No matter how much you love dogs, being bitten is a terrifying ordeal. Dogs can inflict serious physical injury, and the emotional trauma of an animal attack could last forever.
State law makes a dog owner liable for any injuries from an unprovoked attack. Monetary damages could cover lost time at work, medical expenses, psychological counseling, and other losses. Consult an Elgin dog bite lawyer if you or your loved one suffered severe injuries in an animal attack. A dedicated personal injury attorney at The Kryder Law Group could help you heal.
Dogs Bites Can Lead to Serious Damage
A typical medical complication of a dog bite is a bacterial infection. Rabies could be transmitted from a dog to humans, which is fatal if left untreated. In rare cases, a dog bite could cause tetanus. Bites also cause tears in the skin, leading to bleeding, pain, and potential scarring. A severe bite could lead to traumatic amputation of the nose, ears, lips, or fingers, and a bite from a powerful dog could crush a person’s bone. Even a less severe attack could have lingering mental health impacts.
A dog’s owner could be responsible for compensating for all the effects of a dog attack, including a victim’s pain, fear, scarring, and emotional anguish. A seasoned attorney in Elgin could help a family calculate the extent of their losses to ensure any settlement is adequate for the harm caused by the dog.
Law Related to Dog Attacks
In the past, Illinois followed the traditional rule that dog owners were liable for damages only if they knew a dog tended to bite. In practice, a dog could bite once without penalty to its owner. After the first bite, an owner would know of a dog’s inclination and be liable to any subsequent victims.
That changed when the Legislature enacted 510 Illinois Compiled Statutes §5/2.05a, which imposes strict liability on dog owners for the results of an unprovoked attack. Strict liability means that an owner is responsible for a victim’s injuries even they themselves were not negligent. A victim must prove that a specific dog caused their injuries for this system to apply.
However, law does not impose liability in every situation. Liability applies only if an attack is unprovoked, which leaves room for a dog owner to claim an injured person threatened, teased, or annoyed the dog. In addition, an owner is not liable if an individual did not have permission to be on the property. A lawyer in Elgin could review the circumstances of a dog bite and advise whether strict liability might apply to a particular case.
Negligence Claims for Dog Bites
If strict liability does not apply in a specific case, an attorney for a dog bite victim in Elgin could file a negligence action against a dog’s owner. The victim must prove the owner did not exercise a reasonable degree of caution to prevent an attack.
If the dog was running loose off its property, the owner violated Elgin’s strict leash law, which requires them to restrain a dog unless they are on their own property. Violation of this ordinance is evidence of negligence. Even if the dog was loose in its front yard, which is legal, the owner might be liable in some circumstances. For example, the owner could be responsible if they did not supervise the dog near a passerby or post a warning sign advising a neighbor or pedestrian of the dog’s presence.
Consult an Experienced Elgin Dog Bite Attorney About Your Claim
Animal attacks are traumatic events, and owners who do not control their dogs must be held accountable. Pursuing a claim after a being attacked by a dog could allow you to heal with fewer financial burdens.
To preserve your rights, speak with an Elgin dog bite lawyer as soon as possible. Contact our firm today to set up an appointment.