Being bitten or otherwise injured by a dog can be a traumatic experience, both physically and psychologically. Those who suffer dog bites can often have significant scarring, suffer a great deal of pain, and suffer post-traumatic stress symptoms after such an event. Considering the significant physical and mental trauma a person can suffer because of a dog bite event, Illinois has laws in place for dog bite victims to seek compensation for the harm they have suffered.
An Overview of Illinois Dog Bite Laws
First, it is important to note that Illinois, like all other states, does have a statute of limitations in place for lawsuits pertaining to dog bite injuries. A statute of limitations is, essentially, a time restriction on when you can file a lawsuit. Once the statute of limitations has run out, you will be prevented from bringing legal action, except under extremely limited circumstances. In Illinois, the statute of limitations for a dog bite injury claim falls under the larger category of personal injury claims. Generally, an action for damages for an injury, including a dog bite injury, must commence within two years after the cause of action occurred. This means that you have two years from the date of the dog bite or other injury to file your personal injury complaint.
Illinois makes it clear that dog owners have a responsibility to take the necessary measures to keep others safe from their animals injuring others. It is a dog owner’s responsibility to make sure that their dogs remain secured on their property at all times. Illinois statute requires that all dogs on private property must be enclosed by a fence or other structure that is a minimum of six feet tall. The high fence is intended to prevent children from entering the property where the dog is located. Should a dog escape the owner’s property, the owner can still be held responsible for any damages caused by the dog. Furthermore, when an owner takes a dog for a walk, the dog must be leashed at all times.
Illinois is a strict liability state when it comes to handling dog owners’ responsibility for dog bites. The fact that it is a strict liability state means that the dog owner cannot assert a defense of not knowing that the animal was dangerous or aggressive. Even if the dog never showed any signs of aggression, the owner may still be held liable for any harm caused. While this may not be a defense to a dog bite claim, the dog owner may still be able to assert various defenses to liability. For instance, a dog owner may argue that the injury victim did not have a lawful right to be where they were when attacked by the dog. Trespassers, for instance, may be prevented from bringing a personal injury claim for a dog bite. Additionally, a dog owner may assert that the animal was provoked. Provocation of the animal may also act as a bar to any personal injury claim for a dog bite incident.
Personal Injury Attorneys
Have you been bitten or otherwise harmed by a dog? Do not hesitate to get in touch with the experienced personal injury attorneys at Stein & Shulman, LLC. Contact us today.