More than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One in five of these bites will become infected, and those with the most serious injuries may die. Losing your loved one in a fatal dog attack is traumatic and unjust. The family members of those killed by an aggressive dog can seek compensation from the dog’s owner. While a wrongful death lawsuit cannot bring back your deceased loved one, it can help your family financially recover from the loss and will hold the negligent dog owner accountable for his or her role in the untimely death.
At Stein & Shulman, LLC, our Chicago law firm has assisted a number of dog attack victims. We understand how serious a dog attack can be, and dedicate our time and resources to helping the family members of those killed in this horrific manner. Our compassionate wrongful death lawyers will thoroughly investigate the attack and pursue your wrongful death action with zeal.
Owner’s Liability for Dog Bites
Illinois is considered a strict liability state for dog bites. This means that a dog owner will be liable for injuries caused by their pet, with very few exceptions. 510 ILCS 5/16 states that if a dog or another animal attacks without provocation and the victim is in a place where he or she may lawfully be, the owner of such dog or animal is liable in civil damages to the bite victim.
A dog’s owner is interpreted broadly under Illinois law. An owner will include anyone who harbors the dog, as well as anyone who allows the dog to remain on property they occupy. Often, the landlord will be included in a wrongful death dog attack lawsuit, along with the dog’s actual owner. It will not be a valid defense to the action to claim that the owner had no knowledge that their dog was vicious. Knowledge is irrelevant under Illinois law.
Provocation as a Defense to a Dog Attack Wrongful Death Suit
In Illinois, a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from a dog attack may be defended against if the owner can show the attack was provoked. Provocation can be intentional or unintentional and may include actions such as teasing or harassing the dog. The plaintiff will need to show that their deceased loved one did not provoke the attack to recover successfully in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits Stemming from Dog Bites
If a dog attack is fatal, Illinois law authorizes the personal representative of the deceased individual’s estate to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the owner(s). The personal representative could be anyone who is close to the family and will be appointed by the court if the bite victim did not name a personal representative before death. Damages recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit will go towards the deceased’s next of kin, which is often the surviving spouse and dependent children.
Put Our Over 45 Years of Combined Legal Experience to Work on Your Case!
If your loved one was killed in a dog attack, contact the Chicago Wrongful Death Lawyers at Stein & Shulman, LLC. Our firm has handled all manner of wrongful death cases, achieving over 40 million in settlements and verdicts for our valued clients. We understand the devastating losses associated with the death of your relative in a dog attack. We are dedicated to seeing that our injured clients receive the full compensation to which they are entitled in a wrongful death action. Contact us today for a free consultation with one of our experienced wrongful death lawyers at (312) 422-0500 or by filling out a free contact form online.