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What You Need To Know About Dog Bites


Submitted by Kanoski Bresney Law Firm

Approximately 65 percent of U.S. households own a dog, and that number is likely higher as pet ownership has significantly increased due to the pandemic. The vast majority of dogs are considered to be a member of the family. But it’s important to remember that while dogs play an important role in many people’s lives, they are still animals, and they can sometimes behave in ways that are unexpected. Even a beloved family dog that has never exhibited any aggressive or dangerous tendencies may bite someone.

Contrary to popular opinion, specific breeds are not a reliable indicator of how likely a dog is to bite. Any dog may bite, no matter how well-trained. However, dogs rarely bite for no reason. Dogs will most often bite people if they feel threatened in some way and react to protect themselves or their owners.  To prevent bites from occurring, everyone—even if you don’t have a dog yourself—should know some basic rules about interacting with dogs. Never approach a dog you don’t know. Always ask the owner’s permission before petting a dog. If a dog approaches you, do not run or scream, but remain calm. Do not disturb a dog while they are sleeping, eating, or taking care of their puppies.

Common Dog Bite Injuries
While most dog bites do not require medical attention, there are times when a dog bite or dog attack can result in multiple types of serious injuries that can have a long-lasting or permanent impact on a person’s life. Therefore, victims will want to work with a premises liability attorney to address the damages they have suffered. While anyone can be injured by a dog bite, children or seniors are especially likely to suffer severe or permanent injuries. Dog bite injuries may include:

  • Puncture wounds and lacerations—A dog’s teeth can puncture the skin and damage underlying muscles, tendons, or ligaments. An animal’s teeth or claws can also cause severe lacerations. Injuries to the neck or other major arteries can result in significant blood loss, which may lead to wrongful death.
  • Infections—Diseases such as rabies may be passed from a dog to a bite victim, or a person’s wounds may become infected by other viruses or bacteria, leading to serious health concerns.
  • Broken bones—Some dogs have incredibly strong jaws, and a bite can break or crush a person’s bones. When these injuries occur in a person’s hands, wrists, or legs, they may result in temporary or permanent disability.
  • Fall injuries—During a dog attack, a person may be knocked to the ground, which may result in broken bones, dislocated joints, sprains, or traumatic brain injuries.
  • Scarring and disfigurement—Severe dog bite injuries can leave permanent scars, and plastic surgery or reconstructive surgery may be necessary. A permanent disfigurement can cause significant emotional trauma, serving as a constant reminder of the attack.
  • Nerve damage—When dog bites puncture the skin, nerves may be damaged or severed. This can not only lead to a great deal of pain, but it can also result in loss of sensation, problems with muscle control, or paralysis in the affected parts of the body.

Dog Bite Liability in Illinois
Illinois law follows the principle of “strict liability” when addressing dog bite injuries. This means that an owner is liable for any injuries that occur if their dog attacks someone without being provoked. Even if a dog had never previously bitten anyone or shown any dangerous or aggressive tendencies, its owner will be responsible for repaying a victim for any damages caused by a dog bite.

A victim can pursue compensation for the costs of any medical treatment needed following a dog bite, including reconstructive surgery, medications to treat an infection, and ongoing physical therapy. They should be repaid for any income lost while recovering, as well as impairments to their ability to earn an income because of a disability. Damages may also include a person’s physical pain and suffering and the emotional trauma they have experienced.

At Kanoski Bresney, we understand the legal and emotional issues surrounding dog bites. We will investigate the circumstances of your case and establish liability by a dog’s owner, and we will gather documentation to show the full extent of your injuries. We will determine whether you may be covered under a person’s homeowner’s insurance policy, ensuring that you can receive compensation even if you do not want to take legal action against a friend, family member, or neighbor.

For more information on any type of personal injury or to schedule a free consultation, contact Kanoski Bresney law firm at 888-826-8682. They are the largest personal injury law firm located within central Illinois and they have the resources to handle any type of injury claim anywhere in the state including McLean County, Sangamon County, Adams County, Champaign County, Schuyler County, Peoria County, Macomb, Macon County, Quincy, Bloomington, Tazewell County, Champaign, Decatur, McDonough County, Pekin, Springfield, Peoria, and Rushville. Their experience helps ensure that their clients get the respect, response, and results® they deserve. They will evaluate your case and work to determine what your next steps should be moving forward.