For actions brought pursuant to the Animal Control Act, both statutory law and common law are controlling. The Illinois Animal Control Act 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.
510 ILCS 5/16.
As a result, you should pursue civil damages for a dog bite if the following are present in your circumstances:
- An injury caused by an animal owned by the defendant.
- Lack of provocation on the part of the injured person.
- Peaceful conduct of the injured person.
- Presence of the injured person in a place where he or she had a legal right to be.
If the circumstances above are present, Illinois law provides that the dog owner is liable for “the full amount of the injury proximately caused thereby.” You can recover for such things as lost wages, medical bills, disability, and disfigurement. Emotional distress claims can also be brought along with physical damage claims after a dog attack. Note that the circumstances listed above do not include only a dog bite, it includes any type of action by a dog that causes injury so this could include pushing, scratches, and other actions that cause injuries, not just bites.
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