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Illinois named second state in nation for dog bite claims

On behalf of Joe Lucas at Lucas Law

Millions of households throughout the U.S. keep dogs as pets, including in Illinois. Many dogs make wonderful companions and never bite a human or other animal. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to predict if a dog is going to attack, and even a dog that's known to be well-mannered and friendly can inflict a dangerous bite.

Dog bites are a particular problem in Illinois. According to State Farm, Illinois was second among the top 10 states to file dog bite claims in 2012. The American Veterinary Medical Association says that children, postal workers and elderly people are the ones most frequently involved in dog attacks, with dog bites being one of the top causes of injuries to children between the ages of one through 14. Sadly, many dog attacks could have been prevented by more responsible pet ownership.

Young girl in Bloomington killed in family dog attack

For children, most dog bites occur to the head and neck areas, which can cause devastating injuries. Last January, a 4-year-old girl was bitten by her family's pit bull terriers. According to authorities, the girl's grandmother attempted to protect both the 4-year-old and her 2-year-old sister after the older girl was attacked, but she died from her injuries in the hospital.

It's common for family dogs to bite unsupervised children in the home, but attacks from strange dogs are also not unusual. Other Illinois dog attacks in recent years included a couple bitten by a dog that broke through a screen while they delivered phone books, and a man who was attacked outside his house by a pair of dogs that lived in the neighborhood.

Common reasons dogs may attack

A dog may accidentally nip when startled or surprised, but even a small bite can cause injury, say the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some of the most common reasons dogs bite include:

  • Feeling threatened, such as when a person stares into its eyes.
  • Chasing a frightened person who is running away.
  • Being approached by an unfamiliar person who attempts to pet or pick up the dog.
  • Being disturbed while eating, sleeping or caring for puppies.

Also, it's not uncommon for a dog that is allowed to run loose without a leash to attack a nearby person. This can be especially true if other dogs are in the area, causing the dog to feel territorial.

When to contact an attorney

Dog owners have an obligation to keep their pets under control whenever they are out in public. However, many become careless, believing their dog would never harm a person. Others fail to ensure their dog is securely enclosed on their own property. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog attack caused by a pet owner's negligence, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your rights.

This website is not intended to constitute legal advice or the provision of legal services. By posting and/or maintaining the website and its contents, Lucas Law does not intend to solicit business from clients located in states or jurisdictions outside of Illinois wherein Lucas Law or its individual attorney(s) are not licensed or authorized to practice law.

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