Americans love dogs. In fact, more than 89 million dogs are kept as pets in the United States, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). However, the III estimates that about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year as well. In some cases, dog bite injuries can be severe.
Dogs are more likely to bite when they are sick, scared, nervous, or when they are eating or playing with a toy. But any dog can bite at any time, regardless of circumstances. Even familiar animals can bite—in fact, over half of dog bite injuries occur at home with dogs that are familiar to the victim. Children are more likely to be bitten than adults.
If you have been bitten by a dog, the costs of your injuries may be the responsibility of the dog’s owner. A Rockford dog bite lawyer can help you seek compensation for:
- Medical bills. You may be able to recover damages for emergency room visits, surgery, medications, doctor visits, follow-up treatments, and any other medical expenses caused by your dog bite injury.
- Pain and suffering. You may be able to seek compensation for mental anguish, anxiety, and stress. You may also seek awards for scarring, loss of a limb or finger, or loss of enjoyment of life.
- Lost wages. You may be able to seek awards for time lost at work. If you are unable to perform the same job as before you were injured, you may be entitled to future lost wages or permanent disability payments.
- Property damage. If your property was damaged during the dog bite incident, you may be able to seek awards for the costs of repairs or replacement.
- Wrongful death. A person can die after a dog bite if the injuries are severe or cause other health complications. If this happened to your loved one, you may be entitled to sue for wrongful death.
To learn how a Rockford dog bite lawyer can help with your dog bite claim, call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at 800-794-0444.
Illinois Dog Bite Laws
If you are bitten by a dog in Illinois, the animal’s owner is “strictly liable.” This means they are responsible for your injuries, whether or not they were acting negligently.
According to 510 ILCS 5/16, owners are typically responsible for injuries caused by their dog—although there are exceptions, such as provoking a dog. This means that a victim will need to prove:
- They were injured
- They had the right to be on the property (they were not trespassing)
- They did not provoke the dog
Some states follow a “one-bite” rule, where dog owners are liable for bites only if their dog has bitten someone before or is known to be aggressive. In Illinois, once a dog has bitten or attacked a person or another animal, it can be declared “vicious.” If, after investigation, the dog is declared vicious, the owner must pay a $100 fine, the animal must be spayed or neutered, and the dog must be kept in an approved enclosure. If the owner does not comply, or if the animal injures or bites again, the owner may face more severe penalties.
What to Do if You Are Bitten by a Dog
All dogs carry germs that can be harmful to people. Even clean, well-cared-for animals have germs that can cause a serious infection. Germs from dogs can cause a variety of health conditions, from skin infections to serious illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About 20 percent of dog bite victims will require medical attention.
If you have been bitten by a dog, make sure to thoroughly clean the wound, and apply antibiotic ointment and bandages. You may need to go to a doctor if you have deep wounds, if there are signs of infection, if you have concerns about rabies, or if you do not know the extent of the damage. Even if you believe an injury is not serious, it may help your personal injury case to see a doctor.
Be sure to follow instructions after seeing a doctor and keep copies of your bills. If you decide to pursue a settlement or a lawsuit, these can help you or a Rockford dog bite lawyer figure out how much your case may be worth.
For a free legal consultation with a Dog Bite Lawyer serving Rockford, call (800) 794-0444
How a Rockford Dog Bite Lawyer Can Help
Dog bites can be painful, even months or years after the attack, depending on your injuries. Dog bites can also be expensive for the victim. According to the III, the average insurance payout for dog bite injury claims in 2019 was $44,760. A Rockford dog bite lawyer may be able to help you negotiate a settlement with the dog owner’s insurance provider or seek awards in a personal injury lawsuit.
Even if your injuries are partly your fault, you still may be able to seek damages. If your amount of responsibility comes in under the fault threshold set by the state of Illinois (51 percent), you can still seek compensation. Any settlement you receive will be reduced by your amount of fault. For example, if you are awarded $100,000 but are found to be 20 percent at fault, you would receive $80,000.
A Rockford dog bite lawyer can help you prove liability in your case with evidence such as medical bills, eyewitness testimony, expert testimony, and/or surveillance video. A lawyer can also help ensure that you are pursuing all the damages you may be owed.
If you want to pursue your case in court, be sure to contact a Rockford dog bite lawyer before the statute of limitations runs out. Illinois allows two years after the dog bite occurred to take legal action for claims of personal injury and wrongful death.
Rockford Dog Bite Lawyer Near Me (800) 794-0444
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Today
At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we believe in helping victims. If you were bitten by a dog and suffered injuries, you do not have to fight for awards alone. Our legal team can help you seek compensation from those who are responsible for your injuries.
We have helped clients across the country win millions of dollars in successful settlements. We work on a contingency basis, so we only collect a fee if we win your case.
To learn more about how a Rockford dog bite lawyer can help you, contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at 800-794-0444.