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Dog Bites

Crystal Lake Dog Bite Lawyers

Attorneys Serving McHenry County & the Surrounding Areas

In 2017, more than 89 million dogs were registered as household pets across the United States—and that doesn’t include strays or pets who haven’t been registered with their counties. In Illinois, about 1/3 of households include at least one dog. With so many canines inhabiting our neighborhoods, visiting our local parks, and even being welcomed into certain stores and other public places, it’s no surprise that encounters between dogs and humans sometimes go wrong.

Nationwide, about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Many of these injuries are minor, but dog bites can be very serious. Annually, about 900,000 dog bites become infected, and a small number of people are killed in dog attacks each year. About 80% of dog bite fatalities involve children.

In Illinois, the owner of a dog is almost always responsible for damages suffered when the dog bites another person.

Any type of dog may bite, and even a small dog can cause serious injury if it attacks a vulnerable part of the body or the bite becomes infected. However, certain types of dogs are statistically more likely to cause serious injury or death.

In recent years, more than ¾ of fatal dog attacks have involved pit bulls and Rottweilers. In 2016, pit bulls were responsible for 22 of the 31 dog bite fatalities across the country. Other breeds that have inflicted fatal bites in recent years or are otherwise considered dangerous include:

  • Labradors and Labrador mixes
  • Doberman pinschers
  • German shepherds
  • American bulldogs

Protecting Yourself and Your Children from Dog Bite Injuries

In many cases, how you act in a dog’s presence will determine whether the encounter goes smoothly and safely or someone gets bitten. Some tips to help keep you safe include:

  • Be aware that most dog bites involve dogs known to the victim—don’t assume that a dog won’t bite you simply because it is familiar to you
  • Avoid approaching a dog when it is in a situation likely to trigger defensive behavior, such as sleeping, eating, or tending to puppies—dogs may even exhibit protective behavior in relation to their human companions
  • Never try to stare down a dog—direct eye contact is a sign of aggression
  • Keep the stress level low—if a dog appears to be agitated or threatening, do not run, scream, or otherwise increase tension

Liability for Dog Bite Injuries in Illinois

In some states, dog owners get one free pass. The argument is that the owner can’t be expected to know that the dog is dangerous if it’s never attacked before. Illinois law, however, protects a dog bite victim’s right to recover damages even if the dog has not shown vicious tendencies in the past.
To establish liability, an Illinois dog bite victim need only show that:

  • He or she was acting peacefully
  • He or she was legally in the place the attack occurred, and
  • The dog attacked, attempted to attack, or injured him or her

In simple terms, a dog owner will generally be liable for any injuries caused by his or her dog unless the injured person was trespassing at the time of the attack or the victim provoked the animal.

Damages in Dog Bite Cases

Damages in a dog bite case will vary depending on the nature and extent of the injury. The most common types of damages awarded in this type of case include medical expenses and pain and suffering. The victim will generally be entitled to compensation not just for functional harm, but also for any cosmetic damage resulting from the attack.

If the victim’s injuries are serious enough to require time away from work, or to create long-term limitations on his or her earning capacity, lost wages may also be awarded.

Contact an Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer Today

Give yourself the peace of mind that comes with knowing your case is in capable hands and you can focus your attention on healing. The first step is easy—just schedule a free consultation right now.