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When is an owner liable for a dog biting a child in Illinois?

On Behalf of | Jun 4, 2020 | Personal Injury |

Children tend to have a natural affinity for animals. If they see a dog at a park or in the house of a friend you visit, it is common for children to go right over and attempt to pet that dog. While most canine companions are friendly and safe, some dogs are more irritable and aggressive than others.

It’s also possible for young children to not recognize the signs of discomfort in an animal who may fold back its ears, tuck its tail or otherwise signify that it is unhappy upon their approach. Fast movements, ignoring warning signs or interacting with a violent dog could all result in a small child suffering a terrible dog bite attack.

When a dog bites your child, the results can be disfiguring injuries and emotional or psychological damage. You may have the right to seek compensation on behalf of your child under Illinois law after a vicious dog bite attack.

Illinois laws create strict liability for pet owners

Different states have different approaches to the ownership of animals and the liability that comes with that ownership. In some states, people can only take action against a pet owner if a dog that bites has previously displayed aggressive or erratic behavior.

In Illinois, however, a dog does not have to have a history of violence for its owner to be accountable for the injuries that their dog causes. Under the strict liability statute, provided that the victim was not trespassing and that they didn’t intentionally provoke the animal, the owner has liability for the damages related to a dog bite attack.

Insurance claims or civil lawsuits may be necessary

Depending on the location of the dog bite attack and the circumstances surrounding it, there may be different compensation options available to you. An attack that occurred in someone’s house or in their backyard may require only a homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance claim for you to get compensation for medical costs.

Dog bite attacks that take place on public property may not have the same insurance options available. In those circumstances or in a situation where insurance doesn’t offer enough compensation, a personal injury lawsuit against the owner of the dog may become necessary.