Dog bite liability laws in Illinois are among the strictest in the United States. When a dog causes a serious injury, the state holds the owner responsible for the financial costs of the attack, even if the dog has no history of aggression.

If you are experiencing significant physical disability or mental health repercussions after a dog bite, you may be eligible for legal damages.

Legal responsibilities of dog owners

According to Illinois law, any unleashed dog who is not on the owner’s or responsible party’s property constitutes a dangerous dog. On private property, the yard must have a fence at least six feet high that can contain the animal, which prevents entry by young children. Dogs must always be on a leash outside private property. If you experience a dog attack by an unattended animal, you can ask the court to award the cost of your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Standards for negligence

To seek financial damages after a dog bite, the plaintiff must prove that he or she suffered injury in a dog bite or attack. He or she must also prove that the attack occurred on public property or on private property with a lawful right to enter (as an invited guest or contractor, for example). The law considers common areas of apartment complexes and commercial building public property.

The plaintiff must also show that he or she did not provoke the dog before the attack by teasing or otherwise abusing the animal. A person who was trespassing on private property when a dog attack occurred may not receive legal damages.

The Illinois statute of limitations for a dog bite case is two years from the date of the attack. If you fail to file a lawsuit before this deadline, the court will dismiss your case.

Seek immediate medical attention after a dog bite, to prevent the wound from becoming infected. Save all medical records along with photos of your injuries and testimony from witnesses to the attack.