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What is Illinois’ Dog Bite Statute?


Illinois, like all other states, has specific statutes regarding dog bites. Law 510 ILCS 5/16 states:

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.

This means that to prove that the owner of a dog, or other animals, that has bitten is liable for the bite, the injured party must prove three things:

  • The dog or other animal attempted to attack, attacked, or injured the victim.
  • The victim had the legal right to be in the place where the attack occurred.
  • The dog or other animal was not in any way provoked into attacking.

The Illinois dog bite statute also allows for non-bite behaviors that cause injury. For example, if the victim is walking down the sidewalk and a dog runs from its yard, lunging at the victim and causing them to fall and suffer injuries, the dog’s owner could be found liable for any injuries and damages.

Illinois Follows Strict Liability

Illinois does not follow the “One Bite Rule”, instead of following strict liability in the event of a dog bite attack. The “One Bite Rule” states that a dog’s owner will be held liable for injuries caused by the dog only if there had been a previous bite or a sign of aggressive behavior.

Strict liability, however, does not allow a dog’s owner to claim they had no idea that the dog would attack or act aggressively. Instead, if a dog bites, the owner will be held liable for the damages sustained as long as the incident fits the parameters of the Illinois Dog Bite Statute.

Victims of a dog bite attack generally have two years from the time of the incident to file a claim, so it is important to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that the statute of limitations does not expire before you or your loved one receives the compensation you deserve.

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.

We see you as a person, not just a client – and that makes us better at what we do. We listen. We learn your story. And, as we help you get the money you deserve, we go above and beyond in a way most law firms never could and never would. Because we’re not just lawyers. And you’re not just a client. We’re friends, neighbors, family. We’re all people and here at Mike Agruss Law, we put People, First.

Helping our clients is about counseling, advocating, and ultimately solving problems. With years of experience successfully representing the people, not the powerful, we will take care of the insurance adjusters, your medical bills, your property damage, your lost wages, and monitor your treatment so you can focus on healing and getting your life back to normal. Our unique formula has earned us over 900 outstanding client reviews on our website, an A+ BBB rating, and over 120 five-star reviews on Google. Call 888-572-0176, e-mail us at [email protected] or schedule a meeting with us here. We’re here 24/7. 


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