Urbana Dog Bites

Urbana Dog Bites Attorneys

Dogs are popular pets and wonderful companions, but we sometimes forget that even the most well-trained dog is still an animal that retains certain wild instincts. When these instincts take over, a dog can bite or attack a person.

Indeed, there are thousands of dog bite injuries reported in emergency rooms in Urbana and throughout Illinois each year. Dog attacks often inflict severe injuries, particularly on the children, the elderly, and members of other vulnerable groups. Dog owners who fail to prevent such attacks can, and should, be held liable under Illinois law.

The Urbana dog bite lawyers at Patel Law, PC, can help. We represent individuals who, through no fault of their own, were attacked by someone else’s dog. We can assist you in seeking compensation for your injuries, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

What are Some Common Causes of Dog Attacks?

There are many environmental factors that can lead a dog to bite someone. These factors include heredity–some breeds are known to be more aggressive than others–as well as the particular animal’s early experience and socialization. Of course, a lack of training and supervision can often lead to problems. If a dog has not been spayed or neutered, certain behaviors associated with the animal’s reproductive process can make it more predisposed towards aggressive reactions.

In many cases, a dog attack is situational. That is to say, there was some immediate provocation for the attack, such as:

  • The animal experiences a sudden increase in stress because it feels threatened;
  • The animal is startled when it perceives a person encroaching on its territory;
  • The animal is not feeling well due to illness; or
  • The animal is “playful” and attempts to interact with a human in the same aggressive manner it plays with other dogs.

When is an Owner Liable for a Dog Bite in Illinois?

Whatever the cause of a dog bite, the legal responsibility ultimately falls on the owner to supervise and control their animal. In some states, there is what is known as a “one-bite” rule. This means that a dog owner is only liable for an attack only if the same animal had previously bitten someone. That is to say, the dog got “one free bite,” which served to put the owner on-notice of the animal’s aggressive and dangerous tendencies.

Illinois, however, follows a “strict liability” rule with respect to injuries caused by dogs and other pets. This means that the victim does not need to show the owner was on-notice due to a prior attack. Nor can the owner argue ignorance of the dog’s tendencies as a defense to a civil lawsuit.

What the owner can argue is that the dog was provoked. Even under Illinois’ strict liability rules, the owner is only responsible when an attack is “without provocation” and directed at a “person who is peaceably conducting himself or herself in any place where he or she may lawfully be.” Put another way, the owner can escape liability if they can show:

  • The victim teased, injured, or provoked the dog in some way that led to the animal’s attack; or
  • The victim was trespassing on private property at the time of the dog bite.

How can I Seek Compensation for a Dog Bite in Illinois?

Like any personal injury claim, there is a two-year statute of limitations in Illinois to bring a lawsuit based on a dog bite or attack. If you are injured by someone else’s dog and file a lawsuit within this time period, you can seek a variety of legal damages related to the attack. This includes your medical bills and lost wages, as well as “non-economic” compensation for your pain and suffering.

Keep in mind, there are several steps you must follow in order to bring–and win–a dog bite lawsuit. First, you need to show that you were attacked without provocation and not trespassing on private property. Second, you need to prove that you suffered actual damages. Third, you must show those damages were “proximately caused”–i.e., a direct result–of the animal attacking you.

So, while a dog attack lawsuit might seem like a simple matter at first, in reality it involved a host of complex legal and factual issues. Urbana dog bite attorney Baku N. Patel and his team can help you in navigating the legal system and fighting for the compensation you are entitled to under the law. Contact our offices today to schedule a free consultation so we can sit down and discuss your case.