A dog can inflict serious injuries to a child or adult either by biting, clawing or attacking a person in a manner that causes the person to trip or fall. The Illinois Legislature recognizes the multifaceted danger that poorly controlled dogs pose to innocent people. Pursuant to the terms of the Animal Control Act, Illinois dog owners are strictly liable for all harm caused by their dogs regardless if the injury is related to a dog bite, dog scratch, dog mauling or dog attack.
Illinois dog owners’ legal obligations to people harmed by their animals
When a dog injures a person in an attack or mauling, the owner of the dog is responsible for all resulting damages. Similar to other personal injury cases, dog bite cases have the potential to involve recovery for damages related to:
- Past and future medical care (this includes scar revision surgeries when deemed medically necessary)
- Pain and Suffering
- Lost Wages
Dog bite claims under the homeowners’ insurance policy
Most dog injury claims and lawsuits are paid out by the dog owner’s home insurance company— even if the attack took place at a location away from the owner’s home. Because most homeowner’s insurance policies offer fairly substantial coverage limits (and sometimes include excess or umbrella coverage) most dog bite victims can be fully compensated for their injuries, provided they can demonstrate to an insurance adjuster or jury that they are entitled to these damages.
For example, in the case of a child who is seriously injured when a dog attacks their face, they could present the costs and expenses related to plastic surgery to minimize the presence of the scar. Theoretically, if the medical expenses were $250,000 (or more) and there was a homeowners insurance policy of $500,000 a demand for payment of the policy limits could be made in good faith. As with all Illinois personal injury cases on behalf of a minor, the proceeds from the recovery would be held in an interest bearing trust until the child achieved the age of majority.
Similarly, in circumstances where a dog attack occurs on the premises of an apartment building and the landlord has knowledge of dog’s prior aggressive acts, the landlord may be pursued as a potential defendant.
We are looking out for your best interest
We are experienced in presenting dog bite claims to insurance adjusters. When negotiations fail, our attorneys are prepared to file lawsuits against the parties responsible for a dog attack. If you were bitten or injured by a dog, we welcome you to contact our team for a complimentary legal consultation to discuss your options.