Millions of people are bitten by dogs every year in the U.S. Dog bites can cause serious injuries, especially in children. However, even seemingly minor dog bites can result in a serious infection, requiring medical care or hospitalization. A bite injury can lead to expensive medical bills, taking time off of work, and leave the victim with permanent scars.
When a dog owner fails to control their animal, the owner should be held liable for their negligence. A dog bite personal injury lawsuit will allow a victim to get compensation for their injuries after a dog bite accident.
If you were injured by a dog bite or animal attack, contact the Cullotta Bravo Law Group today for help to recover money for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
Dog Bite Accidents in Illinois
Under Illinois law, 510 ILCS 5/16,
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 other animal is liable in civil damages to such person for the full amount of the injury proximately caused thereby.
Under this law, there is liability for a dog owner whose dog bites or injures another person acting peaceably. The owner does not need to have a dangerous dog or a dog who has previously bitten others, or to have otherwise acted negligently in allowing the dog to bite another. Owners are generally liable for any dog bites or attacks upon a peaceable person in a lawful place.
Children & Dog Bite Attacks in Illinois
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children are at the highest risk for dog bites. Over half of dog bite injuries occur at the home and even family dogs or familiar neighborhood animals can bite children who may not understand the dangers.
Dog bites on children, especially very small children, can also be more serious and result in injuries to the face and head. These bites can result in permanent injuries and lead to life-long scarring for the victim.
Elderly Victims & Dog Attacks in Illinois
Elderly victims may also be at higher risk of injury after a dog attack. Even if the dog does not bite the victim, a knock-down injury can be serious for some. An elderly victim who is knocked over by a dog can suffer broken bones, back injury, or head injury.
Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bite injuries can depend on the age and size of the victim, type of dog, seriousness of the dog attack, and other factors. Common dog bite injuries can include:
- Puncture wounds
- Crushing injuries
- Broken bones
- Facial trauma
- Back or head injury from knockdowns
- Cuts or lacerations
- Eye injury
- Loss of a finger, or
- Nerve damage.
Any wounds should be washed thoroughly with soap and water. Minor wounds may be treated with soap and water, antibiotic creams, and covered with a clean bandage. If a minor wound becomes red, painful, or swollen or if the victim develops a fever, the victim should seek medical treatment.
Those with serious wounds, bleeding that won’t stop, feeling weak after a bite or individuals who have not had a recent tetanus shot should seek medical services immediately. Similarly, if the dog is acting strangely or if you do not know if the dog has been vaccinated, the bite accident should be reported.
Dog Bite Infections
Many people ignore minor dog bite injuries by rinsing off the wound and putting a bandage on the bite to wait for it to heal. However, infection can be one of the most serious impacts of a dog bite injury. Almost 20% of dog bites become infected. There are a number of serious infections that can result from a dog bite if not properly treated.
Capnocytophaga is a bacteria that lives inside the mouths of dogs and cats. A bite can spread the bacteria to the victim, especially when the bite is not properly cleaned and heals over with the bacteria inside the body. Young children, the elderly, and individuals with weakened immune systems can become sick from bacterial infections after a dog bite.
Other dog bite infections can involve the bacteria pasteurella, staph infections, or tetanus. These and other infections can spread throughout the body leading to more serious injury and require hospitalization to be treated for serious infections.
Risk of Rabies in Aurora or Chicago
Rabies in dogs in the U.S. is not common but even a pet dog can be bitten by a wild animal and become infected by rabies. Because there is always a risk of getting rabies by anyone bitten by a dog or another animal, it is important to seek medical attention after a dog bite attack. Rabies can be fatal but is preventable with immediate detection and treatment.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim After a Dog Bite in Aurora or Chicago
A personal injury claim usually begins with contacting your personal injury lawyer. Your attorney will be able to advise you of your options and begin by filing a lawsuit. In the complaint, the injury victim will seek damages from the defendant and any other parties who may be liable for the accident.
In most personal injury claims in Illinois, there is a 2-year statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit. If your claim is not filed within 2-years, you may lose out on the chance to recover damages. There are some exceptions to the 2-year time limit, including where the victim is a minor. Generally, minors injured in an accident have 2 years after they reach age 18 to file a lawsuit. For most children bitten by a dog, they would have until they turn 20-years-old to file a dog bite accident lawsuit.
Most personal injury cases are settled before they get to trial. The dog owner, insurance company, or other defendants may offer a settlement. There are a number of benefits to accepting a settlement, including a guaranteed amount of damages recovered. However, the decision to accept a settlement or continue with your legal claim is ultimately up to the bite victim. Talk to your Illinois dog bite lawyer about your options and ways to maximize compensation after your injuries.
Damages in a Dog Bite Accident
Damages in a dog bite accident depend on the seriousness of the injuries, age of the victim, and other factors. Damages in a personal injury lawsuit can include:
- Medical treatment,
- Loss of wages and income,
- Loss of future earnings,
- Damages for loss of a limb,
- Damages for disfigurement, and
- Pain and suffering.
Aurora and Chicago Dog Bite Injury Lawyer
If you or your child were injured in a dog attack in Aurora or the Chicago area, you need an experienced Illinois personal injury lawyer. Contact the Cullotta Bravo Law Group today at 630-898-7800 to schedule your free consultation.