Dog bites remain a major problem throughout the United States, including in Illinois. According to a report from NBC 5 Chicago, in 2014, Illinois had the second most dog bite claims in the entire country. That year, State Farm Insurance paid out nearly $9 million in dog-related injuries settlements. Dogs can cause a wide variety of serious injuries, from lacerations to broken bones.
Additionally, they also can cause very severe infections. Whenever an animal punctures your skin, you are at serious risk of developing a nasty infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one in five dog bites becomes infected, with some subcutaneous infections becoming extremely dangerous, even requiring emergency hospitalization. Victims of dog attacks deserve full and fair compensation for their damages. If you or your child was injured by a dog, please contact a nearby dog bite attorney today to discuss your legal options.
Under the Illinois Animal Control Act, dog-related injury cases are subject to the state’s strict liability rules. This means that dog owners are held liable for any injuries caused by their animal, regardless of whether or not they were ‘negligent’ or ‘at-fault’ for the attack. Fault is simply not an issue in most Illinois dog bite cases. Dogs are inherently dangerous, and as such, any person who makes the choice to own such an animal has a legal duty to protect innocent members of the public from safety threats caused by that animal.
Note: There are Affirmative Defenses Available to Dog Owners
It must be noted that dog owners are not held automatically liable, even it can be proven that their animal caused another party’s injuries. This is because dog owners have two affirmative defenses available under the law: trespassing and provocation. If a dog owner can prove that your dog-related injuries only occurred because you were trespassing or that you provoked the attack, then they may be able to escape legal liability.
The value of an Illinois dog bite claim will depend on the nature of your damages. Ultimately, damages are meant to be ‘compensatory’ in nature. This means that they will be awarded in direct proportion to the value of your losses. Beyond establishing liability, it is critically important that you are able to properly document the true value of your damages. You should always work with an attorney who can help you document and present your damages in a way that will ensure that you maximize your financial recovery.
At Brassfield, Krueger & Ramlow, Ltd., our Illinois dog bite attorneys are standing by 24/7, ready to assist you with your claim. If you were injured by a dog, please get in touch with our team today to set up a free, no-obligation review of your case.
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