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Who Can Be Held Liable for Dog Bite Injuries in Illinois?

 Posted on October 23, 2023 in Personal Injury

Untitled---2023-10-23T104500.650.jpgEven though many dogs are friendly, others may be dangerous, and even a well-behaved dog can behave unexpectedly and bite or attack someone. Dog bites can result in multiple types of serious injuries, as well as significant emotional trauma. Following a dog bite injury in Illinois, it is important to understand who may be held liable for your injuries. The state of Illinois has specific laws that cover dog bite cases, and you may be able to take legal action against a dog’s owner or other responsible parties. To make sure you will be able to recover compensation for your injuries, you can work with an attorney who has experience in premises liability cases involving animal attacks.

Strict Liability Laws in Illinois

Illinois follows a strict liability rule when addressing dog bite and animal attack injuries. The owner of a dog is generally responsible for any injuries caused by their pet, even if they were not aware of the dog's aggressive tendencies.

The law applies not only to bites but also to other types of injuries caused by dogs, such as scratches or knockdowns. However, there are certain situations where strict liability may not apply:

  • If the injured person provoked the dog intentionally or through actions that would reasonably cause a normally docile animal to behave aggressively, they may be determined to be responsible for causing their own injuries.

  • If the injured person was trespassing on private property, the property owner generally cannot be held liable for animal attacks.

  • If the injury occurred while someone was engaged in illegal activities, such as committing assault on another person's property, the dog may have had a legitimate reason to attack them at the owner’s direction. A dog’s owner may not be held liable for taking reasonable actions to defend themselves or others against harm.

Outside of these limited situations, a dog’s owner will generally be liable for any injuries caused by a dog. Illinois does not use a “first bite free” rule, and an owner will be liable for dog bite injuries even if their dog had never previously bitten anyone or showed signs of aggression.

Negligence Claims

In addition to strict liability claims against owners, victims may also be able to pursue negligence claims against third parties who contributed to their injuries. Other parties that may be liable for a dog bite injury may include:

  • A landlord who knew about a tenant's dangerous dog but failed to take appropriate action could be held liable if they were aware of previous incidents involving that particular animal.

  • A dog walker or pet sitter who was negligent in controlling a dog could be held responsible for any injuries caused by the animal while under their care.

  • A veterinarian who failed to properly warn staff members at an animal clinic about a dog's aggressive tendencies may also be liable if that dog later bites someone.

In these cases, it is important to establish that the third party had a duty of care towards the injured person and breached that duty, resulting in harm. Consulting with a personal injury attorney can help determine whether you have a valid negligence claim against a third party.

Contact Our Barrington Dog Bite Injury Lawyers

When dealing with the aftermath of injuries inflicted by a dog, an experienced personal injury lawyer can make sure your interests will be protected. At Lucas Law, Our Barrington, IL dog bite attorneys understand how devastating these incidents can be, and we can help you take the proper steps to recover compensation to address your medical expenses, emotional trauma, other forms of pain and suffering, permanent disabilities, and any other financial losses. We offer free consultations where we will review your case and advise you on the best ways to proceed as you pursue compensation. Contact us today at 847-381-8700 to set up an appointment.

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