Former State's Attorney With Over 38 Years of Experience

Dog bites: your grounds under the law

More than one bite is known as a dog attack, including knockdowns and scratches. A soft bite can be from trained dogs or puppies, usually when they are playing.

Dog bites happen when dogs are fighting, military or police dogs are working, and sometimes dogs bite when there is mistreatment by a person or other animals.

When you get a dog bite that cuts through your skin, bacteria from the dog’s mouth can get into your body, causing tetanus infection, rabies, or sepsis. There are signs of redness, pain, swelling, and oozing when one has been infected.

A victim of dog bites should have access to immediate medical care and be treated to prevent traumatic complications. It is especially crucial if the dog has rabies or if the dog owner thinks the dog has rabies.

bite wound, fatal dog attacks

Victim’s Grounds Under the Law

Some laws protect dog bite victims, allowing them to get financial compensation for the damages. Here are the rights that the victims have and the legal options available.

  • A dog–bite statute – Dog bite laws make dog owners responsible for dog bites and injuries due to carelessness or the dog’s history.
  • The dog bite victim can prove that the dog owner knew the dog caused that type of injury.
  • One–bite rule. The dog owner might be liable for the dog bite wounds and other damages if they had known their dogs could hurt a person.
  •  There are court laws that make dog owners who are unreasonably careless to be liable.
  • The dog bite victims can prove that the incident happened because the dog owner was unreasonably careless. For example, they may have left the gate open, and the dog runs out and bites someone.
  • Dangerous dog laws – Require dog owners to take extra precautions when their pets injure someone. If the owner fails to cooperate with the restrictions, they risk high criminal penalties.

Compensation and the Filing of a Lawsuit

Depending on the situation and local laws, dog owners are commonly liable when their dogs injure someone. It means the dog owner or their insurance companies might pay you for damages which include;

Medical Bills

This includes bills from doctors, physical therapy, medications, and any other dog bite treatments. The dog owner should pay for those injuries made worse by the dog’s attack. For example, if someone elderly who has a back problem is attacked by your pet and now needs surgery, you will pay for all the medical expenses.

Multiple Damages

If a dog has been declared dangerous, the owner may be liable for considerable damages and pay double damages if the dog attacks someone else. The dog owner can also pay for double damages if the dog has hurt someone else before.

Losing Income

Victims are entitled to compensation for any income they might lose when they take time off for treatment. If the victim has some difficulty working in the future, they may be compensated for the loss in earning capacity.

Physical Pain

There is always pain and emotional and mental suffering after a dog attack. This happens due to extensive medical procedures and trauma from dog attacks. Victims may suffer from anxiety and fear when they come near dogs in the future, sleeplessness, and other psychological symptoms.

When the pain and suffering are expected to continue, one may get an amount in settlement for the future. Children may fear dog bites more, so the courts always give them better compensation. The parents do not get compensation for their suffering because their child sustained dog injuries.

Here are the steps one should take when you suffer dog attacks and have sustained serious injuries

  • Get the names and contacts of the dog owner and ask if they have any liability insurance, even if you do not think you need compensation.
  • Get information on any witnesses as you will need them to back up your story on what transpired on that particular day or time. In some instances, you may not agree with the owner or in case you do not know the dog owner. However, you can get information on the dog and dog owner from the Animal control authorities.
  • You should seek immediate medical attention and then keep the doctor’s records and copies of the medical bills.
  • Report the incident to the animal control authorities if the pet has no license tag and you have no idea who owns it. The dog is quarantined to see if it has rabies, and you can also check if the dog has ever attacked someone from the animal control unit. This is very helpful as you can negotiate with the insurance people or the dog owner to win the case in court.

Dog Bite Injuries

If you happen to be bitten by someone else’s dog, or you are the dog’s owner, it is a good idea to talk to a personal injury lawyer. They will advise on how laws in your area will apply in your situation and what to do next. Have a meeting with a criminal defense lawyer if there are criminal charges after your dog has injured someone.

Who is Liable?

The injured victim cannot hold the dog owner liable. If you provoked the dog, for example, by teasing or hitting it, if you were trespassing and you were not allowed to be on the dog owner’s private property, and if you were breaking the law when you got the dog, attacked.

Suppose you contribute to the risk of dog attacks. For example, ignoring the beware of dogs sign shows you knew about the risk of injury, but you took the chance anyway. If you were careless therefore contributing to the dog bite injury.

For more information on dog bite injury and a free case evaluation, contact Michael J. Brennan at Orland Park office 16521 s 106th Ct, Orland Park, IL 60467. Call our office at 708-801-6762 to book an appointment today.

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