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Many Hazel Crest residents consider their pet dogs members of the family. Illinois imposes rules on dog owners, however, which are meant to keep the public safe from attacks and bites. If you were bitten, a Hazel Crest dog bite lawyer could help you file a personal injury claim against the dog’s owner and seek the compensation you need after the attack.

Illinois Imposes Strict Liability on Dog Owners

Illinois categorizes dog bites and other animal attacks under strict liability. If a dog injures someone, the owner will be held responsible even if it is the first time or the owner had no knowledge the dog would attack. In a dog bite case, the plaintiff will have to prove the following in court:

  • The dog attacked and injured the victim
  • The victim had a right to be at the place of the attack
  • The victim did not provoke the dog

A local attorney with experience handling dog bite cases could review the facts to determine if a dog owner has any defenses to an attack.

Defenses a Dog Owner May Invoke

Although dog owners in the area are liable for injuries their pets inflict, there are two defenses they can invoke that may keep plaintiffs from prevailing in court. If a dog owner can prove the victim provoked the animal or was trespassing at the time of the bite, they may be absolved from providing compensation. Contact a dog bite attorney in the community to review a case, including what defenses a dog owner may raise.

The Animal Control Act Defines Reckless Dog Owners

The Illinois Animal Control Act was amended in 2019 to further protect people and other companion animals from dangerous dogs whose owners are negligent. The law states that a dog owner has acted recklessly if their dog is off-leash and bites a person or another dog without a good reason. All of the reckless owner’s dogs can be confiscated, and they will not be allowed to own dogs for up to three years.

Additionally, a dog owner found guilty will have to compensate the person or owner of the other dog that was bitten. Compensation may be made through a dog owner’s homeowners’ insurance, but after a payout the insurance company will demand that the owner get rid of the dog. A dog bite attorney in the area can explain the ramifications of the Animal Control Act.

Statute of Limitations in Illinois Dog Bite Cases

The Illinois statute of limitations prescribes how much time an injured victim has to file a lawsuit. Dog bites are considered personal injuries, thus individuals have two years from the date of the bite to sue the dog’s owner.

A case that is not filed with the court within the statute of limitations will likely be rejected. For this reason, victims should contact a skilled local attorney soon after a dog bite to ensure the evidence is fresh and allow the lawyer more time to analyze medical records, photos, witness statements, and police reports, if applicable.

A Hazel Crest Dog Bite Attorney Could Help

Dog attacks are painful both physically and mentally. The trauma may last for a long time and require expensive medical care for you or your dog. Reach out to an experienced Hazel Crest dog bite lawyer who could help you receive financial compensation for your losses. Call for a consultation about your rights.