If you live in Illinois and own a dog that tends to bite, you either need to ensure it is well-behaved or keep it inside. When it comes to dog bite cases, according to the Animal Control Act, Illinois is a strict liability state and any injuries caused by your animals may be your responsibility.
You cannot argue you had no idea your pet was aggressive or could injure someone – even if it never exhibited such previous behavior. If your pet injures another person or their pet and caused injuries, you will be held liable as its owner.
Dangerous vs. Vicious Dogs
State law categorizes liable dogs as either dangerous or vicious depending on the severity of the attack. The former is a dog that is not on a lease, muzzled or was unattended by the owner and behaved in a manner resulting in the injury or death of another. This includes dogs that bite others without reason but does not cause a physical injury.
A dog is deemed vicious if it attacks someone without provocation leading to serious injuries and/or death. Dogs that have been deemed dangerous by the state three (3) times are also deemed vicious.
Responsibilities of Dog Owners
In the state of Illinois, dog owners have certain responsibilities that they need to upheld or their dogs may be deemed vicious or dangerous. For one thing, their pets always have to be in your sight, leashed if they are outside and muzzled if they are prone to aggressive behavior.
If the dog is not on the owner’s property, the owner has to ensure his/her pet is kept in an enclosure that can prevent an escape. The enclosure should also be sturdy enough to prevent children from entering. Owners are liable for injuries caused due to certain circumstances:
- Their dog tried to attack or successfully attacked the victim
- The victim had every right to be in the location where the attack occurred
- The dog was not provoked by the victim or caused the attack
In other words, the only way dog owners can legally claim they are not responsible for an attack is if their dog was provoked into an attack (i.e. it was teased and beaten) or the victim trespassed on their property, which led to the attack. If not, the victim has two (2) years from the date of the incident to bring their claim to court or risk forfeiting their claim.
If you are a victim of a dangerous or vicious dog attack, get in touch with us at the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens today for a consultation. We have successfully represented cases like yours in court for the past 20 years and have recovered millions of dollars in settlements for our clients. The call is completely free. Once you book an appointment, we will sit down with you to discuss the details. Call us today in Chicago, Waukegan, Libertyville, Woodstock or Antioch, IL, and get the compensation you deserve.