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Why Do Dogs Bite?

Posted on in Dog Bite Injuries

Will County Dog Injury LawyerThe physical and emotional aftermath of a dog bite can be traumatic. Understanding the reasons behind these incidents is crucial for prevention and responsible dog ownership. The following is a brief overview of four of the most common factors often associated with dog bite incidents. For more detailed information if you have been injured, contact an Illinois dog bite lawyer.

Fear and Anxiety

Dogs may resort to biting when they feel threatened or scared. Fear is a powerful motivator for aggression in dogs. Common triggers include unfamiliar people or animals, loud noises, sudden movements, or even an owner's aggressive behavior. In these situations, dogs may perceive biting as their only means of defense. Socialization, proper training, and positive reinforcement can help dogs become more comfortable and less fearful in various situations, reducing the likelihood of aggression due to fear.

Territorial Instincts

Dogs are naturally territorial animals and may protect their perceived territory, which could be their home, yard, or even their owner. When a dog feels its territory is being infringed upon, it may resort to aggression to defend it. This territorial aggression can lead to bites, especially if the dog perceives a person or another animal as threatening its space. Training and supervision can help control territorial behavior and prevent aggressive incidents.


Kane County Dog Bite LawyerWhile often seen as minor incidents, dog bites can lead to serious infections that pose a significant health risk. Dogs' mouths harbor various bacteria, and when their teeth puncture the skin, these bacteria can enter the body, potentially causing infections. The following is a brief overview of the types of infections that can result from dog bites. If you or a loved one has suffered this type of injury, contact an Illinois personal injury lawyer for legal assistance.


One of the most frequent infections resulting from dog bites is cellulitis. Cellulitis is a skin infection that occurs when bacteria enter the skin through a bite wound. It is characterized by redness, swelling, warmth, and tenderness in the affected area. If left untreated, cellulitis can spread rapidly, leading to more severe complications.

Cellulitis should not be underestimated, as it can cause systemic symptoms such as fever and chills. Timely medical intervention with antibiotics is crucial to prevent the infection from spreading and causing further harm.


Untitled---2023-09-27T095008.022.jpgDog attacks are traumatic incidents that can leave victims lasting physical and emotional scars. In many cases, the injuries sustained from these attacks result in scarring and disfigurement, which can profoundly impact a person's life. Anyone who has suffered injuries from a dog attack is entitled to pursue legal action against the liable party under Illinois law. An Illinois personal injury lawyer can help.

The Physical Toll

When a dog attacks, the physical injuries inflicted can be severe. Dogs have powerful jaws and sharp teeth that can cause deep wounds and tissue damage. These injuries often result in permanent scarring and disfigurement, which may require extensive medical treatment. This treatment can include surgery, skin grafts, and reconstructive procedures. Scarring from dog attacks can be both visible and painful. It can affect any part of the body, including the face, neck, arms, and legs.

The Emotional Impact

The emotional toll of these scars can be just as significant as the physical pain, as victims often suffer from low self-esteem and body image issues. Scarring and disfigurement can lead to psychological trauma. Victims may experience anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These emotional scars can have a long-lasting impact on a person's overall mental health and quality of life. Coping with the visible reminders of the attack can be a daily struggle, affecting relationships, self-confidence, and mental health.


Kane County dog bite injury lawyerDogs are often seen as lovable and friendly animals, but they still have the potential to cause serious injuries. Unfortunately, children are more likely to be injured in dog attacks due to their small size and their lack of knowledge about how to interact safely with dogs. Each year, more than 800,000 people experience dog bites that are serious enough to require medical attention, and more than half of these victims are children. A personal injury attorney can help families understand how to respond in these situations. Some injuries that children often suffer in dog attacks include:

Bite Wounds

When a dog bites a child, its sharp teeth can puncture the skin and cause damage on the surface and in the tissues below. Bite wounds can range from minor scratches to severe lacerations that may require medical attention. They may include:

  • Puncture wounds: These occur when a dog's teeth pierce through the skin without tearing it. These wounds can increase the risk of infections such as tetanus.


DuPage County Dog Attack Fall Injury AttorneysDog attacks can be a terrifying experience, causing physical and emotional harm to the victim. While most people associate dog attacks with bites and scratches, these incidents can also involve other types of injuries, including those suffered in falls. When a dog attack causes someone to fall down on a hard surface, such as a sidewalk, they may suffer multiple types of severe injuries, including broken bones, head trauma, and spinal cord damage. Victims of dog bites and attacks will need to understand what steps they can take to ensure they will be compensated for the injuries suffered in falls and other ways they have been affected.

Reasons Dog Attacks May Lead to Dangerous Falls

While dog bites can be very painful and can lead to issues such as puncture wounds, lacerations, infections, nerve damage, and disfiguring scars, a person may be seriously injured in other ways. Fall injuries can occur when a dog jumps on someone or makes aggressive moves. Falls may be caused by:

  • Aggressive behavior - When a dog behaves in a dangerous manner or makes moves to attack someone, the victim may instinctively try to defend themselves or escape the situation. This can lead to sudden movements or attempts to flee, which can result in a loss of balance and a fall. For example, if a dog lunges at someone, the person may try to step back or sidestep to avoid the attack, potentially tripping over an object or an uneven surface and falling.


Naperville, IL Dog Bite Injury LawyerOne of the biggest risks associated with dog bites is that the bite can become infected. Dogs’ mouths are home to many different types of bacteria that can be harmful to humans. While there is a persistent myth that dogs' mouths are cleaner than humans, it is largely untrue. Dogs have a tendency to pick up items most humans would find revolting in their mouths. When a dog bites a person and breaks the skin, bacteria from the dog's teeth can be driven deep into a person’s body. This bacteria can then multiply and cause a serious infection. In the most severe cases, an infected bite can mean that the affected body part must be amputated. As dog bites on the hand are very common, this can be a major concern. If you have been bitten by a dog, it is important to seek urgent medical care even if you do not believe the bite was particularly bad. You should then contact an attorney as soon as possible. 

6 Signs Your Dog Bite Has Become Infected 

Even if you get prompt medical care, there is still a chance of infection. It is important to recognize the signs of an infection so that you can act quickly by going to the emergency room or urgent care clinic. Signs that your dog bite may have become infected include: 

  • Swelling - While some light swelling is normal, significant swelling may signal an infection. 


Naperville, IL Dog Bite Injury AttorneysWhen a dog is off its leash and roaming without supervision, it can pose a serious threat to public safety. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, and around 800,000 dog bites require medical attention. A significant number of these bites occur when dogs are unsupervised. In these situations, dog bite victims may be unsure about their legal options, including who may be held responsible for the injuries they have suffered.

Laws Related to Unleashed and Roaming Dogs in Illinois

In general, the laws in the state of Illinois allow a person who is injured by a dog to hold the dog's owner or the person who had control of the dog liable for their injuries. As long as a person was legally allowed to be in the location where the dog attack occurred, and they did not take any actions that provoked the dog, they can take legal action to address the injuries and damages they have suffered.

However, some questions related to liability may arise in situations where a dog was roaming in a public location without being supervised by its owner or other parties. In these situations, liability will usually be based on who should have had control of the dog. If a dog escaped from its owner's yard and attacked someone in the neighborhood, the owner will likely be liable. However, if another person, such as a family member of the dog's owner, had taken the dog to a public park and allowed the dog to run around off its leash, and the dog then attacked someone walking nearby, the person who was in control of the dog may be liable.


Will County Dog Bite Injury AttorneysBeing attacked or bitten by a dog can be a traumatic experience that can leave a victim with serious injuries. Bone fractures are one type of injury that often occurs as a result of a dog attack. Depending on where a fracture occurred, the severity of the injury, and other factors, broken bones can be very painful and debilitating. By understanding when broken bones can be caused by dog bites and the treatments that may be needed to address these injuries, victims can make sure they will be able to recover, and they can also pursue compensation for their damages.

Broken Bones Based on the Location of a Bite and the Force of an Attack

In many cases, whether a dog bite will result in broken bones will depend on the force of a bite and the parts of the body that were affected. Larger dogs with strong jaws may break or crush bones when biting a person on their arms or legs. However, bites from dogs of any size may cause fractures in parts of the body with smaller, more delicate bones, such as the hands or feet.

The severity of an attack can also affect whether fractures occur. The greater the force used by a dog when biting or attacking someone, the more severe the person's injuries are likely to be. If the dog is larger or more aggressive, the chances of fractures increase. If a dog continues to bite someone on multiple parts of their body, the attack could lead to several broken bones.


Lombard Dog Bite Injury LawyerIf you or someone you love have been attacked by a dog or suffered an injury due to a dog bite, you may be unsure about the legal options available to you. Dog bites can cause multiple types of injuries, such as lacerations, puncture wounds, infections, nerve damage, and scarring. In the most serious cases, dog bites may even lead to the wrongful death of a victim. Fortunately, Illinois law states that a dog's owner or a person who was in control of a dog at the time of a dog bite is "strictly liable" for a victim's injuries and damages. This means that you do not have to prove that the person was negligent or failed to control their dog, and as long as you were not trespassing and did not provoke the dog, you can pursue compensation for your injuries. By understanding the types of compensation you can receive, you can make sure you will be able to make a full recovery from a dog bite.

Medical Expenses

In general, a dog bite lawsuit will reimburse you for all medical expenses related to the injuries suffered in an attack. This can include the costs of emergency room treatment, follow-up doctor's visits, surgeries, and rehabilitative therapy. In serious cases, extensive medical treatment may be needed, such as surgery to correct nerve damage or bones that were broken or crushed, as well as ongoing physical therapy, medications, and other forms of care. In addition to being repaid for treatment you have already received, compensation may address any future medical care that will be required.

Lost Wages

If you missed work while recovering from a dog bite, you may be repaid for all the income you would have earned during that time. In some cases, a dog bite injury may be serious enough to cause permanent disabilities, such as when a bite causes damage to the arms and hands, affecting a person's ability to perform fine motor skills and complete work-related tasks they had done in the past. In these situations, you may also be compensated for the loss of future income, as well as the benefits you would receive from continued employment.


Naperville, IL Dog Bite Injury AttorneysDog bites can be incredibly painful and traumatic experiences. Even when a person receives immediate medical attention following a dog bite, they may experience injuries that can significantly affect their health, their ability to perform tasks or participate in activities they had done in the past, and their overall well-being. In some serious cases, dog bites may result in nerve damage, which can lead to permanent disabilities.

Types of Nerve Damage From Dog Bites

Depending on where the bite occurred on the body, as well as the size and strength of the animal involved, a person could experience several different types and degrees of nerve damage. Some common forms of nerve damage resulting from dog bites include:

  • Severed nerves – When a dog's teeth puncture the skin and damage the underlying tissues, significant nerve damage can occur. In some cases, nerves may be severed, and depending on the location of the body where a bite occurred, this could result in a loss of sensation, a loss of mobility, or even complete paralysis.


Illinois dog bite injury lawyerWhen we think about serious injuries caused by dogs, we usually think about bite-related injuries. Dog bites can cause severe tissue damage, nerve damage, infection, and lasting disfigurement. However, even something as seemingly simple as being pushed to the ground by a dog can also lead to serious injuries. Someone who is knocked down by a dog and hits their head on the ground may even suffer a traumatic brain injury.

If you or a loved one suffered any injury because of a dog attack, you may be able to recover financial compensation for your losses. This can include medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and more. To learn more about the legal options available to you in this situation, contact an experienced dog bite lawyer today. They can review the details of your case and help you determine how best to proceed with pursuing a claim for compensation.

Consequences of a Traumatic Brain Injury Caused by a Dog Attack

The consequences of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) resulting from a dog attack can be devastating. Depending on the severity of the brain injury, it can cause physical, cognitive, and emotional changes that may require long-term treatment and rehabilitation. Some of the most common symptoms associated with TBIs include headaches and dizziness, difficulty sleeping, changes in vision, mood swings, trouble concentrating and remembering things, speech difficulties, and more.


Naperville dog bite injury lawyerDuring the pandemic and the “new normal” that has followed, home deliveries have skyrocketed, and, unfortunately, so have dog bites. Last year, more than 5,400 postal employees in the country were attacked by dogs with Illinois ranking among the top ten states with the most number of dog bites. Now that we are in the thick of the holiday rush, it is probably a good idea to keep your pooch indoors or behind a secured fence if you want to avoid legal trouble.

Dog Bite Law in Illinois 

Aggressive dog behaviors pose a serious threat to postal employees. Last year, at least 226 mail carriers in Illinois reported that they suffered canine bites. A vicious dog attack can cause serious injuries as well as emotional trauma. Under state law, a dog owner is liable if their dog hurts someone, regardless of whether or not the owner knew that the dog might be dangerous.

A person does not need to prove that the dog owner acted negligently. If a dog or any animal for that matter attacks, tries to attack, or injures someone who is peacefully conducting themselves, in an area where they can lawfully be, and they do not provoke the animal, then the dog owner is liable for the dog’s actions. If their dog bites someone, even if it is the first time exhibiting such behavior, they are still liable. However, this is different if it involves an intruder and the dog is protecting its territory. The same is true if someone provokes the dog. In these cases, the dog owner would likely not be liable for the dog biting someone.


Illinois dog bite injury lawyerEven as it seems pit bulls make national headlines almost every week for a serious or fatal dog attack, a cottage industry of pit bull apologists has taken up the cause of defending the rights and reputations of these dogs. According to pit bull advocates, pit bulls are the same as any other dog, with the same potential for positive traits like love and gentleness, as well as negative traits like aggression and defensiveness.

Regardless of what pit bull advocates say, however, the statistics tell a very different story. Not only are pit bulls more likely to seriously maim and kill than other dog breeds, but the number of serious pit bull attacks is on the rise. The causes of rising rates of pit bull attacks are debatable; perhaps vicious owners are more likely to buy pit bulls because of their reputation, making for much more vicious pit bull dogs; perhaps pit bulls and other bully breeds really are more vicious. Whatever the reason, at the end of the day, if you or someone you love has suffered from a pit bull bite attack through no fault of your own, you deserve compensation.  

Data on Pit Bulls Gives Reason for Serious Concern

Pit bull advocates cite studies that suggest that pit bulls are difficult to reliably distinguish from other breeds, that dogs identified as pit bulls do not always have pit bull or bull terrier DNA, or that even dogs that do have pit bull or bull terrier DNA are usually mixed with other breeds. 


Illinois dog bite injury lawyerJust a few days ago, an elderly woman, her husband, and a responding police officer were attacked by a neighbor’s pit bull in North Carolina. The woman was so badly attacked that her foot had to be amputated, and her husband also suffered serious injuries to his hands, arms, and body. The responding police officer shot the dog after it bit her in the leg, too. The dog was later euthanized. Just a day later, two children were killed by their family’s pit bull in Tennessee, and their mother was hospitalized for injuries she sustained as she tried to protect them. 

Similar dog attacks happen all over the country at terrifying rates, and Illinois is consistently rated as one of the states with the highest rates of dog attacks. While most dogs never attack anyone, those who do tend to attack more than once and their owners are responsible for ensuring the dog is carefully controlled. When someone in Illinois is attacked by a vicious dog, Illinois law may allow them to recover compensation for their injuries. It is crucial to speak with an Illinois dog bite attorney who can help you litigate your case.

What Should I Do After I Have Been Attacked by a Dog? 

Once the attack has ended and you are in a safe place, it is important to seek medical care right away, even if it appears that your wounds are not serious. Dog bites can easily become infected, thanks to dangerous bacteria in dogs’ mouths and the tendency of puncture wounds to hold bacteria. Report the attack to your local animal control department. 


Illinois dog bite injury lawyerAn aggressive dog can terrorize a neighborhood, especially one with children. When a dog owner does not properly restrain their dog - and even sometimes when they do - a dog’s lunging, barking, and other aggressive acts towards passersby can be frightening and dangerous. Illinois law requires dogs on private property to be enclosed by a fence at least six feet high, but many, if not most, dog owners do not abide by this law. 

After a dog attack occurs and someone is injured, the injured party and their family may be outraged to hear the dog’s owner accusing them of provoking the dog. And while this may seem like a weak defense, in certain cases, it can be surprisingly effective. Read on to learn more about what kind of behavior is considered provoking a dog and then contact an experienced dog bite attorney to get help with your case. 

Provoking a Dog Before an Attack

Dog owners are required to keep their animals secure on their property. If an owner takes a dog off of his property, he is required to keep it leashed. If the dog escapes, the owner is responsible for the behavior of the dog. 


Chicago dog bite injury lawyerA dog bite can be very dangerous. Even if a bite does not seem serious at first, the potential for a serious infection remains. Of course, other bites are clearly very serious right away. Children are at particular risk for serious dog attacks, as they are more likely than an adult to unintentionally provoke a dog. Dog bites can lead to all sorts of complications. Disfigurement is a very common complaint in dog bite cases, particularly when a person’s face or arms have been bitten. Many will be left with scars around the bite area that will never go away. It can also be a very traumatic experience.

Even a normally friendly-looking dog can become terrifying in an instant when it begins to show aggression. If you are one of the many people who have been bitten by a dog this year, you may be entitled to compensation from the dog’s owner. 

Dog Bite Facts and Statistics Everyone Should Be Aware Of

While dogs can be man’s best friend, they can become a person’s worst enemy if they bite. A few facts you should know about dog bites and the laws regarding them include: 


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.

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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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