Whether you love or dislike dogs, you likely encounter other people's dogs on a regular basis. You might wake up to your neighbor's dog barking in the morning; you probably see many dogs when you are out running errands; your friends or family members could have a dog you see all the time.
In most cases, these encounters are brief and harmless. However, that can all change in a matter of seconds if a dog bites you. If you have recently been in this situation, you should understand whether there may be grounds to file a legal claim.
To better understand your situation, consider the following questions.
- What was your status on the property? According to Illinois dog bite laws, a dog bite victim must be in a place lawfully to be eligible for civil damages. In other words, if you were trespassing on someone's property, the owner likely would not be liable for injuries suffered by a bite from his or her dog.
- Did you do anything to provoke the animal? Dogs are animals, and they have animal instincts. If someone provokes them, they may react by attacking or biting. In these cases, the owner may not be liable for injuries. That said, walking past a dog, entering a person's property with permission, sitting near a dog and even petting a dog generally do not constitute provocation.
- Did the bite cause injuries? If a bite does not cause any damages, a legal claim may be unnecessary. A dog should still be confined and examined by a veterinarian, but courts award financial remedies specifically to address damages suffered as a result of an attack or bite.
Based on your answers to these questions, you can have an idea of your options. However, discussing the situation in detail with an attorney can still be wise.
Dog bites can be far more upsetting than people anticipate. Victims can suffer injuries as well as emotional trauma by a dangerous encounter with a dog. The incident could leave people permanently scarred -- physically and psychologically.
Considering how serious dog bites can be, it is important to understand the legal remedies that may be available. Not only can they provide critical compensation to victims, but they can also help to prevent others from injured in a similar situation.