While dogs provide companionship and protection for countless Cook County residents, dog owners need to recognize that these animals can cause serious property damage and personal injury if left to their own devices. It is also important they realize that they are responsible for all actions their animals take.

Unlike many other states that utilize a “one-bite rule” that allows first-time offenders to escape civil liability, Illinois law assumes liability on the part of the owner of a dog and allows injured plaintiffs to hire personal injury attorneys and sue for damages. A Cook County dog bite lawyer could help you pursue compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and mental anguish if you were bitten by a dog. Call today and set up a consultation with a dedicated personal injury attorney.

The Obligations of Dog Owners in Cook County

Illinois state law holds dog owners strictly liable for the actions of their animals. This contrasts with the laws in many other states, where a dog owner may only be civilly liable for the actions of their dogs if they had reason to believe their dog was dangerous.

According to 510 Illinois Compiled Statutes 5/16, if a dog attacks another person without provocation, and that person is legally allowed to be where they are, the dog’s owner is responsible for any damage that occur. In other words, dog owners are responsible for any injuries caused by their animal as long as the victim was not a trespasser and was not harassing the dog or otherwise instigating an attack.

Defendants may attempt to avoid liability by arguing that an injured plaintiff was teasing or even attacking their animal and thereby provoked it to attack. They could also argue that the attack happened on private property and that the injured person did not have permission to be there.

In light of this, dog bite cases can be more complicated than they might first appear. However, experienced Cook County dog bite attorneys could help plaintiffs understand their rights under the law and properly investigate their claims for damages.

Typical Injuries in Dog Bite Cases

Dog bites and other instances of animal attacks can result in some very serious and sometimes catastrophic injuries. Bites from larger animals with significant jaw strength can break bones or tear at a victim’s flesh. As a result, an injured individual may be in a cast for months at a time or have to undergo significant rehabilitation to regain full use of a limb.

However, smaller animals can also cause serious health concerns after a bite. The mouths of even well-maintained dogs contain millions of bacteria that could enter the bloodstream and cause an infection if a bite punctures the skin. In addition, all victims of dog bites may need to endure painful rabies treatments.

The physical injuries suffered in a dog bite case are only one part of a plaintiff’s potential demand for compensation. Bite victims may also be forced to miss significant time at work while in the hospital or attending rehabilitation appointments, and a dog bite lawyer in Cook County could work these lost wages and other related damages into a settlement demand or civil court case.

However, no matter the extent of a plaintiff’s injuries, they are limited by Illinois’ statute of limitations. Under 735 ILCS 5/12-901, this time limit to which all potential civil plaintiffs must adhere is two years from the date of the attack. A failure to file a case this time limit could bar a plaintiff from collecting compensation, so it important to act quickly when seeking damages after a dog bite.

Let a Cook County Dog Bite Attorney Help

Any type of dog attack injury, whether it stems from a bite, a cut, or just being knocked to the ground, places civil liability on that dog’s owner. Illinois law states that owners may be held to pay damages for the actions of their animals in all but a few limited situations.

A Cook County dog bite lawyer could help you seek payments for outstanding medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In the process, they could work to fully investigate the incident, anticipate any counterarguments from the defendant(s), and determine the maximum compensation available for your losses. Call today to schedule a consultation.

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