Know Your Legal Rights After A Dog Bite Or Animal Attack
Earning the title of “man’s best friend,” dogs play an integral role in millions of American families. While most are gentle and tame, some can be aggressive, violent and dangerous. According to data from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, there are more than 4.5 million dog bites in the United States each year, approximately 316,000 of which require a trip to the emergency room.
At Theriault Booth Attorneys at Law in St. Charles, our attorneys represent dog bite victims and their families across Illinois. If you, your child or another family member have been bitten or otherwise attacked by someone else’s dog, our team can help you hold the negligent dog owner accountable and seek full compensation for your injuries and losses.
Dog Bites Can Result In Serious Injuries Or Death
Although many people have been bitten by a dog, most such bites are minor and do not require medical attention. They are often playful or meant to indicate annoyance.
Unfortunately, some dogs bite with the intention of harming or even killing humans, including children. Common injuries resulting from these incidents include:
- Deep cuts and wounds
- Fractures, broken bones and bruising
- Crushing injuries
- The development of serious infections
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Psychological injuries like post-traumatic stress disorder
Our attorneys utilize more than 40 years of combined legal experience to help clients seek compensation for medical bills, mental health treatment, lost wages, permanent disability, pain and suffering, and more.
Sadly, some dog attacks prove to be fatal, particularly when the victims are either children or elderly. In these cases, our lawyers represent grieving family members in wrongful death claims.
Dog Bite Liability Is Clear In Illinois
There are two basic types of dog bite laws (with variations) throughout the United States. Some states recognize a “one-bite rule,” in which dog owners are generally not liable the first time their dog attacks someone, because they had no reason to know that the dog was aggressive or prone to bite.
Other states, including Illinois, recognize “strict liability” in dog bite cases. This legal principle means that the dog owner is liable for any harm the dog causes, regardless of previous evidence of aggression. If the dog attack occurs in the common areas of an apartment complex, the landlord can also be held liable.
There are few exceptions to strict liability, including if the victim was attacked while trespassing and/or after provoking the dog.
Who Pays The Bills On Dog Bite Claims?
As mentioned above, dog owners are ultimately liable for injuries caused by their pets. However, most dog bite claims are paid through their homeowner insurance policies, if they have one.
This fact can ease some stress if you or your child were bitten by a friend’s or relative’s dog. You may be hesitant to take legal action because you don’t want to sue someone important to you. However, some claims can be resolved through negotiation with the insurer, often with the help of an attorney. And if litigation becomes necessary (either because the claim was denied or the settlement offer was too low), the legal dispute will be with the insurance company – not your friend or relative.
You Have Legal Options, And We Can Help You Utilize Them
Theriault Booth Attorneys at Law fights for personal injury victims and their families throughout Illinois. We also offer free initial consultations so that you can tell us your story and learn how our lawyers can help. To schedule yours, call our St. Charles office at 630-912-5622 or send us an email.