Can I Sue My Neighbor if Their Dog Bites Me?
Millions of dog bites occur every year in the United States, and while most of the victims are friends or members of the dog-owner’s family, animal attacks can and do cause personal injury to neighbors and strangers throughout the state of Illinois. One common question that arises after such an unfortunate incident is often: can I sue the owner of the dog that bit me?
Below is an overview of your rights following an animal attack, but remember that if you have been the victim of a dog bite, you should always contact an experienced Illinois personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Liability Under the Animal Control Act
When it comes to dog bites and other animal attacks, Illinois is a strict liability state. A victim does not need to prove negligence on the part of the dog’s owner. If you suffer a dog bite or other personal injury from a neighbor’s pet and decide to take legal action, the two things you need to prove are:
- The animal caused you harm.
- The animal was not provoked.
The law holds animal owners responsible for any damages that result from their animal’s attack, including:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
According to the Animal Control Act, “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 injury proximately caused thereby.”
The Animal Control Act does not require the animal’s owner to have prior knowledge of its dangerous propensities. In this way, the law encourages animal owners to maintain strict control over their pets by holding them liable for injuries caused by the animals.
Contact Rubens Kress and Mulholland
Rubens Kress and Mulholland is a Chicago law firm with ample experience handling personal injury cases, and we will fight on your behalf for the compensation you deserve. As a testament to our commitment, there is never any fee unless you collect.
To learn more and explore your legal options if you have been the victim of a dog bite or other personal injury, contact Rubens Kress and Mulholland online, at (312) 201-9640, or toll-free at (866) 890-9640.