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Dog Bite and Animal Attack Injuries


Under Illinois law, and the Illinois Animal Control Act, the people who "own" or "harbor" animals are responsible for all damages suffered by victims of any animal attack. This is true whether a case involves a permanent scar on a child's face from the bite of a dangerous dog breed's. There is no "first bite" rule in Illinois, and animal owners are responsible for the injuries their pets cause, unless the animal was provoked.

The State of Illinois also has a statute that makes the owner, harborer or keeper of any animal (whether or not a dog) liable for injuries to people, whether or not caused by a bite, (such as any contact) without negligence on the part of the dog owner. In Illinois, the dog bite statute uses the word "owner," to identify a defendant, the term is defined as "any person having a right of property in an animal, or who keeps or harbors an animal, or who has it in his care, or acts as its custodian, or who knowingly permits a dog to remain on any premises occupied by him or her." (510 ILCS 5/2.16.)

The relevant part of the Animal Control Act for dog bites in Illinois is as follows:

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.

A dog bite victim can bring a claim against a dog owner based upon the foregoing statute. Additionally, a victim can reach owners and other potential defendants, such as the custodian of the dog, on the ground of negligence or negligence per se.

If you have been bitten by a dog in the Chicago area or throughout Illinois, the law firm of Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman can help you seek recovery from the dog owner's homeowners insurance policy or renters insurance policy (or even from the dog owner, if he does not have any insurance but assets).

Besides dog bite injury cases, the lawyers at the firm can also assist in various other injuries caused by animals. Specifically, the attorneys at Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman have significant experience litigating cases under the Illinois Equine Activity Liability Act (injuries that occur with horses) . In Illinois, an individual can be held liable for injuries of an equine activity participant if he or she displays a willful and wanton or intentional disregard for the safety of the participant and if he or she fails to make reasonable and prudent efforts in ensuring the safety of the participant. In addition, a person will also be held liable for the injury of an equine activity participant if he or she is injured on the land or at a facility due to a dangerous latent condition of which was known to the equine sponsor, professional or other person.

When it comes to dog bites and animal injuries, trust the experienced attorneys at Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman for your injury cases. Contact our office for a free consultation today.

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