Dogs may be man’s best friend, but without proper training, dogs can also be overly protective and prone to aggression. A beloved family pet can mistake a stranger’s intent, attack, and cause severe injuries. When you are on the receiving end, the best solution is to call an experienced St. Louis personal injury attorney who can explain your rights under Illinois or Missouri law.
At The Cagle Law Firm, we are here to ensure you receive justice and compensation after an animal attack. Contact us at (314) 276-1681 or use our online form to schedule a free consultation.
Common Dog Attack Situations
Dog attacks can occur anywhere there is an animal with a careless or reckless owner. Also, the more stressful the situation for the dog, the more likely they are to lash out.
Some of the most common dog bite situations include:
- Encountering dogs on sidewalks, on or off leash
- Meeting loose dogs in your neighborhood
- Visiting a friend, family member, or neighbor’s home
- Parks, mainly when owners let their dogs off leash
While dog attacks may seemingly happen at random, such as encountering an off-leash dog roaming your neighborhood, most dog attacks occur with familiar animals during everyday activities. You or your child are far more likely to be bitten by a friend or family member’s pet than a strange animal. However, after a dog attack, this is probably not your first concern. You should focus on obtaining medical attention. The next step is to speak with a lawyer regarding how to recover compensation for your or your loved one’s physical, psychological, and financial damages.
Common Canine Bite Injuries
In some situations, dog bites are minor. A quick snap of a dog’s teeth may only leave a few puncture wounds that can heal without stitches after a thorough cleaning. Although, you should always visit a physician after dog bites to reduce the chance of infection. Unfortunately, not all dog bite victims can walk away so lucky. Dogs can be vicious, and some breeds have tremendous jaw strength. They can bite someone multiple times, tear skin, muscle, and tendons, and even fracture bones.
Some of the most common dog bite injuries include:
- Severe lacerations
- Soft tissue damage
- Nerve damage
- Broken Bones
- Reduced physical function
- Permanent scarring
- Psychological trauma
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Depending on where you or your loved one was bitten, you may have permanent physical limitations or permanent scarring and disfigurement. This is particularly distressing if the scarring is on your or your loved one’s face. Also, the stronger and more aggressive the dog, the more significant an attack may be, sometimes leading to catastrophic or deadly injuries. If you lost a loved one in a fatal dog attack, it is imperative to speak with a St. Louis dog bite lawyer as soon as you can.
Illinois Dog Attack Laws
Under Illinois law, 510 ILCS 5/16, if any dog, without provocation, attacks, tries to attack, or injures anyone who is peaceably and lawfully conducting themselves, the owner or keeper of the dog is liable for that person’s civil damages. If a dog bites you in Illinois, then you may have a claim for compensation from the dog’s owner or keeper at the time of the incident. However, you must not have been trespassing at the time or have done anything to provoke the dog.
You can also file a claim for compensation after a dog attack based on negligence and premises liability. Under a negligence claim, you must prove the dog’s owner or keeper was unreasonable in how they acted or failed to act. For instance, you may be able to prove the dog’s owner was negligent in letting the dog go off its leash at the park. Also, if a landlord or property manager’s dog attacks you in a common area of a residence, you can hold them responsible and pursue damages.
Illinois also has a dangerous and vicious dog statute, 510 ILCS 5/15, which defines what is considered a vicious dog and the steps owners of vicious dogs must take to protect you and others. If you can prove a vicious dog attacked you and that the owner did not adhere to Illinois law, then you have a strong claim for compensation.
After you or another member of your family are injured in an animal attack, you need to speak with a St. Louis dog bite lawyer about Illinois or Missouri dog laws, which can differ considerably. The county in which you were hurt may also have local ordinances regarding animals, such as leash laws.
Missouri Dog Laws
Under Missouri Revised Statute §273.036, the owner or possessor of any dog that bites, without provocation, anyone who is on public land or private property with permission, is strictly liable for damages caused by the animal. This is a similar standard to Illinois. If you were bitten in Missouri while lawfully on public or private property, meaning you were not trespassing, and you did not provoke the animal, then you may file a claim for compensation.
Missouri does not have a comparable dangerous and vicious dog statute.
Dog Bite Compensation
If you or your child were injured in a dog attack, then you should speak with The Cagle Law Firm about filing a claim or lawsuit for compensation. In some situations, you may be able to file an insurance claim against the dog owner’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. If a business owner’s dog bit you or a loved one while you were a customer, then you may be able to file a claim against the business’s bodily injury policy. Our legal team will thoroughly investigate what happened and who may be liable, such as the dog’s owner or the person taking care of the dog at the time, such as a friend, dog walker, or kennel service.
Once we know who is liable, we will demand compensation covering your:
- Medical Costs
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
- Emotional Distress
- Physical Limitations
- Loss of Future Earning Capacity
- Loss of Consortium and Companionship
- Punitive Damages, if applicable
If there is no relevant insurance policy, the insurer denies your claim, or the insurer refuses to negotiate a fair settlement, then we can represent you in filing a legal claim against the dog owner or keeper. Our St. Louis dog bite lawyers are not afraid to fight for our clients’ rights in court.
Fatal Dog Attacks
If a dog attack resulted in the death of your loved one, we will discuss your right to file a wrongful death claim. Through this type of claim in Illinois or Missouri, you may be able to recover:
- Funeral and Burial Expenses
- Loss of Financial Contributions
- Loss of Care and Support
- Loss of Love and Companionship
- Loss of Inheritance
Contact Our St. Louis Dog Bite Lawyers for Help
Like many families, you may think you have to deal with dog attacks on your own. You may hope your health insurance will cover the medical expenses, and then maybe a homeowner’s insurance policy will help. At The Cagle Law Firm, we want you to know that you do not have to fight for your rights yourself. We are here to help, so you can concentrate on physically and emotionally healing from this experience. We will handle the insurance claim or legal process and will strive to obtain the maximum compensation possible.
Contact us through our online form or call us at (314) 276-1681 as soon as possible so that we can meet all deadlines in your claim, including the statute of limitations. We offer free consultations for you to learn more about your options without risk.