Dogs, cats, and other animals are considered beloved family members to many people. However, some pet owners fail to act responsibly to prevent their pets from attacking others. Attacks by dogs, cats, and other pet animals are more common than many people realize. It is estimated that more than five million people suffer dog bites every year, with about 50% of those being children.
The laws in Illinois give significant rights and protections to animal attack victims. If you have been injured as a result of a dog bite or animal attack, you may have the right to hold the pet owner or others legally responsible for your injuries and losses. However, retaining a personal injury attorney with experience in dog bite cases is critical for the success of your case and to ensure that you are fully compensated for your injuries and other losses.
At Drake & Collopy, P.C., our team of experienced dog bite attorneys is dedicated to helping you recover the compensation you deserve after an animal attack. We encourage you to contact us today to discuss the facts of your case and your legal options.
Serious Injuries Caused by Dog Attacks
Dog bites can sometimes cause significant injuries including deep cuts, lacerations, puncture wounds, and even fractures. In more serious cases, dog bite injuries may require reconstructive surgery and may result in permanent scarring and disfigurement. Dog bites can also cause significant and long-term psychological or emotional trauma to the victim. If you or a loved one has been attacked by a dog or other pet animal, it is important to seek medical attention right away.
Illinois Law and Seeking Compensation After a Dog Bite Injury
Previously, Illinois law afforded dog owners “one free bite”, meaning there was no liability unless the dog had a prior history of attacking someone. The law was changed, however, and the Illinois Animal Control Act now 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.”
If you or your family member is bitten by a dog, you can seek compensation from the dog owner and, possibly, a third party if that party’s negligence led to the attack. The claims are typically paid by the dog owner’s homeowners (or renters) insurance policy, not by the dog owner personally.
Some of the types of damages we can help you recover after a dog attack include:
Compensation for Medical Bills
All related past and future medical costs that you incur due to treatment required for your injury, including emergency care, hospitalization, surgery, assistive devices, rehabilitation, and medication, are included.
Compensation for Pain and Suffering
Compensation for all physical and mental suffering you have experienced and will experience in the future because of your dog attack can be recovered.
Compensation for Loss of a Normal Life
“Loss of a normal life” is defined as the temporary or permanent diminished ability to enjoy life. This includes a person’s inability to pursue the pleasurable aspects of life.
Compensation for Lost Income
All the past and future wages that you lose due to your injuries will keep you from being able to work and earn money to pay your expenses, and care for your family can be recovered. The compensation can include income, benefits, commissions, and bonuses.
Damages for Wrongful Death
If you have a family member who passes away because of a dog attack, it may be possible to recover for all related medical costs, pain and suffering by the decedent, as well as:
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of companionship or consortium
- Funeral and burial costs
What to Do After a Dog Bite?
After suffering a dog bite injury, it is important to follow these steps, to the best of your ability:
- Seek medical care right away
- Report the incident to the police and ensure a police report is made
- Obtain the name and contact information of the dog’s owner
- Obtain the name and contact information of anyone who saw the attack happen
- Take photos of the animal that caused the injuries and the scene of the attack
- Take photos of any injuries you suffered because of the attack
- Avoid direct communication with the dog owner’s insurance company
By following these steps, you can help preserve your right to compensation. Our legal team is here to support you through each step of the process.
Hiring Drake & Collopy, P.C., for Help with Your Dog Bite Injury
If you or a family member suffers injuries because of a dog bite or animal attack, contact us right away. Our team of experienced attorneys is dedicated to helping you recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses. We will review the facts of your case and get started on building a strong case right away. We are your partner in recovery and will fight aggressively on your behalf.