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I Was Bit by a Neighbor’s Dog. What Should I Do?

James P. Leahy Attorney At Law Feb. 8, 2023

Dog bites and dog attacks are quite prevalent in Illinois and across the United States. Unfortunately, victims of dog bite incidents can suffer minor or severe injuries, including punctured skin, fractures, lacerations, scarring, and infections.  

Thankfully, Illinois dog bite laws permit victims to hold the dog owner liable for their injuries and damages. However, seeking compensation for your dog bite injuries can become complex if you were bitten by your neighbor's dog. 

At James P. Leahy Attorney At Law, I have the resources and diligence to support and represent clients in their dog bite claims. As a trusted Illinois personal injury attorney, I can evaluate every detail of your unique situation and help you understand your options for pursuing damages. In addition, I will fight zealously for your rights and help you seek your rightful financial compensation. Reach out to my firm in Elgin, Illinois, to learn more.  

Dog Bite Laws in Illinois 

Illinois is a strict liability state for dog bite incidents. According to the state’s dog bite laws, the owner of a dog would be held accountable for civil damages suffered by a dog bite victim if their dog attacks, attempts to attack, or injures any individual peaceably conducting themselves in a place where they can lawfully be. 

Hence, a dog bite victim may be eligible to pursue fair compensation for their injuries and damages by filing a claim or lawsuit against the dog’s owner. A seasoned premises liability attorney can assess all of the surrounding facts of your personal situation, enlighten you about the next steps to take, and help file your claims.  

What to Do Following a Dog Bite  

Being bitten or attacked by a dog can be a difficult and traumatic experience. Regardless, what to do or avoid doing can have a massive impact on the outcome of your insurance claims. Therefore, when attacked or bitten by a dog, you should do the following, where possible: 

Safety/Medical Care 

After a dog bite incident, you should get prompt medical attention for your health, safety, and well-being. Allow a qualified physician to evaluate the extent of your injuries and provide appropriate treatments. In severe cases, you may be referred to a specialist. The doctor should also diagnose you for infections, including tetanus, sepsis, or rabies.  

Exchange Information  

Exchange relevant information with the dog’s owner, such as the dog's owner's name, insurance information, phone number, and the dog's vaccination info. In most cases, dog bite claims are paid by the renter’s policy or homeowner's insurance of the dog's owner. Also, you can get the contact details of witnesses.  

Proper Documentation  

It’s important that you properly document every detail about the dog bite incident and your injuries. Obtain your dog bite report from the police, local animal control, or your doctor. Document pictures of your injuries.  

Keep accurate records of all medical reports, treatments, hospital visits, medications, doctor's appointments, and medical bills associated with your injury. Also, you can document your personal description of the dog bite incident and how it has affected your daily life and work. 

Hire a Lawyer 

Additionally, you should hire an experienced attorney to assist with the necessary steps after the incident. Your legal counsel can review every detail of your case, evaluate the magnitude of your dog bite injuries, and explore your options to pursue compensation. 

Your attorney can conduct a thorough investigation, help collect and document evidence, and file your claims against the dog owner’s renter's or homeowner's insurance policy. They can also help negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance provider or, if necessary, file a personal injury lawsuit.  

However, there are complex statutes and rules addressing liability in premises liability cases that involve dog bites or dog attacks. Therefore, it is very beneficial to hire a highly-skilled Illinois dog bites attorney for detailed guidance and to help you pursue the financial justice you deserve. 

Protecting the Community With Skilled Advocacy  

Dog bite incidents are often terrifying and may leave you with physical injuries and mental effects. Regardless, you don’t have to suffer alone. As the leading lawyer at James P. Leahy Attorney At Law, I’ve devoted my career to handling personal injury cases and advocating for the best interests of dog bite victims and their loved ones. 

Using my extensive knowledge, I can guide you through the complex process of filing claims. Above all, I will fight compassionately for your legal rights, seek to hold the dog's owner liable, and help you pursue fair financial compensation to recover from the damages you’ve suffered. 

Have you been bitten or attacked by your neighbor's dog? Contact me at James P. Leahy Attorney At Law today to schedule a simple case evaluation with an experienced personal injury attorney. My firm is proud to serve clients across Elgin, St. Charles, Aurora, and Kane County, Illinois.