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What Are the Laws Regarding Dog Attacks in Illinois?

 Posted on December 03, 2020 in Personal Injury

Cook County personal injury lawyerDogs can be loving, loyal companions. However, dogs are also animals with sharp teeth and claws that are capable of causing severe injuries. If you or a loved one were bitten or otherwise injured by a dog, you may have questions about your legal rights. You may wonder, “Is the dog’s owner liable for my injuries?” or “Who will pay my medical bills?”. The laws regarding liability for dog attacks vary from state to state. In Illinois, there are many cases in which a dog owner is liable for damages caused in a dog attack.

Illinois is a Strict Liability State

State laws regarding injuries from dog attacks typically fall into two categories: laws based on strict liability and laws based on negligence. Some states do not hold a dog owner responsible for injuries caused in an attack if the owner did not know that the dog was dangerous. Dog owners in these so called “one-free-bite” states may avoid liability for injuries caused by their dog if their dog has never bitten someone before. However, Illinois is a strict liability state with regard to dog bites. An owner may be liable for injuries caused in a dog attack even if the dog has never bitten anyone or showed previous signs of aggression.   

Seeking Compensation for Injuries Caused by a Dog

If you were bitten by a dog, you may have sustained deep lacerations, bruising, fractures, and other painful injuries. You may have needed emergency room care, stitches, antibiotic medication, and even surgery. Through a personal injury claim, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses and other damages. Illinois law states that a dog owner is liable for damages caused by a dog bite or dog attack if:

  • The dog attempted to injure or actually injured someone

  • The victim was on public property or lawfully on private property

  • The dog was not provoked

If you were on public property or on private property with the property owner’s permission and you were attacked by a dog, you may have a right to compensation.

In 2019, a law nicknamed the “Justice for Buddy Act” took effect in Illinois. This law is intended to protect people and animals from aggressive dogs. If a dog has bitten someone or attacked another dog in the past, and the dog is repeatedly off-leash or otherwise not safely contained, the dog owner may be prohibited from owning dogs for up to three years.

Contact a Lake County Dog Bite Lawyer

If you or a loved one were harmed in a dog attack, contact a Cook County personal injury attorney at Barrington Injury Attorneys. Our team will help you pursue financial compensation for your damages and work to hold the negligent dog owner accountable. Call our office at 224-900-HURT and schedule a free consultation today.



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