Illinois has a statute that specifically covers dog bites and pet-related injuries. This statute, known colloquially as the “Illinois Dog Bite Statute,” states that:
If a dog or other animal, without provocation, attacks, attempts to attack, or injures any person who is peaceably conducting himself or herself in any place where he or she may lawfully be, the owner of such dog or other animal is liable in civil damages to such person for the full amount of the injury proximately caused thereby.
510 ILCS 5/2.16 (West 2015).
The statutory language establishes several important rules for bringing a successful “dog bite” lawsuit. First, the dog or animal must attack, attempt to attack, or injure a person. This means that a successful lawsuit does not necessarily require a bite, but simply an injury caused by an animal’s behavior. For example, if a dog jumps on a person and knocks her down, the injured person can pursue compensation.
Second, the injured person must lawfully be on the premises where he or she was injured. This means that a person who is injured by a dog or other animal while trespassing is not covered by the Illinois Dog Bite Statute.
Finally, the dog or other animal must not have been provoked. If a person hurts or otherwise behaves aggressively towards an animal, he is expected to know the consequences of his actions and is also not covered by the Illinois Dog Bite Statute.
While these requirements form the basis of the Illinois Dog Bite Statute, it is important to note that there are many other details and exceptions. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries from a dog, contact the Kryder Law Group for your free consultation.