Chicago Dog Bite Lawyer

There were 35 dog bites reported in Chicago in 2021, according to the most recent U.S. Postal Service Dog Attack rankings, making The Windy City one of the top 10 Dog Bite Cities and Illinois one of the top 10 Dog Bite States in the country. In a city where an estimated 610,000 dogs live—both registered and unregistered—it's likely that number is actually much higher.

Dog bites and animal attacks can be traumatic and can cause serious injuries. When a dog bites or attacks a person or another animal, the dog isn't liable; the dog's owner is. If you live in Chicago and you've been bitten or attacked by a dog, you should contact a Chicago dog bite attorney immediately.

Illinois Dog Bite Laws

Formerly, Illinois law adhered to the "one free bite" rule, also known as the "one bite rule," which favored dog owners and relieved them from liability because they were considered "unaware" of an animal's violent nature. This law, however, was changed in 2019 by the Animal Control Act.

According to the Illinois Animal Control Act, "If a dog or other animal, without provocation, attacks, attempts to attack, or injuries 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."

Now, if a dog or another animal attacks or injures a person, the dog owner is liable for the full amount of the injury.

Local municipalities may also have laws that apply to a dog bite case, such as leash laws, vaccination requirements, or even restrictions on the ownership of certain breeds. The complexities involved in local and state laws make it wise to contact a skilled Chicago dog bite lawyer at Zayed Law Offices to help you pursue compensation for your animal attack or dog bite injuries. Contact us today for a free case evaluation. 

Serious Injuries Caused by Dog Bites

Dog bites and animal attacks can be traumatic and can cause serious injuries. Unfortunately, dog bites occur too frequently. Over 4.7 million people are dog-bite victims in the United States every year.  

Some of the more common physical ramifications of a dog bite or animal attack are:

  • Scarring
  • Disfigurement
  • Severed nerves
  • Eye damage
  • Lacerations
  • Puncture wounds
  • Infections
  • Broken bones
  • Emotional trauma

Dog Bite Trauma

Dog attacks don't just cause physical injury. They can cause emotional trauma as well. Dog bite situations can be highly stressful and trigger post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the injured person.

Symptoms of PTSD include intrusive memories of the traumatic event, avoidance behaviors, irrational thoughts and fears (including phobias), recurring nightmares, mood swings, loss of sleep, and memory problems.

If a dog has bitten you and you suffered emotional and/or physical injuries, you should talk with a Chicago dog bite lawyer today.

What Causes a Dog Bite Injury

Dog bites can arise from a multitude of situations. Some of the most common circumstances surrounding dog bites are: injury on private property, leash law violations, attacks resulting from inadequate fencing, escaped animals, and dog bites in public areas.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, a dog may bite if it is in a stressful situation and feels it needs to bite to defend itself or its territory. They may also bite if they are scared, feel threatened, or have been startled.

Are Dog Owners Always Held Liable for Dog Bites?

It is important to note that, under the Illinois Animal Control Act, dog owners cannot be legally responsible for a person's injury if that person provoked the dog— intentionally or unintentionally— when the dog bite occurred. If you or a family member are a dog bite victim, you must show that you did not provoke the attack that caused your injuries.

Chicago dog bite laws also state that dog-bite victims do not need to prove that the dog's owner is negligent. You can file a claim for compensation with the dog owner or the property owner's insurance company seeking monetary damages for physical injury, medical bills, future medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Dog owners can also be negligent if they are careless and fail to control their dogs, such as leaving a dangerous dog unsupervised in an unfenced yard or walking an aggressive dog without proper restraints such as a muzzle.What to do if You are a Chicago Dog Bite Victim

Some of the important steps to take if you or a loved one is a victim of a dog bite or attack are to:

  1. Seek medical attention immediately
  2. Report the dog bite or attack to the police
  3. Photograph the dog or animal, if possible
  4. Identify the dog's owner
  5. Identify possible witnesses
  6. Contact animal control
  7. Photograph injuries
  8. Photograph and save the clothes you were wearing during your injury
  9. Do not accept communication from the dog owner or the dog owner's insurance company

A dog bite nearly always involves the legal issue of premises liability. It is possible to recover significant damages against responsible dog owners, landlords, and even homeowners' insurance carriers. Contact our personal injury attorneys for a free consultation and case evaluation. 

"Dangerous" Dogs Statistics

Every day in the U.S., serious dog-bite injuries send nearly 1,000 people to emergency departments for treatment, according to, a public education site. About 12,480 people are hospitalized yearly for serious injuries due to a dog bite. The average cost of a dog bite-related hospital stay was $18,200—roughly 50 percent higher than the average injury-related hospitalization.

In the 15-year period from 2005 through 2019, dog attacks killed 521 people in the U.S. The majority of these deaths—346, or 66 percent—were caused by pit bulls. Combined, pit bull and rottweiler breeds accounted for three-quarters of the deaths..

Each year, Americans face a one in 50 chance of being a dog attack victim. According to a study published in the medical journal JAMA, dog bite victims suffer up to $2 billion in monetary losses each year due to medical bills and other expenses.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, homeowners' and renters' insurance policies cover most dog bite cases up to the liability limits, usually between $100,000 to $300,000. If the dog-bite injury claim exceeds this limit, the pet owner is responsible for that amount.

Dog Bite Statute of Limitations

In general, under Illinois law, dog-bite victims have two years from the date the dog attack occurred to file a dog-bite claim. Dog bite statute of limitations exceptions are rare and include:

  • Dog attacks on minors. If no one brings a lawsuit on behalf of the minor child, a minor may be able to file a dog bite claim when they turn 18.
  • Mentally incompetent individuals may be able to file a dog bite injury claim on their own behalf when they are deemed mentally competent.
  • People out of the country for military service may be able to file a dog bite case claim when they return from duty.

If you or a loved one are a dog attack victim, you will want to contact a Chicago dog bite lawyer as soon as possible. Even though you have two years from the time of your injury to file a dog bite claim, it takes time to build a strong case in order to get you the compensation you deserve.

How Much are Chicago Dog Bite Claims Worth?

The value of your dog bite case will vary depending on the severity of your injuries. But you may be able to recover compensation for damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, loss of consortium, physical pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and property damage.

Your Chicago dog bite attorneys will determine the value of your dog bite case based on factors, such as:

  • The severity of your dog-bite injuries
  • Your medical bills
  • Property damage that occurred during the dog bite incident
  • Whether the dog owner acted intentionally or was grossly negligent

The Dog Bite Scale

To determine the severity of a dog bite injury, professionals often consider Dr. Ian Dunbar's Dog Bite Scale, as provided by the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, which identifies six levels of dog bites:

Level 1

The dog's aggressive behavior does not involve the dog's teeth making contact with the victim's skin.

Level 2

The dog's teeth make contact with the victim's skin but the skin is not punctured.

Level 3

The dog's teeth put one to four punctures into the victim's skin and the punctures are no deeper than half the length of the dog's teeth.

Level 4

At least one of the punctures in the victim's skin punctures it by more than half the length of the dog's teeth. These injuries often result in bruising and/or lacerations, often due to the dog biting down and shaking its head from side to side.

Level 5

Dog bite incidents involving multiple bites or multiple attacks with at least two bites meeting Level 4 criteria.

Level 6

A Level 6 dog bite is one that fatally injures the victim.

Contact a Chicago Dog Bite Attorney

Under Illinois law, when a dog attack causes serious injury to others, the dog owner is held liable for the full amount of the injury. Don't think you can handle a claim on your own. You need an experienced dog bite lawyer to navigate the process to ensure you recover compensation for all your damages.

Contact the Chicago dog bite lawyer at Zayed Law Offices to help you pursue compensation for your animal attack or dog bite injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.