Dog bites, and other injuries caused by domestic animals in Illinois, are controlled by both ordinary negligence law and by the Illinois Animal Control Act.
The relevant part of the Animal Control Act is as follows:
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. (p510 ILCS 5/16:Sec. 16.p)
Under the Animal Control Act, owners or controllers of domestic animals (walkers too!) are strictly liable (meaning one need not prove negligence) for all damages caused by an unprovoked animal. If you own a dog, you ARE liable if your dog bites someone. Make sure you have homeowner's insurance to cover you for this eventuality. If not, you will have to pay for the damages out of pocket.
Further, ordinary negligence law covers this area too, so, while there negligence must be proven, it does not take much to prove a dog owner was negligent in failing to control his dog that bit a small child. Damages can be large, especially if there is significant scarring or painful rabies shots involved.
If you own a dog, make sure your homeowner's insurance covers you, fence in your yard, always leash your dog, and have it vaccinated against all things your veterinarian recommends.
If you are injured by a dog, the first thing to do is get as good a description of the dog and owner, and, if it happens on their property, the address of the property. Then, make sure you can get medical treatment immediately, and photograph visible injuries. Contact a lawyer and proceed from there.
Chicago personal injury attorney Stephen L. Hoffman can help you document a dog or other animal bite and seek compensation for injuries and medical treatment. Contact the Law Office of Attorney Stephen L. Hoffman today for a consultation.