Chicago personal injury lawyer

If A Dog Bites You In Chicago

Dog bites can be traumatic. The group most at risk for dog bite injuries is children; the second most at-risk group is the elderly. Every year in the U.S., more than four million people are bitten by dogs. Amputations, disfigurement, lacerations, and long-term psychological injuries are often the results of dog bite attacks. If you’ve been injured by someone’s dog in the Chicago area, in most cases you have the right to be compensated for your medical expenses and other losses related to your injury. After obtaining medical attention, discuss your case at once with experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer Joseph Dooley.

Dogs are animals that using their strong teeth and jaws to rip apart food and flesh. This can cause severe injuries to humans, significant blood loss, and nerve damage. In Illinois, “strict liability” is the guiding legal principle in dog bite cases. In practical terms, strict liability means a dog bite victim does not have to prove that the dog owner was negligent; you need only to prove that you were injured without provoking the animal and that you had a legal right to be at the location (that is, you weren’t trespassing). If you prove that, the owner of the animal may be ordered by the court to compensate you for medical expenses and possibly for emotional damages as well.

What should you do if you are bitten by a dog? If you become a dog bite victim, seek immediate medical attention. If the dog shows signs of rabies, or if you are bitten by a stray dog that can’t be located, your health-care provider may recommend rabies vaccinations. The Illinois Animal Control Act prohibits dog owners from killing or hiding any dog suspected in a dog bite case until that dog is studied and released by health officials.

The injury does not have to be caused by a dog bite. If you are not bitten by an animal, but you’re knocked over and injured by one, you still have rights and you may still file a personal injury claim. If you or your child is the victim of a dog bite or another kind of animal attack in the greater Chicago area, now or in the future, seek immediate medical treatment. In Chicago, in cases where a bite victim does not go to an emergency room, the victim should go to a police station to report the bite in person. The police report is automatically sent to Animal Care and Control.

After obtaining medical care and filing a report of the incident, get the advice you need and discuss your legal options immediately with experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer Joseph Dooley. You may win damages for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any property damages. If the dog’s owner has liability insurance, his insurance company may be compelled to cover your costs, although some companies refuse to cover breeds (pit bulls and Rottweilers) causing the most bites. A personal injury attorney will be able to advise you and help you determine what steps you should take.

Preventing Dog Bites

Victims of dog bites often feel that they were attacked for no reason, with no provocation. Dog bites can cause scarring, a variety of diseases, and grave medical complications long after the bite. In the United States, more than 800,000 bite victims seek treatment every year, and more than 30,000 require surgery. More than 4.5 million people are bitten or otherwise injured by dogs every year in the U.S. In Illinois, if you or your child has suffered an injury due to a dog bite, an Illinois personal injury attorney may be able to help you recover compensation.

Can you seek damages from a dog’s owner if the dog bites you, knocks you over, or scratches you deeply enough to cause injury? In Illinois, the answer is usually yes, you can. Even if the dog’s owner was not directly negligent, that owner is still responsible for covering your medical expenses, with two exceptions. You may not recover damages if you provoked the dog that attacked or if you were trespassing on the property where the injury occurred.

In general, dogs bite for a variety of reasons:

  • To protect their food, water, territory, or owner
  • To protect themselves or their offspring
  • Because they are injured, ill, or feel irritated
  • Because they have been hurt, purposely or accidentally
  • Because they become overly-excited while playing

Dogs are not like us. Especially around strangers, dogs have the tendency to perceive a threat where no threat actually exists. So, even though a dog bite can seem surprising, dogs rarely bite without some provocation. There is a reason that makes dog sense a threat even if it does not particularly make sense to us. An owner is usually legally responsible if his or her dog injures another person (there are exceptions), but by recognizing the signs a that dog might be about to bite, owners and their friends and visitors can protect themselves from personal injury. These signs include:

  • Moving away quickly from someone
  • Turning its head away quickly from someone
  • Staring intently, especially if you can see the whites of the eyes
  • Whines, barks, or growls when someone attempts to touch it

Owners should work to prevent dogs from biting others, especially children, who may not recognize the signs or rightly interpret a dog’s actions. If you or your child has suffered an injury due to a dog bite, speak at once to a good personal injury lawyer. With experienced personal injury attorney  Joseph Dooley representing you, you may be awarded compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and more. Make and retain copies of all medical, legal, or insurance forms related to any dog bite injury. Try to get photographs of your wounds, scars, cuts, and bruises. Don’t accept a settlement from an insurance company without first consulting a good personal injury lawyer. Experienced personal injury lawyer Joseph Dooley will work diligently to win the compensation that is rightly yours.