Children are routinely the victims in some of the most violent dog attacks that require medical attention and hospitalization. Theories differ as to why children are more susceptible to violent dog attacks than other demographics, but the most likely explanations are as follows:
- Children’s size— the fact that many children stand at eye level with a dog puts their faces front and center with the dog— making facial injuries especially common in children.
- Dog’s intuition— some animal experts believe that instinct drives dogs to children instead of adults because they can appreciate their vulnerability.
- Children’s playful nature and lack of experience around dogs— many children simply view dogs and play pals and fail to appreciate their potential for violence.
As with any type of injury impacting a child, children who suffer injuries related to dog bites and attacks need to be evaluated for both their immediate and future medical needs.
A dog bite lawsuit against the owner of the dog involved in the incident can be used to recover damages for the child’s past medical expenses as well as compensation for future medical attention that a child may require during his or her development. Also important to note is the fact that dog bite claims pursued on behalf of a child can recover compensation for disfigurement associated with the scarring commonly involved in dog attack cases.
Misconceptions about dog bite cases involving children
One of the greatest fallacies about dog bite cases involving children is that the child was provoking the animal prior to the attack. While there are circumstances where a child’s provocation can exacerbate a dog’s naturally aggressive tendencies, the following commonly encountered salutations are generally not considered to be provocation in the eye of the court:
- Petting an animal
- Approaching a sleeping animal
- Eating or drinking near a dog
- Separating a dog in a fight with another dog
The legal rights of children injured by dogs under Illinois law
When children are injured by aggressive dogs, parents are entitled to pursue a claim or lawsuit against the dog’s owner. A recovery on behalf of a disfigured child can be made for both the child’s past medical expenses as well as future medical procedures and permanent scarring.
Time to pursue a legal claim for a person bitten by a dog as a child? Call a law firm with experience handling cases for minors.
Lastly, Illinois law affords a child injured by a dog a substantial amount of time to file a claim or lawsuit. Unlike most Illinois personal injury cases which have a two-year statute of limitations, a child bitten by a dog has until their 20th birthday to resolve their case. Even if you sustained a dog bite years ago, your still may be entitled to recover for your injuries. Contact us to learn more about this important niche in the law.