Millions of families in the United States keep dogs as pets. While we like to think these animals are always behaved and loving towards people, this, unfortunately, is not the case. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 4.7 million dog bites occur each year. Almost 800,000 of those bites require medical treatment. Most of the victims are between the ages of five and nine.
According to a study conducted in 2017 by the insurance company State Farm, Illinois filed the second highest number of dog bite claims for the year, with a total of 323. Illinois falls second to California, where there were 433 claims.
It important to recognize that regardless of the breed, age, or general temperament, a dog can bite someone at any time. Because of this, our Southern Illinois dog bite lawyers at Prince Law Firm are prepared to represent you during this sensitive legal matter.
Illinois Dog Bite Laws
The Illinois Animal Control Act (510 ILCS 5/1) establishes the legal responsibilities and expectations placed on dog owners. Owners are required to keep their dogs contained on their own property or on a leash in public. They also are required to reinforce positive temperament with the proper training, as well as provide constant supervision when their dog interacts with strangers.
To receive compensation, you must provide sufficient evidence to show the dog’s owner broke the established laws and is at fault for your injuries. To prove the owner’s negligence, it’s necessary to describe how the owner acted unreasonably or failed to act.
If your dog bite occurs in the common area of a residential property, the property owner can be held liable for the dog attack.
The Illinois Animal Control Act also specifies the right to seek damages for emotional distress if the mental pain is connected to the physical injury.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
Most dog bite injuries are sustained on the hand or arm, leg or foot, and head or neck. Generally, the younger the victim, the higher up the injury is on the body.
When a dog bite victim seeks medical treatment, their injury is typically classified as a dog big; however, other diagnoses may be related to punctures, lacerations, contusions or abrasions or hematomas, cellulitis or infections, amputations or avulsions, and fractures or dislocations.
For minor injuries, the wound will need to be cleaned and bandaged. While you may not feel it’s necessary to seek medical treatment, do so right away if your wound becomes painful, warm, or swollen. This is often a sign of infection.
For more serious dog bites, medical attention is a must. Depending on the wound, stitches, staples, or surgery may be necessary. Scaring is likely.
Regardless of the severity of the injury, anyone who is bitten by a dog is at risk of getting rabies. It’s best to report the bite to your local animal control and the police department, especially if the dog appeared to be sick.
Compensation for Damages Sustained from a Dog Bite
To ensure you receive the compensation you deserve after sustaining a dog bite, it’s important to gather the following evidence and materials:
- Medical expenses and records related to the bite
- Animal control or police reports
- Photographs of the injuries
- Registration records and applicable veterinary records for the dog
- Record of any correspondence between you, the dog’s owners, or the insurance company
You may be eligible for economic and noneconomic damages to help you recover from the dog attack.
Economic damages include medical expenses, mileage reimbursement for hospital travels, loss of income, future medical costs for surgeries or cosmetic treatments, and counseling services for psychological trauma. You may also be able to seek compensation for the loss of any value to your home because of the proximity of dangerous dogs.
Non-economic damages include pain sustained during treatment, lasting psychological trauma when remembering the attack, humiliation because of permanent disfigurement, or the decrease or loss of quality of life because of the injuries.
Taking Legal Action with Our Southern Illinois Dog Bite Lawyers
To avoid a potential dog bite, it’s a good idea to learn about the signals dogs send when they’re feeling uncomfortable. Sometimes, however, an attack is unavoidable.
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, our Marion, IL dog bite lawyers will help you understand your rights and seek compensation for your medical expenses and suffering. Contact our office today for a free evaluation of your claim.