Injuries Caused by a Dog?
When most people think of a dog attack, they picture a dog bite; however, a significant number of dog attacks involve non-bite injuries. Say, for example, a dog jumps on you without warning, knocking you down to the ground. Or, a dog starts to chase you, and you trip and fall as you are trying to flee to safety. In these situations, you can still bring a Chicago dog bite lawsuit against the dog’s owner because state law holds owners liable for all injuries that are proximately caused by an attack or attempted attack. In these cases, strict liability applies the same as it would in a dog bite case.
Have You Been Attacked by a Dog?
If you or a loved one was recently attacked by a dog, Briskman Briskman & Greenberg is here to help. At our personal injury law firm, we have been representing accident victims since 1987. Over this time, we have earned a reputation for aggressively pursuing compensation on behalf of our clients, many of whom suffered serious dog bite injuries. We pride ourselves on our honesty and integrity and vow to treat you with the respect and dignity you deserve. Further, we 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 handle Chicago 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.