Former State's Attorney With Over 38 Years of Experience

dog bite

Is the owner liable if the dog bites someone?

Dogs are domestic animals, implying that they are friendly, playful, and social. Yet, they can get scared or threatened and react by attacking the perceived threat, which can be a human or another pet. Dog attacks are common in the United States, leading to many dog bite injuries.

When a dog bites someone, the owner will take responsibility for the pet’s action according to the Illinois law on animal attack. The dog bite victim can also file insurance claims, dog bite claims, or demand compensation via a personal injury lawyer in court. This is contained under the Dog Owner Liability Law which also includes the following:

The One-bite rule: If the dog attacks a person for the first time, some states won’t hold the owner liable or pay attention to dog bite injury claims. However, if the owner has noticed that his pet is getting violent and refuses to do something about it, that owner will be held responsible for the dog’s vicious activities. Some states have dumped the rule and will hold any owner liable, first time or not.

The Negligence Law – The dog owner is liable if the dog attack incident resulted from his negligence in regulating the dog’s activities.

A Chicago dog bite lawyer can help you with a dog bite injury case in line with Illinois dog bite laws.

However, the circumstances surrounding the dog attack incident can determine if a dog bite claim or demand for compensation will be valid or reduced for the pet owner. It means that there are exceptions to the dog bite laws, and they include circumstances like:

  • If the dog was provoked by the victim and had no choice but to react
  • If the victim was committing a criminal offense when the incident occurred, including trespassing on private property
  • If the victim can’t provide visible evidence of being injured by a dog
  • If the victim was aware of the risk of a dog-bite
  • If the injured person was negligent and intentionally got himself into harm’s way

Let’s go over these exceptions in detail

If the Dog was Provoked

Dog owners can get away with dog bite cases if their pets were provoked to wrath. If the victim attempted to harm the dog by hitting it, the dog has no option but to defend itself, and that closes the case. However, the provocation varies, and the court can use its discretion to pass a verdict based on the circumstances. The owner might get away with the case if the dog-bite victim:

  • Was I meddling in a dog fight?
  • Accidentally stepped on the dog’s tail
  • Spraying harmful substances on the dog in self-defense
  • Teasing or petting the dog without the owner’s consent or in the absence of the owner

If the Victim was Aware of the Risk of a Dog Aggression

Dog owners in Chicago can come out of dog bite cases unscathed if evidence proves that the victim was aware of the risk involved in associating with their dog or is aware a dangerous dog is around but ignored it. A typical example is the “Beware of Dogs” sign, which every responsible person should read and avoid the area. This exemption is also common among veterinary doctors, who count it as one of the hazards of their job. They could get bitten by a dog at any time, leading to serious injuries, and won’t hold the owner liable.

If the Victim Can’t Provide Visible Evidence of a Bite

Sometimes, a dog might charge at a perceived adversary, snap, or attempt to inflict injury through biting but fail to carry out the actual harmful action. Many dog-bite victims who file a dog-bite injury claim sometimes fall into this category.

The dog’s owner is only liable if the victim can show the court evidence of an actual dog bite on a body part with visible signs of bleeding. If the victim was only frightened by the dog and felt violated, that dog bite case won’t fly even with the best dog bite attorneys.

If the Victim was Violating the Law or Trespassing

In some states, the owner is free of lawsuits if the victim was committing a crime when the incident occurred. However, the crime must be serious and not just a minor misdemeanor.

In terms of trespassing, the dog owner won’t be responsible for the dog’s attempt to protect private property when the victim is trespassing. Owners of private properties and restricted areas with clear “out of bounds” signs will easily get past cases like these.

If the Injured Person was Negligent or Careless

In this case, most states usually hold the dog owner liable, but not fully. The court will weigh the degree of negligence by the injured person and issue a verdict. It’s called the comparative negligence rule. So, if the court finds that the injured person was 30% careless in the circumstances that led to the dog bite, the dog owner will only pay 30% compensation. However, If the victim’s negligence was weighed to be 50%, most states will deny the victim any compensation.

Get Help From a Reputable Lawyer

Having a pet is great and shouldn’t wreck your finances with compensation payments. If your dog has injured someone, it’s a complex situation, as there are many sides to it in the eyes of the law.

If you’ve already been slammed with a dog bite lawsuit in Chicago, the best you can do is get a Chicago dog bite lawyer to review your case and know how to defend you.

If you’ve sustained a dog bite injury from someone else’s dog, you also need one of the best Chicago dog bite attorneys to study your case and know the compensation options available to you.

At Michael J Brennan, our personal injury lawyer has 35 years of experience in accident and dog bite incidents. You can benefit from his tact, expertise, experience, and history of winning streaks helping dog bite victims.

Contact us now for a free case review and let the best dog bites attorneys Chicago ever has to handle your case.

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