Under the Illinois Animal Control Act, the victims of unprovoked animal attacks, including dog bites, can hold the animal’s owner liable for their injuries. The Animal Control Act applies to all animals that injure people without provocation, not just dogs. The Animal Control Act also applies to all injuries caused by the animal, not just bites. If you or someone close to you has suffered harm from a dog bite or another type of animal attack, you may be entitled to compensation. Speak with an experienced Chicago dog bite attorney right away to discuss your case.
The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that nearly 4.5 million dog bites occur each year. Half of all victims are children. Dog bites can result in severe wounds, requiring extensive surgery. Bites can also leave permanent scars. Children are often the most at risk for dog bites, and can pay the price with lifetime scars from a vicious dog attack. Families are also left with substantial medical bills.
When is the Animal’s Owner Responsible for an Attack?
The laws governing animal owner liability vary by state. In Illinois, the laws are very strict and err on the side of protecting the injured party.
The Illinois Animal Control Act specifically states:
“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.”
In other words, so long as you are not trespassing and/or provoking the animal in any way, the owner of the dog or other animal can be held fully liable for your injuries. Many owners train their dogs to act more viciously when strangers come near their property, and certain breeds of dog are very dangerous when trained to be aggressive. These and other factors must also be taken into account when assessing the owner’s liability.
Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C. has successfully resolved many cases under the Illinois Animal Control Act, and not just for dog bites. HM&M has handled cases where people are kicked by horses and knocked to the ground by other animals. If you or a loved one have been the victim of a dog bite or other animal related injury that has resulted in substantial medical treatment, you should contact a Chicago dog bite attorney at HM&M immediately to find out whether you have a case against the animal’s owner.