Illinois dog bite laws are determined by the 510 ILCS 5/15 of the Animal Control Act, which covers animal attacks and injuries. If a dog attacks or injures someone “who is peaceably conducting himself or herself in any place where he or she may lawfully be,” without provocation, the dog’s owner is liable for any civil damages. Illinois is a strict liability state, which means the dog’s owner will have to pay damages for the full amount of the injury caused by the dog.
A new Illinois dog bite law took effect in 2019 which aims to protect individuals and companion animals from dangerous dogs and their negligent owners. A dog that has bitten a person or another dog without justification is repeatedly found off-leash, the dog owner will be found to have acted in a reckless manner. Furthermore, that dog, and all of their other dogs, can be taken away. They may be sent to a shelter or sanctuary to be given training, and if safely possible, adopted out.
Any person found guilty of being a reckless dog owner is not allowed to own dogs for up to three years.
The law, known as the “Justice for Buddy Act“, was born out of a 2017 attack in Hanover Park where a 10-year-old Yorkie named Buddy was killed by a neighbor’s dog. The neighbor had disregarded guidelines saying that their dogs needed to be muzzled while walking. The dogs were found running at large within a week of killing Buddy.
Part of being a responsible dog owner is devoting the time and energy necessary to ensure the dog is properly trained and socialized.
My Dog Attacked Another Dog
Negligence is the first thing a personal injury attorney looks at in a dog bite case. In Illinois, when a dog causes injury to another dog, the negligent dog owner is liable for the dog’s injuries and any other resulting damages. This includes reimbursement for vet bills, dog medications, kennel fees while the dog is recovering, etc.
In certain cases of fatal dog attacks, damages may also include the replacement cost of the deceased dog.
This would be covered under your homeowner’s insurance. However, after paying the claim, many insurance companies will require a homeowner to get rid of their dog. Liability does not extend to the mental anguish or emotional distress as a result of losing their dog in an attack, and it is often very difficult to prove which dog provoked which.
I Was Bitten and Injured By A Dog. Can I Sue?
Absolutely. Illinois’ dog bite law allows a victim of an unprovoked attack to be fully compensated. This is true even if the offending dog never bit anyone before. Every year, at least 4.7 million people experience a dog bite injury in the United States. This number may be higher since not every dog bite gets reported. Many injured victims do not realize they may be eligible for compensation.
If you have suffered injuries from a dog bite:
1 — Seek immediate medical attention. It is important to clean and anesthetize the wound and determine the extent of damage to deep structures like muscles, tendons, nerves, or bones.
2 — Find out if the dog has been immunized. Rabies and tetanus are a concern, especially if the dog has not been immunized or immunization status is unknown.
3 — Consult with an experienced dog bite lawyer about your legal options.
Seeking counsel from a qualified dog bite lawyer can ensure you will be compensated for your injuries. This includes medical care, any psychological therapy for emotional distress, and days lost from work. An experienced attorney will build your case using medical evidence and other investigative tools. They will also know how to evaluate the amount of compensation you should receive.
In the face of a solid claim brought by a reputable lawyer, most dog owners or insurance companies will be ready to settle and pay you what you deserve.
Compensation for Dog Bite Victims
Palermo Law Group recently resolved the following cases in Illinois courts:
A 25-year-old woman was visiting a friend’s apartment in Sycamore, Illinois in December of 2020. The playful interaction unexpectedly turned serious when the pit-bull mix attacked her without warning. The dog bit the young woman in the face causing permanent scarring. The victim sought treatment at the emergency room and may undergo scar revision therapy in the future resulting in ongoing medical bills. Palermo Law Group resolved the case for the renter’s insurance policy limits of $100,000.
Another 25-year-old woman was working as a delivery driver for Uber Eats. She made a delivery to a home in Champaign, Illinois in September of 2020. During the delivery, the customer’s pit-bull escaped and attacked her legs. The young woman has permanent scars on her legs. The victim’s medical treatment was limited to the emergency room immediately following the attack. Palermo Law Group resolved the case for $45,000.
Legal Representation for Dog Bite Cases
Contact experienced Illinois lawyer, Mario Palermo, at Palermo Law Group to find out how you can be compensated for your dog bite injuries. Call us at 630-684-2332 or request a free consultation. Our law firm offices are conveniently located in Oak Brook, IL and downtown Chicago, and serve clients throughout Illinois.