Fault Following a Dog Bite Injury

The CDC estimates that more than 4.5 million dog bite injuries occur each year with approximately 20% of those bites resulting in an infection or other serious injury.  Dog bite injuries are estimated to cost Americans almost $2 billion annually and result in almost $1 billion dollars in insurance claims.  The average medical bill following a dog bite is almost $20,000, and injuries can include infection, disfigurement, torn ligaments and tendons and even death.  If you have been injured by a dog bite in Illinois, the fault (or who is responsible) for the injury often turns on who owned or controlled the dog. 

In Illinois, dog bite claims can be pursued by statute or under negligence theory.  The Illinois Animal Control Act governs statutory liability for dog bites as well as injuries resulting from a variety of other animals in Illinois.  Under the statute the dog’s owner and any person controlling the dog is legally responsible for the injury a dog bite causes.  This is known as “strict liability.”  In contrast, Illinois negligence law will only find an owner or handler of a dog liable if they were negligent in handling the dog or knew the dog posed a danger. 

Not all dog bites are compensable.  For example, many dog bites occur after a victim has been trespassing or otherwise provokes a dog to bite, and the dog owner will generally not be liable to an accident victim in these circumstances.  Even though dog bite injuries can result in extensive medical bills, homeowners insurance will typically cover a claim made against a dog owner following a dog bite.  The accident attorneys at Feagans Law Group have the experience necessary to pursue dog bite claims.  If you or your family member has been injured as a result of a dog bite, please call the accident attorneys at Feagans Law Group and allow us to guide your path to justice.