Aurora, which is just outside the Chicago, IL metro area, is Illinois’s second-largest city and home to about 200,000 people. Known to some as the “City of Lights,” Aurora also extends into four different counties – DuPage, Kane, Kendall, and Will – and over one-third of the population is between 25 and 44 years old.
We at Mike Agruss Law are proud to serve the people of Aurora in personal injury cases, including when you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a dog bite attack, and we are fully committed to protecting your rights and ensuring that the other party is held legally accountable when negligence occurs. We will fight until the very end to ensure that you receive full financial compensation for all injuries and losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, and you won’t owe us a dime for our services. Contact our Aurora dog bite attorneys for a free consultation today.
Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bites can result in very serious injuries, both physical and psychological. Many victims suffer from scarring and emotional trauma following a dog bite attack, and sometimes this damage can be long-term or even permanent.
In 2016, Illinois ranked second in the U.S. in payouts for claims on homeowners’ insurance policies, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III), and these included over 900 claims against the insurance policies of dog owners; the average payout was just under $43,000. Here are some important considerations for dog bite injury claims:
Emotional/psychological trauma – Victims in these cases may suffer from anxiety, flashbacks, or even PTSD after a dog attack;
Medical expenses – Dog bites can result in a variety of complications, such as infections and damage to nerves, muscle, or tissue, which may require significant medical care and expenses;
Scarring – Visible scars, especially those which are permanent, can reduce a victim’s confidence or self-esteem, and cosmetic surgery may be necessary to treat some scars.
There are two approaches to a dog bite injury claim, which vary by state: negligence and strict liability. Illinois follows strict liability, which means a plaintiff must prove that: the defendant’s dog attacked or attempted to attack him/her; the dog was not provoked; and the plaintiff was not trespassing when the attack occurred. See 510 ILCS 5/16 for more information.
While every case is different and should be thoroughly evaluated by an Aurora dog bite attorney, here are some statistics for dog bite cases in Illinois and Cook County:
- The average settlement for a dog bite case in Illinois is about $100,000;
- Median returns for dog bite cases in Illinois are between $25,000 and $35,000;
- In Illinois, about 80% of all plaintiffs receive less than $100,000 and about 4% receive $1 million or more.
Under state law 510 ILCS 5/1, also known as the “Illinois Animal Control Act,” Illinois dog owners are obligated to:
- Keep dogs on a leash in public and contained when on the owner’s premises;
- Train their dogs to have a generally peaceful temperament;
- Always supervise the dog when it is interacting with a stranger, especially a child.
According to Section 16 of the Act:
“Animal attacks or injuries: 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.”
Here are some settlements for dog bite cases which were won in Illinois:
$500,000 settlement – An elderly woman in south Chicago was outside watering her flowers when a large dog with no collar approached, knocked down, and mauled her. She was found a short time later by a passerby and doctors determined she suffered a number of injuries, including broken bones and scarring. With help from an experienced attorney, the dog and its owner were tracked down and she filed a suit against the dog owner, resulting in a $500,000 settlement.
$305,000 settlement – A kennel worker in Winnebago County, who was 35 and pregnant at the time, was walking a large dog at work when it knocked down and mauled her, resulting in broken bones, bite marks, scrapes, and infections in some of her wounds. During the case, it came to light that the dog owner had failed to disclose previous attacks by the dog against other individuals. The case was eventually settled in favor of the plaintiff for $305,000.
$62,333 settlement – In Plano, Illinois, an owner of three terriers was out of town and one of his relatives (who was responsible for caring for the dogs) left the door open, resulting in the dogs escaping and attacking a 60 year-old woman. The woman suffered from bites, scarring, and nerve damage, and the case was settled in favor of the plaintiff for $62,333.
When a dog owner is legally responsible for his/her dog attacking another person or animal, his/her insurance company will typically pay the compensation, and the very fact that insurance companies are typically involved makes the help of an Aurora dog attack attorney essential for a successful case and full compensation for your injuries.
In 510 ILCS of Illinois state law, a “dog owner” is defined as:
“‘Owner’ means 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.”
Many insurance policies only cover damages to a certain extent, which means the dog owner may also be pursued for the remaining compensation. With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, you can successfully pursue all involved parties for compensation, regardless of the owner’s insurance policies, and recover for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Cities, towns, and communities throughout Illinois enact and enforce their own ordinances (in addition to state law) regarding dog ownership and responsibilities. Here are some of Aurora’s Section 9 ordinances for dog ownership:
Domestic animal ownership is limited to four animals per household (Section 9-2);
Every citizen who owns a cat or dog must maintain a city registration tag and always display it on the animal’s collar (Section 9-3);
All cats and dogs four months or older must be vaccinated for rabies and receive annual follow-up booster shots from a veterinarian; the pet must also wear the vaccination tag at all times (Section 9-8);
Dog owners are responsible for ensuring that the dogs do not “disturb the peace” with loud or aggressive behavior, especially at late hours (Section 9-11), and do not bite or attack another person, animal, or other person’s property; a dog which bites or attacks without provocation may be declared a public nuisance and impounded by Aurora’s Animal Control Officer (Section 9-13).
Dog Bite Fatalities
While dog bites and attacks are somewhat common in the United States, there are rare and devastating cases in which a serious dog bite results in the death of a person. And while city and state laws have been effective in addressing these cases, the underlying problem is that many dog attacks which result in a death are caused not by family dogs, but dogs which are strays or otherwise uncared-for, which can be challenging for legal cases. If you have lost a loved one due to an attack by a dog, our Aurora dog bite lawyers are here for you every step of the way to ensure a successful dog bite claim that fully compensates you for your losses.
In the Chicago area and throughout the United States, studies have been conducted by the National Canine Research Council and similar organizations to shed light on the most common contributing factors in dog attacks resulting in serious injury or death. Here are the primary factors in order of likelihood:
- There was no able-bodied adult who could have intervened in the attack;
- The victim and dog had no prior relationship;
- The dog was not spayed or neutered;
- The victim had physical- or age-related limits;
- The dog was maintained “as a resident” instead of a family pet;
- The dog’s owner had a history of abuse or mismanagement of dogs or other pets;
- The dog’s owner abused and/or neglected the dog.
While some people assert that certain breeds are more aggressive or dangerous than others, such as pit bulls or Rottweilers, studies and statistics regularly challenge these myths and show that the circumstances of dog bite attacks matter more than the dog’s breed. And while stray dogs usually pose a greater risk of an attack than family dogs, the dogs most likely to attack a person are those who are abused, neglected, or otherwise not properly cared for. Those which are abused and/or lack human connection are far more likely to attack a person, especially without provocation, and in many cases the dog owner will be legally liable for the damages.
Contact us Today!
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or wrongful death from a dog bite in the Aurora area, you need an experienced Aurora dog bite lawyer. Contact Mike Agruss Law for a free consultation. We are a Chicago-based personal injury law firm, and helping our clients is about counseling, advocating, and ultimately solving problems. With years of experience successfully representing the people and not the powerful, we will take care of the insurance company, your medical bills, your property damage, and your lost wages, and monitor your treatment so you can focus on healing and getting your life back to normal. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you. Lastly, Mike Agruss Law works on a contingency fee basis and is not paid attorneys’ fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. You have nothing to risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.