Dog Bites

Dogs are beloved family pets for most people, but they are still animals whose actions can be occasionally unpredictable. Dog bites are incredibly common in the United States, and certain dog attacks can result in extremely serious injuries.

In addition to damaging physical injuries, some victims of dog bites—especially children—may also suffer immense emotional trauma because of these incidents. Victims can often have numerous fears about seeking compensation for these injuries because the owners of the dogs involved happen to be family members, friends, or neighbors, but dog bite liability expenses are typically covered by homeowners or renters insurance policies.

Attorney for Dog Bites in Chicago, IL

Were you or your loved one recently attacked by a dog in the Chicagoland area? Do not attempt to negotiate with an insurance company until you have legal representation. Contact Susan E. Loggans & Associates as soon as possible.

Chicago personal injury lawyer Susan E. Loggans represents clients in Des Plaines, Berwyn, Burbank, Calumet City, Chicago, and many surrounding areas of Cook County. She can review your case and help you understand all of your legal options when you call (312) 201-8600 to schedule a free initial consultation. Susan E. Loggans & Associates represents clients on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless you obtain a monetary award.

Overview of Dog Bite Injuries in Cook County

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Illinois Dog Bite Laws

While some other states have so-called “one bite” rules that only make dog owners liable when they know that their pets had a propensity to bite others, Illinois is a strict liability state. Under the Animal Control Act, 510 Illinois Compiled Statute 5/16 states, “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 another animal is liable in civil damages to such person for the full amount of the injury proximately caused thereby.”

 TheIllinois Pattern Civil Jury Instruction 110.04 states that the provocation element of the Animal Control Act is not an affirmative defense. An "affirmative defense" is facts, other than those presented by the plaintiff that mitigate or justify the defendant's actions. Thus, the plaintiff must prove that there was no provocation. In addition to state law regarding dog attacks, Cook County and the City of Chicago (as well as several surrounding municipalities) have local ordinances governing dog owner liability.

Local governments in Illinois are prohibited from adopting breed-specific legislation (BSL) that expressly bans owning certain canine breeds, but many communities have passed measures that place restrictions that force owners of certain breeds to comply with additional requirements. Many such ordinances specifically target pit bulls, but the Village of Buffalo Grove’s Code of Ordinances also includes Rottweilers.

Under 510 Illinois Compiled Statute 5/2.11, a dog is defined as all members of the family Canidae. The Animal Control Act provides the following definitions relating to when dogs can be considered dangerous or vicious:

  • Dangerous Dog, 510 Illinois Compiled Statute 5/2.05a — Any individual dog anywhere other than upon the property of the owner or custodian of the dog and unmuzzled, unleashed, or unattended by its owner or custodian that behaves in a manner that a reasonable person would believe poses a serious and unjustified imminent threat of serious physical injury or death to a person or a companion animal or a dog that, without justification, bites a person and does not cause serious physical injury.
  • Vicious Dog, 510 Illinois Compiled Statute 5/2.19b — A dog that, without justification, attacks a person and causes serious physical injury or death or any individual dog that has been found to be a "dangerous dog" upon three separate occasions.

Additionally, 510 Illinois Compiled Statute 5/2.17c defines a “potentially dangerous dog” as being a dog that is unsupervised and found running at large with three or more other dogs. When a person is the victim of a dog attack in Illinois, he or she can be entitled to such economic damages as medical bills and lost wages as well as noneconomic damages like pain and suffering or emotional distress.

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What You Should Do After a Dog Attack in Chicago

Dog bites can be very disorienting experiences for the victims. People bitten by dogs frequently feel confused about what steps they should take to protect their legal rights.

If you or your loved one is ever bitten by a dog, here are the steps you should take to ensure that you will be able to recover compensation for your injuries:

  • Seek Medical Attention — severe bite injuries may require plastic surgery, but even bites that do not seem as serious should still be reviewed by medical professionals.
  • Locate Dog and Owner — when dogs bite people, victims need to find the owners of the animals and obtain all necessary contact information.
  • Witnesses — if anybody else saw the dog attack, the victim should be sure to get contact information for all of those witnesses.
  • Take Pictures — victims will not only want to photograph their injuries, but also the location where the dog bit occurred.
  • Contact a Personal Injury Attorney — many dog bite cases are settled out of court, but it is important for victims to have legal counsel capable of negotiating with insurance companies to obtain the most favorable possible settlements.

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Dog Bite Resources in Cook County

Dog Registration | City Clerk of Chicago — Visit this section of the City Clerk’s website to learn more about registering your dog. Find information about requirements and license terms and expiration. The Office of the City Clerk offers 1-year and 3-year dog registration emblems, depending on the vaccination administered by your dog’s vet.

City Clerk of Chicago
(312) 742-5375 (74C-LERK)

North Side Satellite Office
5430 W. Gale St.
Chicago, IL 60630

City Hall Office
121 N. LaSalle Dr., Room 107
Chicago, IL 60602

South Side Satellite Office
5674 S. Archer Ave.
Unit A
Chicago, IL 60638

Animal and Rabies Control | Cook County — On this website, you can learn more about the Cook County Animal and Rabies Control. You can find information about animal bite investigations, educational programs, and lost pets. You can also find services for unincorporated areas.

Cook County Animal Control
10220 S. 76th Ave. # 251
Bridgeview, IL 60455
(708) 974-6140

510 Illinois Compiled Statute 5/1 | Animal Control Act — The Animal Control Act governs dog bite law in Illinois. The Animal Control Act is a strict liability rule that makes pet owners legally responsible for injuries caused to other parties that are not the result of provocation. View the full text of the state’s dog bite law, including key definitions and rules.

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Susan E. Loggans & Associates | Chicago Dog Bites Lawyer

If you or your loved one were recently bitten by a dog anywhere in the greater Cook County area, it is in your best interest to not say anything about your case to anybody until you have legal counsel. Susan E. Loggans & Associates helps residents and visitors in communities all over northern Illinois, including Oak Forest, Park Ridge, Elgin, Elmhurst, Evanston, and several others.

Susan E. Loggans is an experienced personal injury attorney in Chicago who can fight to get you all of the compensation you need and deserve. Call (312) 201-8600 or complete an online contact form to have our lawyer provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free, no-obligation consultation.

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