Many families have a dog as a beloved pet, but sometimes the families aren’t responsible owners. When they don’t take measures to keep their pet under control, the dog may bite and injure others. Dog attacks are scary—people rarely expect them to happen and it’s difficult to fight off a strong animal. If you or a loved one has been injured from a dog bite, our Peru dog bite lawyers from Schweickert Ganassin Krzak Rundio, LLP can help you get the justice you are seeking.
We understand that it can be uncomfortable to file a dog bite claim, especially if the dog belongs to a family member or friend. You may be worried about damaging a relationship when the dog owner isn’t taking responsibility for what their dog did. However, a dog bite can cause significant injuries.
When you’re seeking treatment, you may need to go to the hospital. About 1 in 5 people need medical attention after a dog bites them. Your treatment plan could require surgery or medicine in the future, which can mean you’ll be responsible for paying those hospital bills and expenses for continued care. You shouldn’t have to suffer from financial losses after a negligent owner’s dog attacks you or your child.
You need to put your or your child’s priorities first. It’s not fair for you to be worrying about how you’re going to pay medical bills when the incident wasn’t your fault. But you should also not have to worry about another encounter with the dog or the dog biting someone else. That’s where our attorneys step in. We’ll fight to protect your rights.
Illinois Dog Bite Law
Section 16 of Illinois dog bite law states if a dog attacks or injures a person without provocation and the person was lawfully at the location, then the dog’s owner is liable for the damages.
In Illinois, strict liability applies to dog bites, which means that you don’t have to prove the owner was negligent. When you’re filing your claim, you will have to prove the following criteria:
- The person owns the dog, which can be proven if they keep a dog on their property.
- You were legally allowed to be in the area where the accident happened.
- You didn’t provoke the dog in any way that would make them feel scared or threatened.
- The dog attacked you or tried to attack you and caused your injuries.
While it may seem like a straightforward process, insurance companies often try to contest dog bite claims. They often try to say your injuries aren’t as severe as you say they are and try to minimize the compensation they will offer you.
Your lawyer will carefully go over the order of events and find out what happened. We’ll gather evidence to support your claim so that it can be presented in the strongest manner possible. This will give you the best chance of getting fully compensated.
Why Do Dog Bites Happen?
After the shock of the dog bite passes, you may wonder what led to the attack. There are a number of reasons why a dog may attack someone. While this isn’t an excuse for a pet owner’s negligence, it may answer some of your questions about the incident.
If a dog feels threatened or is scared, they could snap. The following could make a dog feel this way:
- Being approached by a stranger.
- The dog is disturbed while it’s eating or sleeping.
- The dog thinks its puppies are in danger.
- The dog’s space or territory is threatened.
- If the dog doesn’t feel well, it may lash out against a person trying to pet it.
While these reasons may explain why the dog attacked, they don’t explain why the owner wasn’t in control of their pet. If an owner has their dog out in public, it should be on a leash or other form of harness. If the dog is at home, the owner needs to make sure the dog can’t escape the property, like through a gate that doesn’t properly shut or lock.
Our Peru attorneys will fully investigate the dog-bite occurrence to see what caused the attack and determine if there are eyewitnesses to the incident.
After a dog attack, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention, as you may have sustained injuries. Let’s look into what kind of injuries can occur when a dog harms someone.
The Dangers of Dog Attacks
A dog can cause significant damage to a person. Here are some common injuries from a dog attack:
- Puncture wounds. The dog’s teeth can break skin and damage the tissue underneath. The wound may also start to bleed. If the dog bites a vital area around an artery, the person needs to get medical attention as soon as possible.
- Broken bones. A dog’s jaw could break bones, but a dog attack doesn’t always result in a bite, although the person can still sustain an injury. A dog could knock a person over or the person could get hurt as they’re trying to get away from the dog.
- Infection. If a dog bites you, germs can transfer to your skin and cause infection. Some of the most common infections include rabies, MRSA, tetanus, Pasteurella, and, Capnocytophaga bacteria. If left untreated, these infections can become life-threatening.
- Scarring. If a dog bites and tears open a significant amount of tissue, unsightly, permanent scarring can occur.
The emotional distress from the situation can also stick with the person who was attacked, especially if they were young. Children may develop a fear of dogs or struggle with moving past the attack.
While you may feel confused about what to do after a dog bite incident, there are a few steps you should take to protect your health and your claim.
Take care of the injury first. Wash out the wound with soap and water and get to a doctor as soon as possible. Then, you need to report the dog attack to animal control, even if you know the dog has a rabies vaccine. You should get the owner’s contact information as well.
Document your injury as much as you can. Write down everything that happened. Photograph your injuries to keep track of the initial damage as well as the healing process. The clothes you wore that day could also help provide physical evidence. Don’t put them in the wash so everything is preserved.
During this time, you should get in touch with a lawyer to help file your claim. They’ll also look at your medical records and calculate what the incident cost you or the person who was bitten.
Seek Help from Schweickert Ganassin Krzak Rundio, LLP
We’ve helped Illinois families recover from dog bite incidents. Reach out to our firm today so we can speak about your options. Our Peru attorneys will be at your side every step of the way.
If the insurance company continues to make low-ball offers, this doesn’t mean you have to settle for less than you deserve. We’re prepared to take the case to the next level and fight for your rights in a courtroom. We’re here to protect your best interests.