Joliet, IL Dog Bite Attorneys
Personal Injury Lawyers Helping Animal Attack Victims Throughout Will County
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 4.5 million people suffer dog bites every year in the United States. An estimated 885,000 of those dog bite victims require medical treatment, and about 27,000 require extensive reconstructive surgery. Children, especially ages 5-9, have the highest risk of being bitten and are also more likely to require medical care following a dog bite. Some of the most common medical issues following a dog or animal bite include:
- Permanent scarring, possibly requiring several reconstructive surgeries.
- Infection of the wound after the attack or after surgery.
- Contraction of a disease from the attacking dog.
- Lasting pain and suffering.
- Emotional trauma.
The medical costs following a dog bite can be significant, but an experienced Joliet dog bite lawyer can help you receive compensation for injuries suffered by you or your child.
Strict Liability for Dog Bites in Illinois
Approximately half of the states, including Illinois, have strict liability dog bite laws. This means that owners may be held responsible for the actions of their dogs, whether or not the owners did anything wrong or had any reason to believe the dog may attack someone. In fact, even if dog owners acted in a careful manner, they may still have to compensate any victims for the full amount of the injury caused by the dog. Furthermore, the law defines “owners” as anyone who:
- Actually owns the animal.
- Keeps an animal.
- Harbors an animal.
- Has a property right in an animal.
- Has the animal in his or her care.
- Acts as the animal’s custodian.
- Knowingly permits the animal to remain on the premises that he or she occupies.
The term "animal" is used because the law applies to all types of animals, not just dogs. Additionally, the dog or other animal does not have to actually bite the victim for the victim to recover. The strict liability law applies to any type of attack, attempt to attack, or any other type of injury caused by the dog.
However, owners are not strictly liable for injuries caused by their dogs when the bite victim provoked the animal or trespassed on the property. In fact, the law requires that the victim was lawfully allowed to be on the property and that the victim conducted himself in a peaceable manner around the dog. Many dog owners will attempt to avoid liability by claiming the victim somehow provoked the dog or that the victim had no permission to be around the animal. If necessary, an experienced Joliet dog bite attorney will work to show that the dog owner is trying to avoid financial responsibility, and explain that you deserve to be compensated for your injuries.