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Naperville dog bite injury attorneysThough you may have seen portrayals of rabies in the media, it may not be a disease that you ever expect to contract yourself. It is true that rabies infections among humans are uncommon in the United States, but if you are bitten by a strange dog, it is still important that you take all of the necessary health precautions to avoid becoming infected with rabies or another disease.

What is Rabies and How Does it Spread?

Rabies is a virus that uniquely affects mammals and is primarily spread through the saliva of an animal that has been infected. In the United States, rabies is carried mostly by wild animals including foxes, raccoons, skunks, and bats, but it can also be spread by a dog that has not received a rabies vaccination and has been in contact with wild animals. If you are infected with rabies, it can progress through your nervous system and severely impact your brain activity, resulting in confusion, hallucinations, fear of water, other unusual behavior, and death. Early treatment is crucial to stop the spread and prevent the more serious effects from taking hold.

What Should I Do If I Have Been Bitten?

If you have been bitten by a dog, whether or not you believe it may be rabid, you should clean your wounds as much as possible and seek immediate medical attention. Your doctor can not only care for your injuries, but can also administer treatment in the form of postexposure prophylaxis (PEP), which can eliminate the rabies virus before it has the chance to travel throughout your body. Additionally, your doctor can determine whether you may be at risk for other common dog bite infections, including pasteurella, tetanus, and MRSA or staph infections.

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Naperville dog bite injury lawyerIn the warm summer months, taking your dog to a dog park can be a fun activity for you and a great way for your dog to socialize and get exercise. However, because Illinois dog parks often allow dogs to run without a leash, there may be a greater risk of dog bite injuries. Before going to the park, you should take safety precautions that can protect you, your dog, and everyone around you.

Preparing For Your Trip to the Dog Park 

Dog park safety can start well before you arrive at the park itself. Here are some things you can do to promote a positive dog park experience:

  • Train your dog well: Before you let your dog off-leash at a dog park, make sure that it understands commands including “sit,” “stay,” and “come,” and that it will respond to your commands regardless of the environment. You can also attend dog obedience classes to acclimate your dog to the presence of other dogs.

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Naperville dog bite injury lawyerIf you are a dog owner, you likely consider your dog to be a member of the family and want to keep it safe from harm. If your dog is attacked by another dog, the situation can be extremely upsetting, and it is understandable that you would want some kind of compensation for your distress. In Illinois, it is possible to pursue recovery from the other dog’s owner under certain circumstances, and an experienced dog bite attorney can help you make your case.

Keeping Your Dog Safe From Other Dog Attacks

The best way to avoid the trauma of an attack on your dog is to take steps that can prevent it from happening in the first place. As a responsible dog owner, you should make sure to do all of the following:

  • Train your dog: Working with your dog on your own or attending a dog obedience class can ensure that your dog is comfortable around other dogs and abstains from behavior that could provoke another dog to attack.

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Naperville dog bite injury lawyerDogs are one of the most popular pets in the United States, but along with all of the positive aspects of owning a dog, there is a downside. Millions of Americans are bitten by dogs each year according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and young children are especially at risk for both serious injuries and wrongful death resulting from dog bites. The good news is that many dog bite injuries are preventable, and whether your family owns a dog or simply comes into contact with dogs on a regular basis, the following are some preventative measures you can take to keep your children from becoming victims.

  1. Think carefully before adopting a dog. Before you decide to bring a dog into your household, you should research common behaviors of different breeds and learn about a dog’s personal history to ensure that the one you choose is a good fit for a home with young children. You should also make sure that you have the time and ability to properly train a dog and educate your children on dog ownership so as to minimize the potential for a bite.

  2. Supervise your children when a dog is around. If you have a dog in your home, you should always supervise its interactions with your children or guests. The same is true for other dogs you and your kids may encounter throughout the day, for example, at a park or on a walk. Supervision is especially important for infants and very young children who have not yet learned how to behave around dogs.

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Will County dog bite injury attorney

As COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease in some places, one can expect to see an increased amount of activity outdoors, including more people out and about walking their dogs. Even though most of these dogs you will see are docile and friendly, a dog bite incident can occur at any time. Whether caused by poor ownership and handling or a simple misinterpretation of a dog’s body language, the effects of a dog bite can be serious, potentially fatal, and threaten not only the physical health of the victim but his or her mental state as well.

Considering the damage a single dog bite can do, it is unfortunate for residents of Illinois that the state ranks among the highest for dog bite incidents. Despite having one of the lowest rates of dog ownership in the United States, Illinois residents filed 822 claims for dog bites in 2018, according to a recent article from MoneyWise. This makes Illinois the fourth highest in the nation for dog bite-related claims, topping claims made by residents of Wisconsin, Michigan, and even New York.

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Naperville dog bite injury lawyerDogs, much like their human owners, are social creatures — they play, communicate, and sometimes show aggression. These behaviors may, however, be interpreted incorrectly by humans. The fact of the matter is, even dog-owning Americans can have difficulty interpreting their best friend’s behavior because play fighting may often be indistinguishable from the real thing. Dogs will growl, bark, bite, and scratch during play fighting, exactly the same as they may behave during an actual fight. Fundamentally, this is unlikely to change over the course of a dog’s life, and even adult and elderly dogs may engage in nipping and play biting, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). It is important to be aware of dogs' behaviors in case any encounters turn aggressive and result in injuries.  

The Difference Between Mouthing and Biting

A playing dog may engage in a behavior commonly referred to as “mouthing”— or biting without much force or intent to cause damage. Mouthing is a common behavior that most dogs engage in, irrespective of breed, size, age, or temperament, among other factors. Although a mouthing dog may not intend to cause any damage, mouthing can still result in injury. Nonviolent dogs may still harm humans or other dogs while mouthing as the dog may be unaware of how much force they are using and how much force is necessary to cause injury.

If you are playing with a dog and worry their playful mouthing may injure you, or even turn aggressive, here are some general precautions listed by the ASPCA to avoid escalating things:

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Chicago personal injury attorney dog bite attack

In the United States, many people keep animal companions in their homes, and as part of their family. By far, the most popular animal to have as a pet in the United States is a dog. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 38 percent of American households own at least one dog. Keeping a dog as a pet has been found to have many benefits, such as relieving stress levels. However, they can also pose a risk to your family and others. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), more than 4.5 million people are bitten by a dog each year in this country. Of those bitten, approximately 800,000 of them end up having to seek medical treatment for their injuries, with at least half of those being children. Injuries from a dog bite can range from a superficial laceration to nerve damage to disfigurement and scarring. Children are by far the most common victims of dog bites, often suffering from injuries to their head, face, or neck during the incident. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you explore your options for seeking compensation.

Tips for Staying Safe

Most dogs are rather friendly toward humans and other animals. However, it is important to remember that all dogs, no matter their breed, age, or size, have the potential to bite. When it comes to keeping your children safe from dog bites or other animal bites, it is important to remember that most dog bites can be prevented. Educating your children on how to approach and interact with animals is the best way to keep them safe. Here are a few other tips to follow:

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Naperville dog bite injury lawyerFor many families in Illinois, it is almost unthinkable that their beloved pet dog may cause injury to someone, though even peaceful dogs can bite given the right circumstances or if provoked. Dealing with a dog bite injury can be traumatic for the victim and also cause distress for the owners for whom the dog may be considered a member of the family. In cases such as these, Illinois has a specific procedure in place to handle the potentially dangerous animal and analyze the facts of the case.

What Happens After a Dog Bite

Although a dog from Illinois is no more or less likely to bite than a dog from another state, Illinois state law places more liability on the owners of dogs who bite or attack. According to the Illinois Bar Journal, State Farm paid $14 million for dog-related claims in Illinois in 2016, second only to California. The penalties for violent incidents involving dogs can be much stiffer in Illinois than in neighboring states because of the Animal Control Act. The potential timeline and repercussions for a dog bite may vary with factors such as a civil suit or appeal, but you can expect the following to occur immediately following a dog bite:

  1. The dog bite must be reported to an appointed veterinarian licensed by the State of Illinois within 24 hours.
  2. The dog will then be placed in confinement for a period of 10 days for observation, which may be reduced or extended depending on the results of the observation period, the discretion of the veterinarian, and other extenuating circumstances.

While the law clearly prescribes what must occur immediately following a dog bite incident, what happens next depends on the unique details of each case. The court will look at whether or not the dog was leashed, if the dog has acted aggressively in the past, and whether or not the dog was provoked to aggression. Depending on such factors, the owner of the aggressive dog may face criminal charges, civil charges, or both.

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Wheaton dog injury lawyerIf you are a dog owner, you have probably experienced a variety of dog-to-dog socialization moments while out on a walk. When another dog owner asks if their dog can say hello (or vice versa) it is perfectly acceptable and even encouraged, since dogs must be socialized to prevent them from reacting poorly to other dogs. There are effective strategies that you can use in these situations to prevent your dog from getting bit or from getting injured yourself.

Letting Dogs Greet and Play With Each Other

If you are familiar with the body language that dogs use when a person approaches them, that information applies in animal interactions as well. One detail to pay attention to is whether or not both dogs are spayed or neutered. It will be difficult to tell at a glance whether a female dog has been "fixed," but this is often easily noticeable for male dogs. This can have a significant impact on the interactions between dogs, since non-neutered males are likely to exhibit dominant behavior towards other males, and females that have not been spayed are likely to show dominant behavior towards other females. If you cannot assess this, there are a variety of other behaviors to watch for to keep your dog safe.

Almost every time two dogs interact for the first time, they will want to familiarize themselves with the other’s scent to establish trust. If the other dog is very tense, has their tail between their legs, and will not let your dog sniff them, that is already a sign that you should slow things down. If you let your dog get too excited at this point, you risk eliciting a fearful bite in response. 

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Kane County dog bite injury attorney

Victims of animal attacks can suffer serious to life-threatening injuries. The state of Illinois already holds pet owners financially responsible for any injuries that their dog causes to another person or animal. The Justice for Buddy Act took effect in 2019, and it imposes stricter penalties on negligent dog owners. If you or your pet were bitten by an aggressive dog, it is important to seek medical attention if needed, as well as professional legal counsel. The Act can impact your personal injury lawsuit and punish a negligent owner to curb recurring attacks and rehabilitate an aggressive dog.

The Cost of Negligence

The Illinois legislature created the Justice for Buddy Act in response to the death of a dog named Buddy, a Yorkie that was attacked by an aggressive dog in Hanover Park. To make matters worse, the owner was already instructed to keep his dog muzzled when outside for walks. Shockingly, the dog in question was found roaming the neighborhood off-leash a week after Buddy’s death.

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DuPage County dog bite injury lawyerWith sharp teeth and strong jaws, dogs can cause serious damage to soft tissue when they bite. Perhaps the most obvious injuries are scars that form as the body heals. However, another type of injury that can perhaps have more long-lasting consequences is nerve damage

At Mevorah Law Offices LLC, our team helps obtain compensation for dog bite victims. We know the right strategies to help our clients receive justifiable compensation. Please speak with one of our Illinois dog bite lawyers to learn more about how to obtain a settlement for nerve damage and other injuries.

Treating Nerve Damage

Many dog bites lead to one of three types of nerve damage:

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Naperville dog bite lawyer emotional traumaAfter a dog attack, injured victims can seek compensation for financial losses resulting from the dog bite. Some of these losses are easy to identify, such as the costs of medical care to treat injuries and lost wages if the victim could not work while recovering. However, dog bite victims can also receive compensation for emotional distress caused by the incident. This distress is more difficult to convert into dollars and cents, but that does not mean accident victims should not pursue compensation for these types of damages. The help of a seasoned attorney is necessary to properly value the worth of the victim’s emotional damages.

Examples of Emotional Distress

A dog attack is a harrowing event. The shock and fear someone experiences while the attack is happening certainly warrants compensation. Even after the attack, many victims will continue to experience emotional distress. If they have suffered terrible physical injuries, like disfigurement or permanent nerve damage, then they could have a negative emotional response to those injuries as well.

It is not unusual for dog bite victims to experience the following:

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Naperville personal injury lawyerLast month, in a rare event, a coyote attacked a six-year-old boy in Lincoln Park. This is the first reported coyote attack in the Chicago area for at least a decade. Shortly thereafter, a 32-year-old man reported a similar animal attack that some believe may have also been an attack by a coyote. With coyote mating season beginning in February, there is an increased likelihood of coyotes making appearances across the greater Chicagoland area. These interactions between coyotes, people, and their pets can quickly become dangerous due to a more urgent need for food during the season.

Staying Safe Around Coyotes

While coyotes attacking humans is rare, with about 2,000 coyotes in the Chicago area, you are bound to witness coyote sightings. According to the Urban Coyote Research Project, the number of coyote attacks on pets per year had nearly quadrupled since the prior decade. Trends suggest that these attacks on pets, especially small dogs and cats, are only going to increase over time. Here are some ways to stop coyotes from attacking you or your pets: 

  1. Do Not Instigate — In general, coyotes usually mind their own business, especially if they are not hungry, injured, or sick. Just seeing a coyote does not mean you need to take action. In fact, unless they clearly appear to pose a threat to you or your pet, the best thing to do is ignore them. Do not try to rile them up or otherwise instigate defensive behavior. 

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Plainfield personal injury attorney for fatal dog bitesWhen individuals or families are looking to adopt a dog, it is important to consider every possible factor. For example, although canines are often viewed as fun-loving, playful animals, certain sounds or actions may lead to aggressive forms of behavior. A dog bite attack can leave a victim suffering from nerve damage, disfiguring scars, and various other injuries. In the most extreme cases, a wrongful death can result from an attack. If your loved one has lost their life due to the negligence of a dog owner, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you seek financial compensation for your loss.    

Aggressive Dog Breeds

Despite the fact that a dog may seem friendly and non-threatening, it is possible that an act of aggression can happen unexpectedly. Although it is possible that any breed of dog can act violently, there are certain breeds that may be more likely to attack. For instance, some of the breeds that are more commonly linked to aggressive actions include:

  • Bulldogs

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Naperville dog bite attorney child injuriesThroughout the United States, dogs have become one of the most popular pets for people of all ages. Families will often welcome canines into their household to provide protection and companionship for their young children. Although a dog is often viewed as man's best friend, the possibility of an attack is a concern for many families, especially with younger kids. Nerve damage, scarring and disfigurement, severe injuries, and wrongful deaths can all result from a physical assault from these animals. Before allowing your child to have contact with a canine, it is important to understand what behaviors can place them at a higher risk of an attack.     

Dog Bites and Children

Children are more likely to be the victims of dog bite injuries because of their inability to recognize signs of anger and aggression being displayed by a dog. Kids who are playing with a dog might not realize the consequences of their actions, and any behavior that frightens a dog can trigger a hostile reaction. First and foremost, parents should not allow their kids to play with a dog while unsupervised. In addition, there are several things parents can do to ensure that children avoid danger, including:

  • Do not touch or play with an unfamiliar dog.

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Wheaton dog bite lawyerDogs are often viewed as furry companions to men, women, and children, and they are usually expected to be friendly and loving to whoever interacts with them. While this is true in many situations, it is impossible to predict how an animal is going to behave. Dogs may unexpectedly become violent or aggressive, biting someone and causing serious injuries. If you or a loved one have suffered a dog bite injury, you may be able to recover financial compensation from the animal's owner.

Examples of Aggressive Dog Behaviors

Dogs will typically display aggressive behavior if they feel threatened. For instance, a dog may become more hostile when protecting their territory or offspring. There are several behavioral tendencies that dogs may display that indicate that they may attack someone, such as:

  • Becoming stiff or rigid

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What Actions Can Help Prevent a Dog Attack?It is not uncommon for a person to display signs of love and affection towards a canine. Often referred to as man's best friend, a dog can be playful and joyous in many situations. However, a canine’s behavior can be impossible to predict, and severe injuries could result from a dog attack. Although it may be tempting to try and pet or interact with a dog, your conduct should be well thought out. Before any actions are taken towards a canine, there are several “Do’s” and “Don’ts” that should be considered.  

Appropriate Conduct

Due to the fact that an animal attack can be unpredictable, it is always important to consider how a canine might interpret your behavior. Regardless if you are familiar with the dog or not, a miscalculated action could put a dog into a defensive mindset. Before you attempt to interact with a canine, it is considered a best practice to:

  • Ask the owner if it is okay to pet the dog (if it is not your dog)
  • Remain still if you are approached by an unfamiliar canine
  • Curl into a ball and protect your head if you are knocked to the ground by a dog
  • Immediately report any strange behavior to the dog’s owner or appropriate party

Behaviors to Avoid

Scars and disfigurement, nerve damage, or wrongful death can be the aftermath of a dog bite attack. The aggressive nature of a canine should not be taken lightly, considering that nearly 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States. To better increase your chances of avoiding an attack, an individual should not:

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How Does Illinois Hold Negligent Pet Owners Liable for Dog Attacks?According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), more than 4.5 million people each year are bitten by dogs in the United States. In addition, it is estimated that roughly 800,000 victims require medical attention after an attack. Loss of wages coinciding with treatment can lead to a significant financial strain for the victim. In order to hold the correct party responsible for a canine’s reckless actions, the state of Illinois has enacted several laws and regulations for dog attacks. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite, it is important to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney.  

Strict Liability

In Illinois, a canine owner can be responsible for any injuries that occur if their pet attacks another person. According to (510 ILCS 5/16), if a dog or other animal attacks, or attempts to attack, a person without provocation in any place where the victim may lawfully be, the owner can be liable for the full amount of the injuries. For example, if a dog attacked a house guest without a justifiable cause, the owner could be held accountable. It should be recognized that liability laws vary from state to state.   

Illinois Classifications

The Illinois Animal Control Act recognizes that certain situations and considerations may be the reason behind a canine attack. In Illinois, a “dangerous dog” is defined as an individual canine found anywhere other than its owner’s property that is unmuzzled, unleashed, or unattended by its owner, and is behaving in a threatening manner. In addition, a “vicious dog” is classified as a canine that attacks a person and causes serious physical injury or death without provocation. A dog can also be designated “vicious” if it has been classified as “dangerous” on three separate occasions.  

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What Diseases Can Result from a Dog Bite Injury?Known as man’s best friend, a dog can provide companionship and joy to animal lovers. Although dogs can be trained to follow certain behaviors, it is impossible to completely control a dog’s actions. Loud noises, unfamiliar people, or specific practices could lead to a dog acting with aggression. If a dog bite does take place, outcomes such as scars and disfigurement, nerve damage, and wrongful deaths can result. In addition, the spreading of germs can cause serious infections in a victim. If you or a loved one has been attacked by a dog, speaking to an experienced attorney can help in your pursuit of compensation.   

Types of Infections

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up to 18 percent of dog bites become infected with bacteria. Although 60 different bacteria have been linked to a dog’s mouth, only a finite amount of these germs can lead to a victim getting sick. If bacteria spread after a bite, certain infections can result:

  • Rabies: A virus that affects the brain and can be life-threatening, rabies is most commonly spread through the bite and saliva of an infected animal.    
  • Capnocytophaga Bacteria: Living in the mouth of people and dogs, these bacteria can lead to possible illnesses. Although rare, Capnocytophaga bacteria can infect humans through bites, scratches, or close contact. 
  • Pasteurella: One of the most common types of bacteria that can be spread from a dog bite, Pasteurella can cause a red infection where the bite took place. More serious diseases may result in people with a weakened immune system. Swollen glands, joints, and difficulty moving can be prevalent. 
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA): A staph infection can lead to lung, skin or urinary tract infections in people. In certain cases, MRSA can spread to the bloodstream or lungs, causing dangerous infections.
  • Tetanus: A toxin that is produced from bacteria (Clostridium tetani), tetanus can lead to rigid paralysis.

What Should be Done After a Dog Bite?

The actions a victim takes after an attack can greatly affect his or her well-being. A dog bite injury can leave an injured party with extensive medical bills, missed time at work, loss of freedom, and life-changing injuries; financial compensation may be necessary to move on. If a dog bite does occur, the person who suffered the attack should: 

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How Can Insurance Factor into a Dog Bite Lawsuit in Illinois?In the event that a person is injured from a dog bite attack, he or she may be able to hold the owner liable for civil damages. Pain and suffering, serious injuries, and wrongful deaths can result from an unprovoked animal attack. On average, homeowners’ insurance companies pay out more than $300 million per year for dog bite injuries. Medical bills, lost wages, disability or disfigurement, and trauma can all factor into the amount of compensation that the victim is owed. Depending on whether or not the guilty party has insurance, the route to compensation may be drastically different.

What to Do After the Dog Bite?

Dog bite incidents can be rather complex if the owner is a friend or family member of the victim. Despite who is involved, it is important for a victim to immediately seek medical assistance after the bite. Depending on the severity of any injuries sustained, financial compensation may be required. After the injuries are treated, the victim should gather pictures, medical records, videos, and statements to help strengthen his or her case.   

If the Owner Has Insurance

If a dog bite occurs without provocation, in a location where the injured party was lawfully allowed to be, compensation may be sought. If the dog owner has insurance, the injured person may have a better opportunity to receive restitution. Dependent on the dog owners’ policy coverage, the insurance company may help cover liability costs. Victims should be wary of an initial “low-ball” offer from the insurance company.

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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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