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What to Do if a Dog in Illinois Bites You?

What to Do if a Dog in Illinois Bites You?

The 510 ILCS 5/15 of the Animal Control Act determines Illinois’ dog bite laws. If a dog attacks anyone who is peaceably conducting themselves where they should legally be, the dog’s owner is liable for civil damages. Because Illinois is a strict liability state, the law requires the dog’s owner to be held liable for the damages.  

More than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year in the U.S., and more than 800,000 receive medical attention in dog bite cases, according to the CDC. Dog bites can be serious and even life-threatening, especially to children who are more likely to be severely injured due to their small stature. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite, you may be wondering what to do next.

Dog bites are considered personal injuries, and you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. An experienced dog bite attorney in Illinois can help you navigate the legal process and ensure you receive the maximum compensation possible.

Take the following action if a dog bites you: 

Call 911 and Report the Attack

One of the first steps you should take is contacting the police so they can help you with exchanging information with the dog owner (if they are at the scene). They also generate the incident report and inform animal control.  

Once reported to law enforcement, the owner is responsible for having the dog evaluated by animal control within 24 hours of the bite. The dog will be kept for 10 days to watch for signs of rabies.

Get the Dog Owner’s Insurance Information

It is also important to get the dog owner’s insurance information while the police are still at the scene. Homeowner’s or renter’s insurance cover dog bite claims, so you are entitled to this information. 

Seek Medical Attention

Dog bites can cause serious injury, infection, and even death. So it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Stop the bleeding by applying pressure with a clean cloth and washing the wound with soap and water. Then use an antibiotic cream to help prevent infection and cover the injury with a bandage. If the bite appears serious, go immediately to the emergency room to have the damage evaluated.  

No matter how minor, a dog bite should be seen by a doctor because a dog’s mouth carries bacteria, and if the skin is punctured, you risk infection. You may also need to receive tetanus and rabies shots if the dog is not inoculated or if its immunization status is unknown. 

Seeking care for your wounds documents your injuries which can help support your claim. 

Consult with an Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer About Your Options

In Illinois, dog owners are strictly liable for any injuries their dog causes, regardless of whether they knew or should have known their dog was dangerous. This means that even if the dog has never bitten anyone before, the owner can still be held responsible for your injuries.

Seeking legal counsel from qualified dog bite lawyers can ensure you are compensated for your injuries. This includes medical care, lost wages, and psychological therapy for emotional distress.  

At Nessler & Associates, we will build your case using medical evidence and other investigative tools and can evaluate the amount of compensation you are entitled to receive.  

Toddler baby girl and domestic dog in the backyard crawling chi

Legal Representation in Illinois for Dog Bites

Under Illinois law, you have up to two years from the date of the bite to file a personal injury claim. If a dog injures you or someone you love, contact a Nessler & Associates personal injury lawyer for a free consultation and find out if your claim qualifies for compensation. 

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