No one ever thinks their sweet, docile family dog will bite someone. However, the reality is that animals are unpredictable. This can range from uncharacteristically chewing a shoe or relieving themselves in the house to biting another person or animal. Getting bitten by a dog is a shocking and stressful situation. Educating yourself for the worst possible scenario that can occur around a dog will alleviate some of the anxiety in the case of a dog bite.
One out of five dog bites requires medical care. There are an estimated 4.5 million people bitten by dogs in the United States each year. Half of those victims are in between the ages of five and nine years old, and these cases often occur because children may not understand proper boundaries with animals. A serious dog bite may end up on the news, and the owner may face criminal charges or a lawsuit in civil court.
A dog may bite a person as a defense mechanism when they feel provoked. Someone else’s dog may respond differently than yours to actions that are intended to be playful. A dog who has been abused may be especially sensitive to physical and verbal cues. Avoid yelling or screaming around a dog, hitting them, or staring. These actions may provoke a dog to bite you or increase the severity of an attack.
Dog bites can occur in a variety of situations. Even a dog that is usually great with kids and has never shown aggression may bite you. You may be shocked, but it is important to follow these steps:
Get Help - Any situation can be made worse by panicking. An animal may become more agitated if you show signs of stress. If you have been bitten by a dog, and it continues to be aggressive, get to safety. Dog bites can be minor, but make sure to get medical attention right away, because the dog in question may have rabies. If necessary, call 911 or visit an urgent care center. Be sure to collect the contact information of the animal’s owner and any witnesses.
Report the Incident - Report the dog bite to your local animal control or police department. When it comes to dog bites, Illinois has a “strict liability” law. This means if the dog attacked without being provoked, then the owner of the animal is liable. In order to collect damages for your injuries, the following must be proved:
Be sure to preserve evidence of your injuries, including keeping medical records related to the bite, taking pictures of the bite, and keeping the clothes worn during the bite in their original condition.
If a dog has a record of violent behavior, the owner may face criminal charges if they fail to keep the animal locked up or restrained. However, a dog does not have to be proven previously violent for the owner to be liable for the injuries caused by their animal.
Dog bites can result in life-altering injuries. An experienced Joliet, IL personal injury attorney at Mevorah Law Offices LLC can explain your rights as a victim of a dog bite and advocate for you to receive compensation that addresses your injuries and the harm done to you and your family. Call 815-726-9200 for a free consultation.