Former State's Attorney With Over 38 Years of Experience

Dog Bites and Rabies Threat in Orland Park

At Michael J. Brennan, Injury & Accident Lawyer, we stand up for people who have been bitten by dogs across Orland Park. Dog bites can lead to infections like rabies, which are very harmful. Even though vaccines have improved, rabies risk is still a worry after a dog bite. If you or someone you care about has been bitten by a dog and needs legal advice, contact us for a free consultation.

Do You Need a Lawyer?

What a dog bite–or any accident–brings is uncertainty. Not only could you get rabies after a bite, but you’ll likely have other injuries to deal with. At the same time, every dog bite is different. So, whether or not you need a lawyer depends on your circumstances. If the bite was minor, you probably don’t need to worry about taking legal action. However, if there’s issues like rabies or other more serious injuries, my team can help you. Here’s how:

  • Legal evaluation – First, we’ll assess your situation and discuss your choices, whether it’s pursuing an injury claim or a lawsuit. We’ll outline the steps and what you can expect. Your initial consultation with us is always free.
  • Gathering evidence – A key aspect of your case will be gathering evidence. You can collect items such as medical records, photos, videos, and more, but our team can assist in organizing and presenting it. We’re also able to consult medical experts if there’s a concern about rabies.
  • Building an effective case – Using evidence, records, witness statements, and your account of the incident, we’ll create a timeline to construct a strong case for you.
  • Simplifying the process – Above all, we’ll make the entire process easier for you. Dealing with a dog bite can be traumatic and challenging while injured, but we can handle the legal aspects of your claim, allowing you to concentrate on recovering physically.

Regardless of your options, my firm has the experience and resources to streamline the process. You can also have peace of mind knowing that there’s no obligation to hire us and if you do decide to move forward, there’s no upfront cost for you.

How is Liability Decided?

In a dog bite, a big question you’ll need to answer regards liability. Illinois law makes this fairly straightforward, though. Dog owners are “strictly liable” for any injuries or other damage caused by their dog.

Rabies Threat

What this means is that when you get bitten and begin to suffer rabies complications, it’s the owner of the dog that is legally responsible for covering your costs. Obviously, this can vary from case to case, but rabies is a very serious health concern and can cause a variety of problems for you:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Hyperactivity
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Excessive saliva production
  • Hydrophobia (fear of water)
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Partial paralysis
  • Seizures
  • Paranoia
  • Coma

Much like any other injury, these symptoms will vary from case to case. As such, you may experience some of these symptoms, or even multiple symptoms. What’s important for you to remember is that you have the legal right to file an injury claim–but there’s certain things you’ll need to do to bolster your claim.

Bolstering a Dog Bite Injury Claim

While not all dogs carry rabies, it’s important to adhere to state regulations requiring vaccination for every dog. Unfortunately, some owners may neglect this responsibility. If you or someone you know is bitten by a dog and there’s a suspicion of rabies, taking immediate action is crucial in effectively combating the virus.

  • Disinfect your wound – Wash the wound right away with soap and water. You’ll also want to use alcohol or peroxide to disinfect the wound, as well.
  • Get medical attention immediately – This might seem obvious, but you should get medical care right away after the dog bite. This will take care of your wounds and can also take care of any rabies complications.
  • Find the dog’s owner – Do everything you can to get the dog owner’s name, contact information, and details from any witnesses. This information is critical to your claim and legal options.
  • Report the incident to animal control – Contact Orland Park’s animal control agency or police department regarding the dog bite. This is important for all dog bite cases, especially if there’s a risk of rabies. Explain your worry about rabies and ask for help in finding the dog to check if it’s vaccinated.
  • Document what happened and take pictures – Take pictures of injuries and the attack location. Provide a detailed description to your own insurance carrier, including the date, time, location, and information about the dog and its owner.

Again, what you’ll need to do is specific to your dog bite incident. That said, taking these steps will help you with what should be your top priority: your health and safety. It has the added benefit, though, of strengthening your claim for damages.

Damages in a Dog Bite Claim

No matter what the circumstances are that surround your dog bite experience, it’s almost always sad and traumatic. After all, even if you don’t own a dog yourself, you probably know someone that does and interact with it on a regular basis. Most dogs are loved members of their families, and are by and large well-behaved and trained. Still, dog bites can happen, and when they do, they often cause damage.

In terms of your legal options, you have two ways to recover financial support and benefits under the law: filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. Both of these processes are fairly similar, with the main difference being that an insurance claim happens outside of court, while a lawsuit happens inside the court system. Both options allow you to recover certain “damages” from the dog’s owner–more specifically their insurance company:

  • Medical expenses and other related costs
  • Lost income or loss of earning potential
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of quality of life or companionship
  • Costs relating to scarring, disfigurement, or permanent disability
  • Repair or replacement costs for any personal property

As with any claim, the extent of damages depends on the specifics of your case, including the severity of your injuries and other losses. It’s crucial to file within Illinois’ statute of limitations, which typically allows two years from the date of the incident to file a claim.

Legal Support and Guidance After an Orland Park Dog Bite

Any dog bite carries the risk of injury and health concerns, but this becomes more urgent when the threat of rabies is involved. Even though there’s regulations in place that require dogs to be vaccinated for rabies, it’s not always enforced or even possible for dog owner’s to do. At MJB Law, my firm will be there to hold the dog owner and anyone else involved accountable for their actions. If you or a loved one have been bitten by a dog and want to discuss your case, contact us today for a free consultation.

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