Approximately 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year in the United States, and many of them are right here in Illinois. Of these, more than 800,000 people require medical treatment for their injuries. Injuries from dog bites always have the potential to be very serious, and wounds from a bite often become infected. If you have been hurt, you may be able to file a claim to recover compensation for your injuries. Below, our Illinois dog bite lawyer explains the process.
Under the Illinois Animal Control Act, you can file a claim for compensation after a dog bite, if you can prove certain aspects of your case. The most important elements to prove are as follows:
The majority of people who file a dog bite claim can prove they were legally on the property at the time. The only exceptions to this are trespassers and people intending to commit a crime on the premises. Proving the second element of your claim, that the dog was unprovoked, is more difficult. Even unintentional provocation, such as accidentally stepping on the animal’s tail, could pose a challenge when filing a claim.
To successfully file a claim, you must identify the owner of the dog. This is sometimes easy if you know the owner, or if the attack happened on the owner’s property. Other times, such as when many dogs are running loose at a dog park, it is more difficult to identify the owner of the dog. After you have identified the owner, you should then also ask them for their insurance information. Homeowners’ insurance often covers dog bites.
When proving your claim, having evidence to prove your case is essential. Evidence after a dog bite injury may include pictures of your injuries, pictures of the location where the bite occurred, and your medical records. If you are suffering psychological injuries, such as a sudden fear of dogs, you should also document this. Medical records and invoices for mental health counseling can provide this evidence.
In Illinois, you only have two years from the date of the dog bite to file a claim. This is known as the statute of limitations. If you do not file within that two-year timeframe, you will lose your legal right to claim any damages at all, now or in the future.
If a dog has bitten or attacked you, our Illinois dog bite lawyer at Brassfield & Krueger, Ltd. can help you through the claims process. Our attorneys understand the devastating injuries dog bites cause and we are passionate about helping our clients claim the full compensation they deserve. We want to put that experience to work for you. Call us now or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
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