Chicago Dog Bite Attorneys | Salvi, Schostok
Dogs bite nearly 5 million people a year in the U.S. Almost half of those injured are children, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says. About 800,000 Americans each year seek medical attention for wounds from dog bites, and 386,000 require emergency room treatment. About 16 people die every year after being attacked by a dog. The CDC’s figures do not consider the psychological trauma of experiencing an animal attack.
It is a simple fact of life that dogs bite. This includes any dog of any breed. A dog bite can be anything from a nip to a traumatic attack that leaves a serious injury. A serious injury suffered in a dog attack is reason to hold the dog’s owner accountable, and for the dog bite victim to seek compensation for all medical expenses, pain and suffering and other harm caused by the bite.
If you have suffered a serious injury or lost a loved one in an animal attack that occurred in the Chicago area or anywhere else in Illinois, the personal injury attorneys at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., want to help you.
Our firm has a history of protecting the rights of dog bite victims, including securing a $1.125 million settlement in 2013 on behalf of a 17-year-old Zion boy who was attacked by dog while riding his bike (one of the largest settlement of its kind in Illinois).
To learn more about how we can assist you, call us today or use our online form and schedule a free consultation.
What You Need To Know About Dog Bite Law in Chicago, IL
The Illinois Animal Control Act erased the “one free bite” law. The law had excused dog owners from being liable for a bite by their pet if they were not aware of the animal’s propensity to bite.
Today, Illinois law specifically states:
“If a dog or other animal, without provocation, attacks or injures any person who is peaceably conducting himself in any place where he may lawfully be, the owner of such dog or other animal is liable in damages to such person for the full amount of the injury sustained.”
Serious Injuries from Dog Attacks
A serious bite is not a playful nip or even a minor injury that bruises someone who came into contact with a dog at the wrong time. A serious dog attack is one that includes biting and scratching that causes significant traumatic injury, such as deep cuts, tearing, fractures or more. A serious attack by a dog can also cause significant emotional and psychological injury.
According to dog bite statistics from the CDC, approximately 885,000 dog bite victims very year – or 20 percent of all of those who are bitten by dogs – require medical attention for their injuries.
The most common victims are:
- Children ages 5-9
- Elderly people
- Post letter carriers.
Dogs most often bite a person’s arm, hand, leg, foot, head or neck, according to the CDC. Common injuries in dog attacks include:
- Cuts, bruises and scratches
- Puncture wounds
- Tearing (avulsion)
- Crushing (head / skull injuries).
DogsBite.org, a nonprofit, public education website about dangerous dog breeds, reports that serious dog attacks can result in acute injuries that can require $250,000 to $1 million in specialized medical care.
The CDC states that about 27,000 dog bite victims every year undergo reconstructive surgery. This may include skin grafting, tissue expansion and scar diminishment. A victim may require multiple procedures over several years.
Seeking Compensation After a Dog Bite
Dog bite victims may seek compensation to cover their:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost income and diminished earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Other related losses.
Claims can be made against the dog owner and, possibly, a third party if that party’s negligence caused the injury.
People who have been seriously injured by an attacking dog deserve compensation and should not be reluctant to seek it through civil legal action and contact a dog bite attorney– it will not come out of a friend or neighbor’s pocket. The compensation recovered in a dog bite claim almost always come from the dog owner’s insurance, such as homeowners’ insurance or business liability insurance.
The Insurance Information Institute and State Farm Insurance report that dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners’ insurance liability claim dollars paid out in 2013 and resulted in more than $483 million in compensation for victims. The average payment for dog bite claims was $27,862.
An experienced lawyer can investigate your dog bite case to determine whether the dog’s owner is liable and calculate the compensation you may be due for your injuries.
Many claims can be settled though negotiations with the dog owner’s insurance company. If a proper settlement agreement cannot be reached, we would be ready to pursue appropriate compensation for you in court.
Taking Action after an Attack
You can act to help yourself, a loved one or a friend who has been injured by a dog bite. Here are some steps you should try to follow: