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Shay & Associates

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Do I have a dog bite claim?
Timothy Shay

America loves dogs. They’re sweet, furry, man’s best friend – until they’re not. Dogs bite for lots of reasons: they feel threatened, scared, they have past trauma or they simply get too rough while playing. If you are bit by a dog that is not your own, you may be eligible for compensation.

The Illinois General Assembly outlines the laws concerning animal bites in the Animal Control Act. This act requires owners to care for their animals responsibly, meaning they must be secured on their property, in an enclosed fence of at least six feet on private property, and on a leash while in public.

Under statute 510ILCS 5/16, Illinois states that owners are liable for animal attacks and injuries by paying civil damages if:

  • The dog tried to attack or injure
  • The dog was not provoked
  • You, the victim, is legally able to be where you were at the time of the attack
  • You were conducting yourself peaceably

There also must be an identifiable owner to take responsibility for the animal. In other words, you will likely not be able to receive compensation if the dog is a stray.

If your situation meets these requirements, you may be able to receive compensation for injuries, medical bills, lost wages and time at work, suffering, property damages and sometimes punitive damages caused by the attack. You have a two year statute of limitations window from the time the attack happens for filing your claim. Talk with an attorney to understand how to file your claim and get the compensation you need.