How the Illinois Animal Control Act Affects Dog Injury Cases

MelissaBefore the Illinois Animal Control Act was put into play, finding the owner of a dog liable for injuries or damages was based on whether the dog had a history of dangerous behavior. Since dogs are considered “tame, docile, and harmless” under common law, the injured party had a significant burden of proof upon them in order to receive compensation for damages.

With the Act being installed, the injured party can now fight for compensation regardless of the dog’s history, as long as they can prove four things: the animal that caused the injury was owned by the defendant, the injured party was not in a place they weren’t supposed to be, they were conducting themselves in a peaceful manner, and they did not provoke the dog in any way.

The most common serious injury from a dog is a dog bite. An injury from a dog does not necessarily have to be a bite in order to be eligible for a civil rights case. As long as the physical injury incurred impairs one’s physical condition, the dog’s owner can be responsible for damages.

One tricky part of the Illinois Animal Control Act is understanding ownership of the dog; the legal owner—who purchased the dog—is not the same as the Act owner—the person who kept the dog on their premises where the incident occurred. Pet-sitters and dog-groomers usually are not allowed to file claims if a dog injures them while they are being employed for either profession. People who consistently feed strays may also be considered owners.

Within Illinois alone, there are approximately 12.4 million dogs, which means your chances of being injured by one is not as rare as you may think. If you’ve been bitten or sustained another injury from a dog, you may be entitled to compensation. Our Hinsdale office covers cases in DuPage, Kane, Cook, and Will County—so contact us today to speak with a qualified lawyer about your case.

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