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Dog Bite Claims: Follow These Steps To Maximize Your Compensation

If you have recently suffered from a dog bite, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. Once you have been treated for your injuries, don’t wait to contact a personal injury lawyer who specializes in dog bite cases.

In Illinois, dog owners are strictly liable for any injuries caused by their dog. If you or someone you know has been attacked by a dog, contact a personal injury lawyer today to discuss your legal options.

What To Do In The Immediate Aftermath Of The Attack

If you have been attacked or bitten by a dog, you may be able to make a premises liability or personal injury claim against the animal’s owner. To support your claim, you should do the following in the immediate aftermath of the attack:

  1. Obtain the contact information for the dog’s owner. If the attack occurred on public property, you may also need to get the contact information for the property owner or manager.
  2. Take photos of any injuries that you sustained as a result of the attack. Be sure to get close-up shots as well as full-body shots.
  3. It is also helpful to take photos of the scene of the attack, including any evidence such as broken fencing or a hole in the ground that may have contributed to the accident.
  4. Get witnesses’ contact information so that they can corroborate your story if necessary.
  5. Seek medical attention as soon as possible after the attack and keep all documentation related to your treatment and prognosis.
  6. Consult with a personal injury lawyer who has experience successfully handling dog bite cases. Your attorney can help you build the strongest possible claim after the attack.

Premises Liability In Dog Bite Cases

In order to bring a premises liability claim against a property owner, you must demonstrate that the owner knew or should have known about dangerous conditions on their property. This can be difficult to do in dog bite cases, as property owners are sometimes unaware — or claim to be unaware — that their dog is capable of biting someone. A skilled premises liability attorney will conduct a thorough investigation to gain an accurate perspective on what happened.

In the course of their investigation, your attorney will explore questions including:

  • Did the owner have prior notice of the dog’s aggressive behavior? This can be shown through witness testimony, prior police reports, or other evidence that the owner was aware of the danger.
  • Was the dog kept in a secure area? If the dog was roaming free on the property without any restraints, this may show that the owner was not taking proper precautions to prevent attacks.
  • Did the attack occur in a public place? If so, there may be more of a duty for the owner to take steps to prevent attacks since they are aware that people will be coming onto their property.

“One Bite” Rule Varies Across Illinois

If you have been the victim of a dog bite, you have certain rights under Illinois law. In Illinois, dog owners are strictly liable for any injuries caused by their dog. This means that even if the dog has never bitten anyone before or shown any aggression, the owner may still be held responsible for your injuries.

Furthermore, depending on the jurisdiction, the “one bite” rule may govern the ability of dog bite victims to recover damages even if the dog owner had no prior knowledge of the animal’s dangerous propensity. Under this rule, once a dog bites someone, the owner is automatically considered negligent and can be held liable for any resulting injuries.

Contact An Experienced Illinois Dog Bite Attorney

If you or a loved one has suffered from a dog attack, there is hope for legal recourse. Proving premises liability in dog bite cases requires expert analysis of the laws surrounding dog bite cases and proof that the owner was at fault before damages can be awarded. Working with an experienced personal injury lawyer will help you pursue justice and maximize your chances of obtaining compensation following a canine attack. Contact us today for a free consultation.