There’s something heartwarming about the love children have for dogs. Most children just focus on the cuteness and softness of the dog without considering the risks. There are risks. Dogs will bite children and adults if they’re afraid, if the play gets too rough, if the dog is provoked, or for a host of other reasons. Dog bites require immediate attention. Some bites may require surgery. Bites create the risk of infections and diseases. Even with prompt treatment, some dog bite victims live with permanent damage and a lifetime of physical and emotional pain.
At Glisson Law, our personal injury lawyers understand the unique challenges involved in handling dog bite victims. Specific state laws govern who is liable for a dog bite and under what circumstances someone is liable. We work quickly and aggressively to confirm what type of dog bit your child or you and how the dog bite occurred. Our lawyers work with your doctors to understand the full scope of the injuries, the medical care that is required, and all the ways a victim’s life is affected. We work with families when a loved one tragically dies due to a dog bite.
How common are dog bites?
According to Dogbites.org, every day almost 1,000 U.S. citizens need ER treatment for a serious dog bite injury. About 12,480 people are hospitalized yearly due to dog bite injuries. Some frightening data that shows how serious dog bite injuries are include the following:
- In 2018, nearly 27,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery due to a dog bite.
- The breed of dog most associated with major dog bite injuries is the pit bull.
- “In 2019, for the first time on record, adult victims in the 30-49 age group sustained more dog bite fatalities than child victims in the 0-4 age group.”
According to Petpedia:
- More than 70 percent of all dog bites occur because the dog is not neutered.
- There was a 300 percent increase in dog attacks during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Nearly 48% of American households have a small dog.
Some of the dog breeds known to bite the most, in addition to pit bulls, include German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and bull terriers.
What is the Illinois law on dog bites?
Illinois has a strict liability law that holds the owner of a dog liable for any injuries that occur due to the dog bite. There is no requirement to show the dog owner was negligent or that the dog had any propensity to bite.
Specifically, Illinois law provides “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 the injury proximately caused thereby.”
An owner is defined as “any person having a right of property in an animal, or who keeps or harbors an animal, or who has it in his care, or acts as its custodian, or who knowingly permits a dog to remain on any premises occupied by him or her.”
Who can file a dog bite claim?
We represent all victims of dog bites, including:
- Children and their parents
- Mail carriers
- Adult dog bite victims
- The families of anyone who died due to a dog bite
What types of injuries can a dog bite victim suffer?
All victims of dog bites can suffer serious injuries. Young children are especially prone to serious injuries due to their small size. There are a few differences between treating children and adults for dog bites. Children are still growing, so doctors need to understand how wounds and injuries may change as the child grows. Because they are young, children will suffer much longer physically and emotionally. The psychological trauma of living with scarring and disfigurement can change a child’s outlook on life forever.
Anyone bitten by a dog should seek immediate medical help at a local emergency room. Some of the dog bite injuries that need to be examined and treated include:
- These are minor cuts. Treatment is needed to help prevent infections and diseases.
- These cuts are deeper than abrasions. Lacerations may require stitches. The deeper layers of the skin may be affected. A child’s or adult’s nerves, muscles, bones, and blood vessels could be damaged. Infection and disease prevention is also a priority.
- These wounds are the deepest cuts of all. Immediate medical attention is required to prevent infection and other complications.
- Dog bites can cause many different types of bacteria such as staphylococcus, streptococcus and pasteurella, as well as capnocytophaga to enter the victim’s body, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Some of the signs of a dog bite infection, according to the CDC, include blisters around the wound site shortly after the bite; redness, swelling, draining pus, or pain at the bite wound; vomiting; fever; stomach pain and/or diarrhea; confusion; headaches; and joint or muscle pain.
- There are specific protocols for determining whether a dog bite might cause rabies. Generally, the dog should be observed for signs of rabies for 10 days. The dog may need to be tested for rabies. If the signs do occur, the dog bite victim will need to be vaccinated and treated. The treatments are very painful.
- Your physician will review whether a child or adult needs to have a tetanus shot.
Some dog bites, especially vicious ones, may cause scarring and disfigurement. If a dog bites the face (which is more likely if the victim is a child because the child’s face will be nearer to the dog), the dog bite victim may need skin grafts and plastic surgery. Many victims of dog bites with scarring or disfigurement suffer emotionally. Many victims lose their confidence and self-esteem. Treatment with a psychologist may be necessary.
Severe dog bites, especially when children are the victims, can cause nerve damage, torn muscles, and bone injuries. Paralysis may occur. Victims can also fall after being bitten, which can cause brain trauma, broken bones, and death.
What damages can dog bite victims claim?
At Glisson Law, we seek full compensation for the dog bite victim and/or the parents of the victim if the victim is a child. Damages include:
- All current and future medical care including ER care, hospitalizations and surgeries, rehabilitation, and psychological care. Medical damages also include the cost of any assistive devices and medications.
- Any current or future lost income.
- Daily physical pain and emotional suffering.
- Scarring and disfigurement.
- Other damages, depending on the full nature of the injuries.
We also file wrongful death claims if a loved one died due to a dog bite.
Don’t delay your medical care or your medical help. If you or your child were bitten by a dog, it’s critical to get medical attention right away. It’s also essential that you speak with our respected dog bite lawyers so we can promptly investigate your claim, obtain information about the dog, and begin the process of filing your claim. We’ll guide you step by step through the claims process. We’ll speak with your doctors directly. Many dog bite claims do settle. When insurance carriers, normally the homeowner’s insurance company of the dog owner, fail to make reasonable settlement offers, we’re ready to try your case in court.
Fill out our contact form or call our dog bite lawyers in Alton today to schedule a free consultation. Glisson Law proudly serves all of Illinois and Missouri, including St. Clair and Madison Counties. We handle dog bite cases on a contingency fee basis.