What is the Illinois Law for Dog Bites?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What is the Illinois Law for Dog Bites?

Written by Malman Law, reviewed by Steve J. Malman.

Receiving a dog bite can be terrifying and may leave both emotional and physical scars on any individual. What is worse is that many dog bite victims are innocent children who often have to go through grueling recuperative surgeries and therapies to heal.


Illinois Dog Bite Law:

Illinois law is very clear about how dog bite matters should be handled. As long as you did not provoke the dog that bit you, you’re entitled to damages. The relevant part of the Animal Control Act is as follows:

510 ILCS 5/16:Sec. 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.

Injuries sustained while running from and aggressive dog:

Similarly, if you sustained injury while running away from an aggressive dog, you’re also protected, and you can seek damages. Often, the dog owner’s homeowners insurance will pay for medical bills, surgery to repair scar damage, and wages lost. Illinois is also what’s known as a “first bite” state. That means that the first time a dog bites someone, even if it’s never bitten anyone before, you’re entitled to damages.

Emotional Injuries:

You may also receive damages for mental pain and suffering, as long as these emotional injuries are connected with a physical injury. Often, mental pain and suffering can be insufficient to allow for the recovery of damage. However, under the so-called ‘zone of danger’ doctrine, if a person is in a zone of physical danger, and so has a fear for their safety, they have a right of action for physical injury relating to emotional distress. Illinois dog attack victims have even had damages awarded for mental pain and distress without physical contact or injury to the person

All that said, while Illinois law is favorably predisposed to dog bite claimants, making an effective personal injury claim requires the hands-on assistance of proven, aggressive, and thorough Chicago personal injury lawyers. If you or a loved one or a child has been attacked by a dog, the battle-proven attorneys at Malman Law can provide the critical resources and legal guidance you need.


Steve Malman

Malman Law’s founder Attorney Steven Malman has over 30 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, truck accidents, car accidents, premises liability, construction, and workers’ compensation cases in Chicago, IL.

Years of experience: +30 years
Justia Profile: Steve Malman
Illinois Registration Status: Active and authorized to practice law—Last Registered Year: 2024

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by President and Founder, Steven J. Malman who has more than 20 years of legal experience as a personal injury attorney.

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