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Dogs are beloved by millions of Americans and act as faithful companions to many. However, that does not mean every dog is friendly, or that all dogs obey human directions. If aggressive, dogs can cause serious injuries and property damage. When they do, their owners can be held legally accountable.

If you suffered injuries caused by a dog or another domesticated animal, it is a good idea to consult an Oak Lawn dog bite lawyer to learn your rights. You may be entitled to compensation to cover economic losses as well as your pain and suffering. An experienced personal injury lawyer could fight to obtain a fair recovery.

Acting against negligent dog owners also sends a message reinforcing the need for responsibility in caring for animals. A lawsuit could prove beneficial to pets and their owners throughout the community.

Strict Liability for Animal Attacks

Pet owners in Oak Lawn are held to a strict liability standard for attacks by their dogs or other animals under 510 Illinois Compiled Statutes §5/16. This statute specifies that if an animal causes injuries to someone who is authorized to be in that place, then the owner of that animal is required to pay damages for the harm suffered.

Unlike in some jurisdictions, a person injured by a dog in Oak Lawn does not need to prove that the owner of the animal was negligent. There is no requirement to show that an animal had aggressive tendencies or had attacked others before. An Oak Lawn attorney could help determine the level of liability for both the dog bite victim and the animal’s owner.

Damages Available to Dog Bite Victims

Animals can cause severe physical and emotional injuries even without biting. For instance, a dog may knock someone over, or a cat could inflict injuries with claws. Even still, the law allows someone injured by an animal to seek damages in civil court. A lawyer in Oak Lawn could work to help an animal attack victim recover compensation for:

  • Emotional anguish
  • Hospital bills
  • Future medical expenses
  • The effects of scarring and disfigurement
  • Pain and suffering
  • Time lost from work

Amounts may be available for each relevant factor in a case regardless of whether the case settles in advance or proceeds to trial.

What is the Statute of Limitations in a Dog Bite Case?

Those injured by dog bites must file their claim within the timeframe known as the statute of limitations. A plaintiff must file within two years from the time of the injury, although there are some exceptions which an Oak Lawn dog attack lawyer could explain.

Barring these exceptions, any lawsuits filed after the expiration of the two-year period are likely to be dismissed by the court. This means that an insurance company has no incentive to settle a claim filed after the deadline, so it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after the incident.

Are There Extra Rules for Dogs Deemed Dangerous or Vicious?

The laws impose additional consequences in situations where a dog is considered to be “vicious” or “dangerous” under 510 ILCS §5/15. Dogs deemed to be vicious are required to be kept in an enclosure at all times. Dogs deemed to be dangerous must be spayed or neutered, microchipped, and possibly muzzled while on public property.

Additionally, dangerous dogs must be directly supervised by an adult while on public premises or evaluated by a certified behaviorist at the owner’s expense. When owners of dangerous or vicious dogs fail to fulfill their responsibilities, they may be held responsible for their pet’s actions, including harm they cause to other animals.

Consult an Oak Lawn Dog Bite Attorney

To protect both humans and their pets, the state has adopted numerous laws allocating responsibilities and specifying appropriate remedies.

Fortunately, an experienced Oak Lawn dog bite lawyer understands the animal responsibility laws and how they can be used to obtain justice for those injured by dogs and other animals. To learn how an attorney could help you receive fair compensation after you suffered a dog bite or other animal injury, call today for a consultation.