Dog Bite Lawyer Chicago Explains How Dog Bite Cases Work.

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June 3  

Dog Bite Lawyer Chicago Tells How Dog Bite Cases Work. How Much You Can Expect in A Dog Bite Settlement? How To Make Your Case Strong So You Get Medical Bills Paid and Every Penny Illinois Dog Bite Law Allows For Your Dog Bite Injury.

No matter how the dog bite happened, if you or a loved one got bit by a dog, it is smart to look for answers.   Get help from dog bite lawyer chicago and find out as much as possible about Illinois dog bite law.

It's the best way to make sure you are protected and get a fair recovery in your case.  That's what this page is about:  getting you the help that you need if you or a lovedone has been bitten by a dog.

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They Are Common

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control, dogs bite 5 millions people every year.  And, most of the people who get bit by a dog are children.  About 380,000 people have to go to the Emergency Room from a dog bite.  And almost 800,000 people every year get some kind of medical treatment from their injuries they get from a dog.

This doesn't take into account the mental trauma and psychological effects of a dog bite.  Or the permanent scars they leave behind.

Is just the way things are:  dogs will bite. This includes big dogs, little dogs, and all breeds in betweeen.  While Pit Bulls, Rottweilers and German Shepherds often get a bad reputation as dogs most likely to bite, the truth is that smaller breeds of dogs are often far more aggressive.  It has far more to do with the dog's owner and how the dog was raised and is treated.  A mistreated dog is far more likely to bite.

When a dog attacks, it can result in serious and permanent consequences for the victim. That's why it is important to make the negligent dog owner pay.  To compensate you, and to make sure that it never happens to anyone else.  Unless they are held accountable, they may never take caring for their dog and their responsibilities as a dog owner seriously.  

Have Questions About A Dog Bite Injury?  Here's What You Need To Know About Dog Bite Law.

If you have been attacked or bitten by a dog or other animal, then there are things you need to know about dog bite cases and the Illinois Animal Control Act.

It does not matter whether your attack involved a single bite with minimal treatment and a small scar or a tragic attack resulting in serious permanent injuries or even death. No matter what, here is the information you need to know so that you can intelligently evaluate your options.

The Animal Control Act and Illinois Dog Bite Law

Dog bite cases are usually controlled by the Animal Control Act. This is a law passed by the state of Illinois that makes owners or keepers of animals responsible for the injuries they cause if they get loose.

The Act makes it easier for you to win your dog bite case if you were bit by a dog.  But that is only true if your case facts fall under the Animal Control Act.

In order to prove a case under the Animal Control Act, here is what you have to prove:

(510 ILCS 5/16) (from Ch. 8, par. 366)

Sec. 16. Animal attacks or injuries. If a dog or other animal, without provocation, attacks, attempts to attack, or injures any person who is peaceably conducting himself or herself in any place where he or she may lawfully be, the owner of such dog or other animal is liable in civil damages to such person for the full amount of the injury proximately caused thereby.

There are a couple of things for you to pay attention to in the law.

First, only the owner or keeper of the animal can be liable under Illinois dog bite law.


So, for example, if a person is renting a home and they have a dog which bites someone. Then the owner of the home, if they do not live there, may not be liable. There are lots of wrinkles here, however. The important thing to remember is that anyone who owns the dog or keeps the dog can be liable under the law.

Second, there can be no provocation of the dog before you got bit by the dog.
In other words, you cannot make the dog angry or scared before the dog bit you. Examples of this could include if you are trying to take food away from a dog. Or if you tease the dog or hit the dog or agitate the dog.   If you did any of these things,  then the judge may decide that the law does not apply.

If the Judge says that the dog was provoked or agitated, then you cannot win a case under the Animal Control Act.

Third, there is no requirement here to show that the dog had bitten anyone in the past or is dangerous.

Proving a case under the Animal Control Act is usually pretty straightforward. But most people do not know a very important thing.  


You DO NOT have to show that the dog was dangerous or violent in the past.  Or that the dog bit someone else to win a case.  This is one of the biggest reasons why it is the easiest ways to win a dog bite. But only if the Animal Control Act applies your your dog bite injury.

However, it is very important to determine who owned the dog and whether there is any insurance coverage (either owners insurance or renters insurance).

Second Option Under Illinois Dog Bite Law:  Negligence

A savvy attorney will often bring a negligence case to court as well, if the circumstances of your dog bite warrant it.

Bringing a dog bite case under "negligence"  may sound fancy, but it really isn't.  "Negligence" just means that we are allageding that the owner of the dog who bit you did something that wasn't reasonable.  If they didn't act reasonably, they may be liable for your injuries and damages because their dog bit you.


For example, let's say a dog owner knows that his dog often jumps the fence and chases people down the street.  A jury could decide that the dog owner was negligent for not keeping the dog leashed or crated. Or for not installing a taller fence.

Or if a dog owner knows that his dog is dangerous and has attacked or bittten people before, they have to be reasonable about controlling their dog.  But what is the dog owner leaves his gate open and allows the dog to wander the neighborhood?  Then a Judge or Jury in your dog bite case may decide that the owner was negligent.

Unlike a case under the Animal Control Act, here, under negligence, we do have to prove that the dog had some sort of history of biting or attacking people.  That's because if an owner does not know his or her dog is dangerous, then they would not have known to control their dog moew carefully.

Dog Bite Injuries Can Be Serious

If your injury from a dog bite amounts to a small scar on your arm and minimal medical treatment, then you are entitled to a recovery.  But it is not likely that you will get very much money for such a modest injury.

About 25% of dog bites result in serious injuries which have permanent consequences.  That's good news, because it means that most of the time when a dog bites someone, it is not that serious.  

But if a dog bites often can cause a lot of different kinds of injuries, such as:

  • Brusies
  • Cuts
  • Puncture wounds from the dog's teeth or nails
  • Torn skin and cartilege
  • Broken bones from the power of a dog's jaws or from the dog knocking someone down
  • Permanent scars.

In fact, according to the CDC, about 27,000 people who are bitten by dogs need plastic surgery every year.  Some people need plastic surgery or reconstructive surgery several times, depending on the severity of the wounds and where they are.  If a child or woman is bittne on the face or other visible part of the body, they are going to live with terrible and permanent consequences, no matter how skilled their surgeon.

chicago dog bite lawyer

I have handled cases where the settlement was substantial in a dog bite case with the scar. But it depends on the circumstances. For example, a child with a scar on their face or a woman with a scar on her face may have a valuable case.  But an older man like me would probably get less for a scar, especially if it is not usually visible.

In the most vicious dog attacks, there can be serious fractures and nerve damage. These injuries could require surgery and skin grafts. Powerful breeds of dogs can kill people, and they do.  Especially children, who are very vulnerable.

As you can see, the range of injuries from dog bites can range from unpleasant all the way up to deadly.

These cases have nuances and details and the particular facts of your case make a big difference.

My best advice for you is to speak with an experienced dog bite lawyer chicago to evaluate your case and tell you the ins and outs of Illinois dog bite law as it applies to your specific case.

What Can an Experienced Chicago Dog Bite Lawyer Do For You?

It is rarely a good idea to handle a personal injury case without at least consulting with a lawyer.  In dog bite cases, this is especially true.

Here are just some of the thing we do in my office for victims of a dog bite:

  • Work with Chicago Police and Animal Control to find out who the dog owners are
  • Take photos and assemble evidence to get a clear idea of what happened
  • Find out if there are any witnesses
  • Discover if the dog attacked anyone else
  • Find out whether there is insurance to pay the medical bills
  • Make sure medical bills get paid
  • Consult with the client and their doctors about nescessary medical care
  • Order all medical bills
  • Talk to the insurance company
  • Make sure no one calls or hassles YOU, the client
  • Prepare a summary of medical and detailed demand letter
  • Fight with the insurance company to get the client more money
  • Make sure all lost wages get paid
  • Make sure YOU the client is kept informed
  • Negotiate all claims against the settlement so the clients gets as much money as possible.

Of course, this is only a partial list of what I do as a Chicago dog bite lawyer under Illinois dog bite law.

Why in THE WORLD would you want to do this yourself?

The best part is you never pay any money out of pocket.  I only get paid if I win your case.

And talking to a lawyer is free.

Why not get a free consultation with a Dog Bite Lawyer Chicago?

Here how it goes:

  • You call for free (or I can call you).
  • I listen to your story.
  • I answer your questions & concerns.
  • I tell you my plan.
  • You can hire me or not hire me, your choice.
  • Either way, we end up as friends.

Sound good?

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About the author - Scott D. DeSalvo

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