FAQ: Dog Bite Injuries in Illinois

A dog bite injury can be a serious injury. When a dog or any other animal attacks, people can suffer serious injuries such as cuts, lacerations, broken bones, amputations, and mental and psychological trauma.

After a dog bite, the first priority is to seek medical care. But if you or someone you know needs a dog bite lawyer in Illinois, you can contact us here.

Check out these frequently asked questions (FAQs) about dog bite injuries in Illinois.

What law covers dog bites?

In Illinois, the Animal Control Act covers dog bite injuries, and injuries from other animals (statutory cite of 510 ILCS 5/1 et al).

You can always read the law, but we have tried to summarize some of the most important points about Illinois dog bite injuries and liability.

Does Illinois use the “One Bite” rule?

Does it seem fair that you can only sue a dog owner if the dog previously bit someone else?

No? We don’t think so either.

Thankfully, Illinois does not follow the “one bite” rule, a rule which allows a dog owner to escape liability for the first time their dog bits someone. That’s crazy.

In Illinois, it does not matter if the dog that bit you has never before bitten anyone else.

Can I sue the dog owner for my injury?

You can always sue anyone, but that doesn’t mean you will have a good chance of winning.

A dog bite injury lawyer can assess your case and give you an idea about whether or not you might have winning case. A dog bite is a type of personal injury in Illinois; you can see the FAQ on personal injuries to learn about more about personal injury cases in general.

What would I have to prove for a dog bite injury case?

Here is what a dog bite victim must prove to win money from a dog owner:

  1. Attack: The dog in question attacked and inured the victim
  2. Location: The victim had the right to be at the location of the dog attack (the victim was not trespassing)
  3. No Provocation: The dog was not provoked by the victim

In many types of injury cases, the injured person would have to prove that the defendant was negligent in causing injury; for example, a person hit by someone who ran a red light would be able to prove the defendant-driver was negligent in running the red light.

But with a dog bite case, the victim does not need to prove the owner did anything wrong. In fact, the dog owner may have been doing everything right. But the victim may still be able to get compensation if they can prove the three requirements listed above.

How do I get money for my injury?

There are basically two ways to get money for your dog bite injury.

  1. Settlement: Sometimes, a case can settle without having to go through a trial. That most often happens when the dog bite owner has insurance, like homeowners’ insurance.
  2. Lawsuit and Verdict: If the case will not settle (end by agreement), then it might be possible to file a lawsuit and win the case at trial. But not every case is a strong one, even if someone is injured.

One important point to consider is whether or not you can collect against a dog bite owner. For example, winning a case is mostly useless if the defendant has no money to pay you. Unfortunately, a defendant’s inability to pay is one reason not to file a lawsuit. An Illinois dog bite lawyer can help you determine if filing a dog bite lawsuit makes sense.

Can the dog owner put up a defense?

As with most legal cases, there are defenses in a dog bite case. A dog owner can use a defense to get out of liability for an injury caused by a dog bite in Illinois.

The defenses in a dog bite lawsuit are the following:

  1. Provocation: Generally speaking, a dog owner will not be liable for damages a dog was provoked. For example, if a dog bit Bob after he walked up to a dog and hit it for no reason, the dog’s owner probably would not be liable for whatever injuries Bob received from the dog bite.
  2. Trespassing: If dog bite victim received a dog bite while trespassing, the dog bite victim generally cannot recover damages from injuries.

As you can see, the defenses to a dog bite injury are somewhat common sense.

When should I get a dog bite lawyer?

If you are bit by a dog and want to know if you have a case, the best thing to do is to contact an Illinois dog bite lawyer (a type of personal injury lawyer) as soon as possible. If you have a case, the Illinois dog bite lawyer can help you recover what you deserve.

How long do I have to sue?

You might have heard of the “statute of limitations.” A statute of limitations puts a time limit on how long an accident or injury victim has to sue someone. If a dog bite victim waits too long to file a suit against a dog owner, it might be impossible for the dog bite victim to obtain compensation for injuries.

In Illinois a dog bite victim has up to 2 years after to dog bite to sue the dog owner. Waiting more than 2 years to file a case can mean that your dog bite lawsuit will get thrown out, making it impossible for you to get compensations for your dog bite injury.