According to the Illinois Dog Bite Statute 510 ILCS 5/16, a dog’s owner can be found liable for any damages and injuries their dog causes provided the dog was not provoked by the victim in any way. While this provocation may be straightforward, such as teasing, hitting, or being cruel to the dog, other acts may also be considered provoking a dog under Illinois law, such as stepping on a dog’s paw unintentionally. While the victim technically did nothing wrong, the defense could be used that this action caused the dog to behave aggressively.
In dog bite cases, the victim is often tasked with proving that they did not, in any way, provoke the dog into attacking. In civil cases, this means that the victim must show that there is a preponderance of the evidence, or it was more than 50% likely, that the dog was not provoked. The past behaviors of the dog and the circumstances of the bite are important in this equation, however.
For example, if a dog is known to be overly sensitive and the dog acts aggressively at a slight provocation, the dog’s owner would likely be found liable. But, if the dog was eating and is a known aggressive breed and the victim attempted to touch the dog or interfere in any way, it could be argued that the victim was provoking the dog.
It is important to remember that the owner of the dog still has a duty to keep others safe, especially if they know the dog has a tendency towards aggressive behavior. The provocation defense is likely going to be less successful if the owner knew the dog could act in an aggressive manner and they did not do their part to keep others safe.
If the courts find that the victim played some part in the dog bite attack, it is possible that the award amount can be decreased, or the case could be lost completely. This is why it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible following any dog bite attack.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a dog bite attack, we at Mike Agruss Law are here for you every step of the way to ensure that your rights are protected and you are fully compensated for your injuries and losses, and this includes working on your behalf to ensure a favorable settlement.
We at Mike Agruss Law are proud to serve our fellow citizens in personal injury cases, including when you or a loved one has been injured 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 are fully compensated for all injuries and losses resulting from the accident, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, and you won’t owe us a dime for our services.
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