Although many of us love animals and have dogs as members of our families, the unfortunate reality is that dog attacks do occur. The CDC estimates that approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States each year, and 800,000 of those bites result in medical care. Annually, Dog bites and dog-related injuries make up a significant portion of homeowners insurance claims.
In Illinois, if you were injured by a dog, you may have legal recourse.
The Illinois Animal Control Act, passed in 1949, focuses on the importance of protecting the public from harm by encouraging tight control over animals. Section 16 of the Act provides:
“If a dog or other animal, without provocation, attacks, attempts to attack, or injures any person who is peaceably conducting himself or herself in any place where he or she may lawfully be, the owner of such dog or other animal is liable in civil damages to such person for the full amount of the injury proximately caused thereby”.
Under the Act, an injured party must show:
- that an injury was caused by the defendant’s animal; (2) a lack of provocation by the plaintiff; (3) peaceable conduct of the person injured; and (4) the presence of the injured person in a place where he or she had a right to be.
It is not necessary that the injury party is attacked by a dog. It is enough that the dog does something to cause an injury, such as running into the plaintiff, causing a fall. An injured party must show that he or she did nothing that would provoke the dog.
If you believe you may have a case because of being injured by a dog, seek an experienced lawyer to explore all potential avenues of recovery.
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Related: Illinois Dog Bite Law and Litigation