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How to Protect Your Rights After a Dog Bite in Illinois

 Posted on April 29, 2024 in Premises Liability

Waukegan dog bite lawyerGetting bitten by a dog can be an incredibly frightening and traumatic experience. One moment, you are going about your day, and the next, you find yourself being attacked by an animal. Dog bites can cause severe physical injuries, along with emotional distress. An Illinois lawyer can help you understand your rights and the steps you need to take to protect yourself.

Seek Medical Attention

Your first priority after a dog bite should be to seek proper medical attention. Dog bites can cause severe injuries, including puncture wounds, lacerations, and infections. Prompt treatment can prevent further complications and help document the extent of your injuries, which will be vital evidence if you decide to pursue legal action.

Report the Incident

Notify the relevant authorities about the dog bite incident, including the local animal control department or the police. Be sure to provide as much detail as possible, including the location of the incident, a description of the dog and its owner (if known), and make sure to note if there were any witnesses present. Obtaining an official report can help substantiate your claim and serve as valuable documentation.

Gather Evidence

If possible, try to gather as much evidence as you can from the scene of the incident. Take photos of your injuries, the dog (if it can be done safely), and the surrounding area. Collect the contact information of any witnesses who may have seen the incident occur. These pieces of evidence can greatly strengthen your case and support your claims.

What You Should Know About Illinois Dog Bite Laws

In Illinois, the law imposes strict liability on pet owners for injuries caused by their dogs, even if they had not previously displayed any signs of aggression. This means that the dog owner is responsible for damages even if the owner had no reason to believe the dog would bite someone.

However, it is important to note that there are exceptions to this rule. If you were trespassing, provoking the dog, or committing a crime at the time of the bite, the owner may not be held liable. If you were aware of the dog’s dangerous propensities and still voluntarily exposed themselves to the risk, the owner’s liability may be reduced or eliminated.

Damages You May Be Entitled To

If a dog has bitten you or a loved one, you may be entitled to compensation for various damages, including:

  • Medical Expenses: This includes costs for emergency treatment, hospitalization, surgery, medication, physical therapy, and any ongoing medical care related to dog bite injuries.
  • Lost Wages: If you were unable to work due to the injuries sustained from the dog bite, you may be able to recover lost wages and income.
  • Pain and Suffering: You can possibly pursue compensation for the physical pain, emotional distress, and mental distress caused by the incident.
  • Punitive Damages: In some cases, if the dog owner’s conduct was particularly egregious or reckless, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the owner and deter similar behavior in the future.

Contact a Waukegan, IL Dog Bite Lawyer

Seeking legal representation from a Lake County, IL dog bite attorney is important to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive potential compensation for your injuries and damages. Call Salvi & Maher, LLP at 847-662-3303 to start with a free consultation.

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