Best Dog Bite Lawyers Chicago, IL Of 2024 – Forbes

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When domestic animals cause harm to another person, their owners may be liable. The laws related to liability for animal attack injuries, including dog bite claims, differ from state to state.

Illinois Statute of Limitations

In Illinois, the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit for personal injuries is two years. This period typically begins on the date you sustain an injury; it can only be extended in certain circumstances. If you don’t open a court case during this time, you lose the right to recover compensation for your injuries.

Even though the law gives you two years to file a suit, you should contact an attorney immediately after an injury. An experienced dog bite lawyer can provide assistance throughout your recovery, including helping you find and access necessary medical care. Contacting an attorney as soon as possible also helps them preserve evidence and build the best case against the parties responsible for your injuries.

Identifying Fault for an Illinois Dog Bite

In some states, owners are only responsible if they have a reason to believe their animal might hurt someone. This is not the case in Illinois. Illinois law says that if:

  • An animal or dog attacks, tries to attack or injures a person
  • The attack is without provocation
  • The victim is not trespassing or is not someplace where it is unlawful for them to be

Then the owner of the dog is liable for the damages.

This is a strict liability law. An owner is liable for any injuries if their animal bites or injures someone, even if the animal has no history or previous indication of violence. The injured person does not have to show that the owner acted negligently or had any reason to believe the animal might hurt someone. However, if an owner knew their animal was dangerous, a victim injured while lawfully on their property may also have a premises liability claim.

Illinois’s dog bite law also makes no distinction between injuries caused by an innocently playful animal (for instance, an animal that knocks a child down while retrieving a ball and causes injuries) and those caused by a deliberate attack.

There are a few defenses to liability, however. If the victim provokes an animal or was on the owner’s property without permission when the injury occurred, they may not be able to recover damages.

How Can an Attorney Help You?

The best dog bite lawyers in Chicago, IL, understand how an animal attack can impact every aspect of your life. They can properly value the economic cost of your claim, called special damages; these include medical bills, lost wages and other expenses as well as compensation for disfigurement, scarring and disability.

An experienced animal attack lawyer also knows how to value the non-economic or general damages like pain and suffering, PTSD, mental anguish and loss of opportunity that accompany the economic cost of such injuries. They may even be able to file claims on behalf of your spouse and children for how your injuries impact their relationships with you.

It may surprise you to learn that a personal injury attorney can also help you deal with insurance companies, debt collectors and creditors, find and negotiate payment with medical providers and connect you with resources for long-term care.

Although it’s possible to file an insurance claim or lawsuit without an attorney, hiring a lawyer has many advantages. Experienced Illinois dog bite lawyers know the value of these claims and will stand up to insurance companies that offer lowball settlements. An experienced lawyer can help you understand the process and feel empowered that your claims will be handled promptly, correctly and competently.

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