Illinois Dog Bite Lawyer
For many people, dogs are much more than beloved pets. They are part of the family. And much like people, their actions can be unpredictable.
Each year, more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the United States alone, with more than 800,000 of those cases requiring medical attention, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. In addition to physical injuries, many victims of dog bites, especially children, may also suffer immense emotional trauma.
We understand the hesitation many have about filing a claim against a friend or neighbor in such cases, but rest assured that most attacks are covered by homeowners and renters insurance policies. It is your right to receive full compensation for any and all physical and emotional damage, as well as potential lost wages.
Chicago Dog Bite Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been attacked by a dog in the Chicago area, be sure to get legal representation before speaking with an insurance company on settlement options. You need someone on your side to help you understand all of your options and potential compensation claims.
Call (312) 201-8600 or visit our contact page to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation. We represent clients on a contingency fee basis – meaning you pay nothing unless you win.
Explanation of Dog Bite Laws
Illinois is a strict liability dog bite state, meaning a dog’s owner is liable for the full amount of a dog bite victim’s injuries if their dog attacks, attempts to attack, or injures any person who is peacefully conducting themselves in a place they have a lawful right to be. (Animal Control Act, 510 Illinois Compiled Statute 5/16)
Many local communities also have ordinances in place requiring owners of certain breeds, including Pit Bulls and Rottweilers, to comply with additional regulations.
Illinois’ Animal Control Act provides the following definitions relating to when dogs can be considered dangerous or vicious:
Dangerous Dog (510 Illinois Compiled Statute 5/2.05a)
“Any individual dog anywhere other than upon the property of the owner or custodian of the dog and unmuzzled, unleashed, or unattended by its owner or custodian that behaves in a manner that a reasonable person would believe poses a serious and unjustified imminent threat of serious physical injury or death to a person or a companion animal or a dog that, without justification, bites a person and does not cause serious physical injury.”
Vicious Dog (510 Illinois Compiled Statute 5/2.19b)
“A dog that, without justification, attacks a person and causes serious physical injury or death or any individual dog that has been found to be a “dangerous dog” upon three separate occasions.”
What to Do After a Dog Bite
If you or your loved one has been bitten by a dog, follow the steps below to protect your legal rights and ensure that you will be able to recover damages for your injuries:
1. Obtain the dog owner’s contact information
It is imperative to get this information immediately, especially if you do not personally know the dog responsible for the attack of its owner.
2. Get contact information from any witnesses
Any statement you can obtain from witnesses of the attack will strengthen your case against the dog’s owner. Be sure to get their full name and phone number, at a minimum. Your personal injury attorney will handle getting any statements from witnesses at a later date.
3. Call 911
File a detailed report of the incident, including date and time of incident, what you were doing at the time, and any memorable details of the dog and owner leading up to the attack. It’s easy to forget these details as time goes on. Documenting them early will ensure a stronger case.
4. Take photos
Capture photos of both your injuries and the location where the attack occurred. If the dog is still in the area, be sure to capture a photo of them as well.
5. Seek medical attention
Whether or not the bite seems significant to you, we recommend getting an expert opinion and proper medical care. Even bites that do not seem serious should be reviewed by a medical professional.
6. Contact a Dog Bite Attorney
While many dog bite cases are settled out of court, it’s imperative for victims to have legal counsel capable of negotiating with insurance companies for the most favorable possible settlement. You’ll want to ensure that your settlement covers all medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and noneconomic damages including pain, suffering, and emotional distress.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the statute of limitations for filing a dog bite claim?
In the State of Illinois, dog bite claims fall under the umbrella of personal injury cases, which require a case to be filed within two years. However, the reporting window can vary by insurance company, making it especially important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. (735 Illinois Compiled Statutes section 5/13-202)
How do I know if I have a dog bite case?
If you have been bitten by a dog in the State of Illinois, you are entitled to compensation for your medical care, and may also be eligible for additional compensation for lost wages, property damage, pain, suffering, and emotional damage. Call (312) 201-8600 or visit our contact page to schedule a free consultation with Susan E. Loggans & Associates. We represent clients on a contingency fee basis, meaning you’ll pay nothing unless we secure a monetary award on your behalf.
How much compensation could I receive in a dog bite claim?
In 2021, State Farm Insurance received 290 dog bite claims totalling $16.6 million – for an average payout of $57,241. As cases vary by severity of injury, wages lost and other factors, it is best to speak with a personal injury lawyer to determine what you may be eligible to receive in compensation.
Chicago Dog Bite Resources
Learn about requirements, license terms and expiration.
Learn about animal bite investigations, educational programs, and lost pets.
View the full text of the State of Illinois’ dog bite laws, including key definitions and rules.
Susan Loggans Law
Susan E. Loggans & Associates has a strong reputation in Chicago and the greater Cook County area for negotiating fair payouts for victims of dog bites and dog attacks. We are sensitive to the fact that dog attack victims often have a relationship with the dog’s owner. Whether they are a friend, family member or neighbor, we take care to keep your relationships intact, while working fiercely with insurance companies on your behalf. It is your right to receive full compensation for any and all physical and emotional damage, as well as potential lost wages.
If you or a loved one have been attacked by a dog, contact our office immediately to discuss your options and lawful rights to compensation. Call (312) 201-8600 or visit our contact page to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our experts in dog bite claims, who will provide a complete evaluation of your case.