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Chicago dog bite injury attorneyAnimal lovers are often more likely to be bitten by a dog than those who generally dislike dogs. People who love dogs are more likely to approach and try to pet any dog they encounter, while others are more likely to keep their distance from strange pets. If you were recently bitten by a dog, you may be wondering whether reporting the bite and pursuing a claim against the owner could cost the dog its life. Dog lovers often do not want this result, even if the dog in question has caused them harm. 

In Illinois, it is not likely that a dog will be put down simply for biting, especially if it is the animal’s first bite. However, the owner may be subjected to additional restrictions designed to reduce the likelihood of a repeat incident. Reporting the bite is generally the right move, as it not only opens the door for you to recover compensation, but it also may protect someone else in the future from getting bit. 

What Happens to a Dog After It Bites Someone in Illinois?

Generally, after a dog bites or attacks someone, it will need to be placed under supervision for a period of at least ten days. During this time, the dog will be evaluated to determine whether it is dangerous or vicious. It will also be closely watched for any signs of rabies, especially if the owner cannot prove that the dog is vaccinated. 


Illinois dog bite liability lawyerOwning a pet of any kind is a big responsibility. Pet owners must ensure that they are able to care for their pet. This can involve providing food and veterinary care as well as adequate exercise and cleanliness. One of the other major responsibilities that come with getting a dog is preventing the dog from causing harm to others.

In Illinois, dog owners are strictly liable for any injuries their pet causes. This means that dog owners are completely responsible for having such control over their pet as to prevent it from biting or attacking anyone else. Dogs with responsible owners are far less likely to ever be given the opportunity to bite. Irresponsible owners are more likely to put the dog in a position where it will hurt someone. If you were bitten by a dog, you may be entitled to recover compensation from its owner. 

What Mistakes by Irresponsible Owners Lead to Dog Bites?

There are a few basic steps all dog owners should take to drastically reduce the likelihood that their dog will injure someone. Irresponsible dog owners may contribute to dog bites by engaging in careless practices like: 


Illinois dog bite injury lawyerAnyone can be bitten by an aggressive dog. Even adults can suffer serious injuries as a result of dog attacks. Children, however, are particularly vulnerable to dangerous dogs. They are also more likely to be seriously harmed when they are attacked by a dog. Most breeds that are often associated with aggressiveness, such as pit bulls and German Shepherds, are large breeds likely to outweigh a young child. 

It is important for parents to discuss dog safety with their children to reduce the likelihood of a bite. However, even if a child knows exactly what to do around a potentially aggressive dog, they may not be able to protect themselves. If your child was injured by a dog, you may be able to recover financial compensation on their behalf. In Illinois, dog owners are responsible for preventing their pets from harming others and can be held legally liable should they fail to do so. 

Why Children Are More Likely to Suffer a Dog Bite

Adults generally have better judgment skills than children. Children may not pick up on more subtle signs that a dog is agitated or aggressive and ready to bite. Reasons that children are at greater risk of being attacked by a dog include: 


DuPage County dog bite injury lawyerWhether on a public sidewalk, at a local park, or on someone else’s property, dog bites can be frightening and dangerous. All breeds of dogs are capable of biting and causing injuries to people. While larger breeds typically inflict the most severe injuries, small dogs have a reputation for frequent nipping. Even if they do not always have the reputation of some of the larger breeds, small breeds can still pack a big bite. Smaller breeds do not appear on the list of dogs most likely to cause significant injury or deaths, but they are counted among the highest for frequency of bites.

The likelihood for a dog to bite can depend on the breed. Some larger breeds like golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers are not statistically frequent biters. At the same time, some smaller breeds, like chihuahuas and miniature poodles, are among the more aggressive breeds when it comes to the number of dog bites. That is not to say that breeds with lower biting frequencies will never bite.

Why Any Dog Can Bite

Dogs bite for a variety of reasons, including feeling threatened or stressed, which can happen to any dog. Studies have shown that aggressive behavior in canines is affected by demographic, environmental, and behavioral factors. Older dogs are more likely to bite than younger dogs. Dogs that live in a single-dog household are more likely to be aggressive than those living in a multi-dog home. The dog’s experience with the owner also plays a role. Children are more likely than adults to get bitten since they may be less accustomed to knowing the proper ways to interact with dogs.


Naperville Dog Bite Injury LawyerMore Illinois families buy dogs every year, and while most dogs never bite or injure anyone, more dogs mean more dog bites. Every year, approximately 4.5 million dog bites are estimated to occur in the U.S. and around half of these bites happen to children. The vast majority of these bites cause no or very minor injuries and do not need medical treatment. But certain dog breeds are notorious for biting aggressively and, once having bitten, not letting go—which is when the most serious injuries occur. Here are the breeds most commonly responsible for serious and fatal dog bites in the United States. 

Pit Bulls

Despite making up only six percent of the U.S. dog population, pit bulls are responsible for about 65 percent of fatal dog bites. Pit bull attacks in particular cause serious injuries because they tend to bite in more than one location, to attack without provocation, and to attack strangers. While many pit bull advocates say that when a pit bull is properly raised and trained, they can make great family dogs, pit bulls are often bred and purchased by people who intend to use these dogs as guard and attack animals. 


Like pit bulls, Rottweilers, which are often bred to act as guard dogs, have a powerful bite force of 328 psi (pounds per square inch) that can deliver dangerous injuries in an instant. Rottweilers follow immediately behind pit bulls for most deaths, although they are responsible for only 10 percent of fatal bites.  In general, dogs with shorter, wider heads bite more often and the strength of their jaw muscles and their unwillingness to relinquish after a bite is part of what makes their bites so dangerous. 


DuPage County horse kick injury lawyersAlthough Illinois may be globally known for Chicago’s outstanding food and nightlife, many Illinoisians love the rural landscape of the rest of the state. Livestock, such as cows, horses, and sheep, are kept on farms and large residential properties all over Illinois and a rural lifestyle gives ample opportunities for learning to train, care for, and spend time with farm animals. 

Horses, in particular, are often raised to be ridden for fun, shown in fairs and festivals, and used for practical purposes. While most interactions between humans and horses are safe, horses are very big animals with a particular power that anyone who has spent time around horses recognizes as a significant danger: A horse kick, especially with the hind legs, has the potential to seriously injure and even kill someone who is standing behind or beside the animal. 

More than 100,000 horse-related injuries occur in the U.S. every year, and children in particular may be more susceptible to serious injuries from a kicking horse because they are often unaware of proper horse safety and the warning signs that a horse has become agitated or spooked. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured by a horse kick in Illinois, you may benefit from a consultation with a personal injury attorney. 


b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_537743734.jpgMany thousands of people are hospitalized in America every year because of dog bites, and, unfortunately, some dog bites even result in fatalities. Although dog bites may seem like a commonplace injury, they can have serious consequences - even if, at first glance, it seems they are not serious. 

Although dogs can be well-trained, it is not always possible to completely control a dog’s actions. Some owners specifically encourage aggression in their dogs, resulting in dangerous situations in which attacking dogs can cause scars and disfigurement, traffic accidents, serious nerve damage, and other injuries. If you have been injured by a dog bite, even as an accident, consider talking to an experienced Illinois dog bite attorney. 

Common Infections From Dog Bites 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that nearly one in five dog bites becomes infected from bacteria in the dog’s mouth. Contrary to popular belief, dog mouths are full of harmful bacteria, and a bite can allow that bacteria direct access to a human’s bloodstream and soft tissue. Here are some of the most common infections that can spread from bacteria after a dog bite: 


chicago dog bite lawyerMany people feel like their dogs are members of the family. We trust our dogs around our children, and many people rely on their dogs to protect their family and home. Unfortunately, not all dogs are properly trained or restrained, and when an unleashed or roaming dog attacks your own family pet, the results can be devastating. Dogs are frequently injured and even killed by other dogs, and owners may want compensation for their distress, loss, and to prevent the attacking dog from behaving similarly in the future. Fortunately, in certain situations, Illinois law allows people whose pets have been attacked by dogs to recover damages from the dog’s owner. 

Work to Actively Prevent Dog Attacks 

The old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is certainly true in cases where a dog is attacked and killed by another dog. The best thing dog owners can do to prevent dog attacks is to make sure their own dog is properly trained, leashed, and supervised - especially if it is a small dog, like a Minpin, Dachshund, or toy breed. This is especially true in places like dog parks, where unknown dogs are roaming about freely, and each dog’s owner is not necessarily paying attention. 

If you have a neighbor whose dog is allowed to wander onto your property, speak to your neighbor whether you believe the dog poses a threat or not. Even dogs who have never displayed aggression signs can unexpectedly attack dogs and people. 


illinois dog bite lawyerBeing attacked by a dog can be a terrifying experience that leaves you both physically and mentally scarred. The injuries caused by even a single dog bite can be severe and permanent. Some injuries may fade over time, but others may not. Especially when parts of the body like the hands and face are bitten, a dog bite victim’s injuries can last years or even a lifetime. If you are attacked or bitten by a dog, it is important to seek prompt medical care, and then call an attorney as soon as possible. 

What Types of Permanent Injury Can a Dog Bite Cause?

Getting urgent medical attention after a dog bite may help to mitigate the extent of the harm done, but serious and disabling injuries can still occur. More minor bites or bites by smaller dogs may require only stitching and cause no lasting harm. However, when larger dogs bite or if an attack was severe enough, a dog bite injury could impact the rest of your life. Permanent injuries that can be sustained during dog attacks include: 

  • Disfigurement - Scarring after a serious dog attack may be intensive and permanently alter your appearance. Facial disfigurement, in particular, can be life-altering and cause significant physical and psychological damage. Plastic surgery may be necessary in some cases. 


 dog bite lawyer“Strict liability” in general means that a person is completely responsible for damages they caused, regardless of whether they were careless. In Illinois dog bite cases, strict liability is somewhat limited in scope - it does not mean that a dog owner is always liable for injuries his dog causes. However, Illinois’s strict liability dog bite law means that it does not matter whether the owner knew his dog was predisposed to injure people or other animals. An Illinois dog owner cannot escape liability by claiming that he has no idea his dog would hurt someone. If you were injured by a dog, you should contact a dog bite lawyer as soon as possible for the best chances of recovering compensation. 

How Does Strict Liability Factor Into Dog Bite Claims? 

Strict liability in dog bite cases means that the dog’s owner did not need to hknow that his dog has the predisposition to bite or attack. In Illinois, a dog owner cannot defend by saying that he did not know his dog was a danger to others. In states without this type of strict liability rule, a person injured by a dog could lose his case if the defendant can show that he was not aware of the danger his dog presented. Fortunately, this is not the case here. 

When a person chooses to have a dog, they accept the risk that all dogs can bite or hurt someone. Illinois state law takes strict liability a little further, applying it to dog-related injuries other than bites. Dogs can cause injuries by jumping up on people, tripping people while running loose, or chasing people, especially children, into the road or other hazards. Under the strict liability rule, a dog owner does not need to be aware that their dog is predisposed to causing these types of injuries either. 


Aurora Dog Bite Injury AttorneyBicyclists are some of the most frequent victims of dog attack injuries, especially when a dog is allowed to roam freely or without a leash. Dogs not only have the instinct to defend their territory, but also to chase after fast-moving objects that cross their path. Unfortunately, this means a bicyclist can be an attractive target, even for a dog that is not particularly aggressive. If you are injured by a dog while riding your bike, an attorney can help you pursue compensation from the dog’s owner.

Avoiding Dog Attacks While Biking

Coming across an unleashed dog while biking can be unpredictable and difficult to avoid. However, there are some safety precautions that can help bicyclists avoid being injured. If you see a dog in the distance while riding your bike, you may try to adjust your route to give the dog a wide berth. If the dog is closer and has already begun chasing you, trying to outrun it is often a bad idea. It may be safer to dismount and start walking your bike so that you are not as enticing to a dog who wants to chase a fast object. You can also keep your bike between you and the dog to use it as a barrier in case the dog becomes aggressive. Commanding the dog in a firm, authoritative voice may also convince the dog to back off.

Taking the Right Steps After an Injury

Dogs can cause injuries to bicyclists either by directly biting or attacking, usually on the lower legs, or by getting in a bicyclist's way and causing them to lose control of the bike. Crashing or falling off of a bike can result in severe injuries, including broken bones and traumatic brain injuries.


Aurora Dog Bite AttorneyIllinois laws are friendly to dog bite injury victims, in that dog owners are strictly liable for injuries caused by their dogs. This means that if you have been injured by a dog, you do not need to demonstrate the owner’s negligence in order to recover compensation. However, this does not necessarily mean that recovering the full compensation you deserve will be easy. There are many obstacles you may encounter, and it is beneficial to work with an experienced attorney who can help you confront them.

Challenges in Recovering Compensation for Dog Bite Injuries

In most cases, the compensation available to dog bite victims comes from the owner’s homeowner liability insurance coverage. There are several ways in which an attorney can help you navigate the challenges of filing and settling an insurance claim, including:

  • Identifying the dog’s owner - Many dog bite injuries are caused by dogs who are unfamiliar to the victim, and it is not always easy to determine who the dog belongs to, especially if it is unleashed and roaming and it has no ID tags. An attorney can help you work with local law enforcement to find the dog’s owner so that you can initiate your claim.


illinois dog bite lawyerThough most people are aware of the existence of rabies, actually contracting it may seem unlikely. In fact, the United States has mostly eliminated rabies among domestic animals like dogs and cats, thanks to the efforts of animal control departments and vaccination requirements for pets. However, a recent situation in Illinois has brought to light the fact that some dogs may still carry rabies, and with this in mind, dog bite victims should take the risk of infection seriously.

Illinois Takes Precautions in Response to Possible Rabies Exposure

The recent rabies care in Illinois stems from a group of rescue dogs that arrived at O’Hare International Airport from Azerbaijan in June. One of the dogs in the group was soon transported to Pennsylvania, where it tested positive for rabies after showing symptoms. As of yet, none of the other dogs have shown signs of infection, but efforts are in place to isolate and closely monitor them, including two dogs that still remain in Lake County, Illinois. Starting on July 14, Illinois will also benefit from a one-year, nationwide ban on imported dogs from high-risk countries.

Rabies Control and Treatment

Despite recent events, the chances of a large-scale rabies outbreak in Illinois are low. Pets who have been properly vaccinated for rabies are unlikely to contract the disease, especially if their owners closely supervise them. Rabies is also very treatable among humans, provided that early intervention is possible. When a person may have been exposed to rabies, health care providers can administer a vaccine known as postexposure prophylaxis, which neutralizes the effects of the rabies virus.


illinois dog bite lawyerDog attacks are often unpredictable, and in the most severe cases, dog bites can leave life-altering or even life-threatening injuries. Never has this been more apparent than in a recent incident in which a FedEx driver was attacked by two dogs while delivering a package to a home in southern Illinois. The dogs, who had no known history of violence, managed to escape their home and left the driver with serious bite wounds on the arms and legs, ultimately requiring his left hand and wrist to be amputated. This horrifying case brings to light several important issues that all Illinois residents should be aware of in the event that they fall victim to dog bite injuries themselves.

The Risks of On-the-Job Dog Bite Injuries

Many occupations are at risk of dog bite injuries in the course of their work. Delivery drivers, postal workers, and any employees who provide services in homes or residential areas can be exposed to dog attacks. The same is true for employees in occupations that work directly with dogs, including veterinarians, groomers, trainers, and employees at boarding kennels or animal shelters. Employees who suffer work-related dog bite injuries are often entitled to Illinois workers’ compensation benefits through their employer, whether the injuries happen at their primary workplace, a dog owner’s home, or any other location. These benefits can cover medical expenses, as well as lost wages in cases of temporary or permanent disability.

Illinois Dog Owner Liability

Anyone injured by a dog in Illinois, including an employee who is bitten while working, also has the right to pursue compensation from the dog’s owner. Because of Illinois’s strict liability law, dog bite victims do not need to show that the dog had a history of attacks, that the owner was aware of such a history, or that the owner’s negligence in any way contributed to the attack. A victim will, however, need to demonstrate that they had the legal right to be in the location where the attack occurred and that their behavior did not provoke the dog to attack.


Chicago dog bite injury lawyersAccording to a recent report from State Farm, Illinois had the second-highest number of insurance claims for dog bite injuries in 2020 among all 50 states. These statistics seem to suggest that dog bite injuries are a serious problem in Illinois under any circumstances. However, another troubling trend in the report may indicate that dog bites are likely to increase over the next few months.

Namely, the report found that throughout the United States, the month with the most dog bite claims in 2020 was March, which also marked the beginning of COVID-19 restrictions and stay-at-home orders throughout the country. Now that restrictions are starting to lift, some experts believe that this change could lead to a similar spike in 2021.

What Causes a Dog to Bite?

Dog bites can happen for many different reasons, but they are especially common when the animal is afraid or stressed. Many organizations that are familiar with dog behavior have noted that the start of the pandemic was likely a high-stress time for dogs, in part because of the change in their owner’s lifestyles and the stress of the owners themselves.


Illinois animal attack attorneysWhile dogs are the most common domestic animals involved in Illinois injury cases, other types of animals are also capable of attacking and causing serious injuries. Especially in rural areas in DuPage County and throughout the state, injuries are possible from livestock including cattle, horses, pigs, goats, sheep, and birds. Just as a dog’s owner is often liable for injuries caused by the dog, the owner of farm animals can also be liable for injuries that those animals cause.

Strict Liability in Farm Animal Injury Cases

According to Illinois law, strict liability applies when “a dog or other animal” attacks or injures someone without provocation at a place where that person is legally allowed to be. This means that the owner of the animal is liable for all civil damages, even if the attack was not a result of their negligence.

Possible examples of strict liability cases involving livestock include:


Illinois dog bit injury attorneyWhether you are spending a day at the park or you are out for a walk, jog, or bike ride, an encounter with an unfamiliar, unleashed dog may put you ill at ease, especially if the dog shows signs of aggression. In some cases, what starts as threatening behavior could turn into an attack that leaves you seriously injured. It is important to know what you should do if you are threatened by an unrestrained dog, as well as how you may be able to recover compensation if you are bitten or attacked.

How to React to a Threatening Dog

Dogs are territorial animals, and if you enter an area that they consider to be their territory, whether you are in a public place or passing by their owner’s home, they may react aggressively. If a dog growls, barks, bares its teeth, or raises its fur as you approach, it is important to stay calm and react appropriately to give yourself a better chance of avoiding an attack.

The ASPCA recommends slowing down, attempting to back away, and avoiding direct eye contact when you encounter an aggressive, unleashed dog. If possible, you should also attempt to move so that there is an obstacle between you and the dog, and in some cases, using a firm voice to command the dog to sit or stay may help to de-escalate the situation. Making sudden loud noises or approaching the dog aggressively yourself is likely to make the dog feel threatened and may make it more likely to attack, whereas trying to run away may encourage the dog to chase you. If a dog does attempt to attack you, the ASPCA recommends that you try to use an object like a bag, umbrella, or nearby stick as a shield to defend yourself, and to focus on protecting your head and face.


Illinois dog bite injury attorneysIn recent weeks, Illinois residents have dealt with the effects of major snowstorms and near-zero temperatures, including the risk of slipping and falling on icy sidewalks and driveways. This risk may increase if you encounter a dog while you are out walking, as unfamiliar and friendly dogs alike may jump on you or run into your path, causing you to lose your balance. Unfortunately, falling on ice can often lead to serious injuries including broken bones, concussions, and more. If you have been injured in a fall caused by a dog, you may wonder whether it is possible to recover compensation from the dog’s owner.

Compensation for Non-Bite Injuries Caused By Dogs

Under Illinois law, a dog’s owner is considered liable for damages when their dog “attacks, attempts to attack, or injures” a person without provocation, provided that the injured person was lawfully permitted to be in the place where the injury occurred. Notably, unlike some other states, Illinois dog owner liability law does not specify that the injuries must have been caused by a bite. Therefore, the law can apply to a person who suffers injuries that require medical attention in a fall for which a dog is responsible. The injured person can pursue both economic damages related to medical care and damaged property, as well as non-economic damages related to pain and suffering, depending on the effects of the injuries.

The Advantages of Strict Liability for Dog Attack Injury Victims

While those who are injured in winter slip and fall accidents can sometimes recover compensation based on Illinois premises liability law, they often face significant obstacles when attempting to do so. First of all, such compensation is only available when the injury happened on another person’s property. Secondly, the injured person must demonstrate that the injury happened because the property owner was negligent in their duty to keep the premises safe, such as by failing to clear a walkway of ice within a reasonable time.


Naperville dog bite injury attorneysAlthough the percentage of dog bites and attacks that result in fatal injuries is relatively small, an attack can be deadly, especially when the victim is a child or someone else who is unable to effectively defend themself. These cases can be especially devastating for the victim’s surviving family members, and while there is no way to bring the victim back, there are ways to hold the dog’s owner accountable.

Strict Liability for Illinois Dog Owners

According to Illinois law, a dog’s owner is strictly liable for all civil damages if someone is injured because the dog attacks without provocation and the attack occurs at a location where the victim is legally allowed to be. This means that a victim does not need to demonstrate that the owner’s negligence led to the attack, or that the dog had a history of violence that the owner was aware of. This strict liability applies not only to dog bites, but also any other unprovoked actions from the dog that cause an injury, including scratching and knocking a person to the ground.

A Wrongful Death Lawsuit Can Recover Damages

In most cases, an injury victim must be the one to initiate the process of pursuing compensation from the owner of the dog who caused the injuries. However, if the injuries are fatal, a personal representative of the deceased can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf, with any resulting compensation usually being awarded to the victim’s spouse or next of kin. If the victim was a child, the parents will often be the ones to initiate the lawsuit. In any case, a wrongful death lawsuit must be initiated within two years of the victim’s death.


Illinois dog bite injury attorneyMany people think of dogs as friendly animals, and this is often true, especially when they are cared for by responsible pet owners. However, if you have been bitten by a dog, you know just how dangerous they can sometimes be. In certain circumstances, a dog may be classified as dangerous, or even vicious, under Illinois law, and you may have questions about how these classifications can come into play in your case for compensation.

Illinois’s Dangerous Dog Classification

According to the Illinois Animal Control Act, there are two primary circumstances under which a dog can be defined as dangerous:

  1. When the dog is off its owner’s property, unattended by its owner, without a leash or muzzle, and acting in a way that threatens a person or their pet.
  2. When the dog bites someone without cause, if the bite does not result in a serious injury.

If the bite does result in serious or deadly injuries, or if the dog has been classified as dangerous three different times, the dog will instead be considered “vicious.” A dog may also be considered “potentially dangerous” if it is found running unrestrained and unsupervised in the company of at least three other dogs.

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Contact an Illinois Dog Bite Attorney

If you have suffered a dog bite injury, our personal injury lawyers can help you determine the actual value of the damages you have suffered, and we will work to help you recover the compensation you deserve. Call us at 630-552-6860 or fill out the form below to arrange a free consultation.

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