An estimated 4.5 million people in the United States are bitten by dogs every year. Of those, about 825,000 seek medical care, 30,000 have reconstructive procedures, and 3% to 18% suffer from an infection. Children, particularly those in mid to late childhood, are the most at risk of being bitten and are more likely to suffer serious head and neck injuries.
If you or a loved one has been bitten or attacked by a dog, you should know that you could be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries. Find out more about filing a claim from a Quad Cities dog bite lawyer.
Can You Sue for a Dog Bite?
Dog bites and animal attacks are considered a type of personal injury—thus, you can sue a dog’s owner if the dog injures you. However, there are a few caveats that depend upon where the injury occurred.
Dog Bite Liability in Illinois
If you or your child were bitten or otherwise injured by a dog in Rock Island, Moline, or East Moline, Aledo, Geneseo, Cambridge, Morrison, Fulton, Sterling, or Rock Falls your ability to pursue a dog bite lawsuit hinges on Illinois dog bite laws, which can be found in the following sections of the Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS):
- 510 ILCS 5/2. 05a. This statute defines a dangerous dog as one that is not located on its owner’s property, is unmuzzled, unleashed, or unattended by its owner, and which “behaves in a manner that a reasonable person would believe poses a serious and unjustified imminent threat of serious physical injury or death to a person or a companion animal.” A dangerous dog can also refer to a dog that bites a person without justification but does not cause serious injury.
- 510 ILCS 5/2.11a. Vicious dogs must be kept in a secure enclosure at least six feet in height, both to confine the dog and prevent the entry of young children into the dog’s enclosure.
- 510 ILCS 5/16. If a dog attacks or attempts to attack someone without provocation, while the person is “peaceably conducting himself or herself in any place where he or she may lawfully be” (i.e., not trespassing), the owner of the dog may be held liable for civil damages in the full amount of the injury.
Furthermore, Illinois is a strict liability state, meaning the dog’s owner is still liable for the injuries caused by their dog, even if they were not aware of the dog’s aggression or tendencies to bite.
Dog Bite Liability in Iowa
If you or your child were bitten or otherwise injured by a dog in Davenport, Bettendorf, Muscatine, Clinton, Maquoketa, or Tipton your ability to pursue a dog bite lawsuit is contingent upon Iowa dog bite laws, which can be found in the following section of the Iowa Code:
- §351.28. “The owner of a dog shall be liable to an injured party for all damages done by the dog, when the dog is caught in the action of worrying, maiming, or killing a domestic animal, or the dog is attacking or attempting to bite a person, except when the party damaged is doing an unlawful act, directly contributing to the injury.”
Like Illinois, Iowa is a strict liability state when it comes to most dog bites and injuries. However, there is one exception to strict liability for dog bites. If a dog has rabies, the dog’s owner is not liable for dog bite injuries unless they knew the dog had rabies and failed to use reasonable care to prevent the dog from attacking or biting someone.
How Much Compensation Can You Get for a Dog Bite?
According to insurance comparison platform QuoteWizard, the average dog bite lawsuit payout in the state of Illinois was $48,098.32, with approximately 854 claims filed in 2019. In Iowa, the average claim amount was slightly less, at $45,981.43, with only 136 claims filed that year.
However, any experienced Quad cities dog bite lawyer will tell you that every dog bite lawsuit is different, and there’s no hard and fast rule for how much compensation you can receive if you or a loved one has been bitten. When calculating the real value of your claim, your personal injury attorney will take into account the following:
- Medical Bills. Some dog bite injuries are minor and only require a sterile bandage and an updated tetanus shot from your primary care provider. Others may result in hospitalization for stitches, significant blood loss, moderate to serious infections, and other injuries. The victim may also require skin grafts or reconstructive surgery. Even with health insurance, medical bills related to a dog bite can quickly pile up.
- Lost Wages. Moderate to serious injuries caused by a dog or animal attack may hinder your ability to go to work. If you are unable to work due to your injuries, your dog bite settlement will likely include damages for your lost wages.
- Pain and Suffering. Pain and suffering are a kind of compensation for non-economic damages. While it may seem difficult to quantify, you and your family may also receive settlement funds for the physical and emotional pain and suffering you experienced as a result of the dog bite.
- Wrongful Death. If a loved one dies as a result of a dog bite or injury, you may receive significant compensation for funeral and burial costs, loss of future income, and the loss of personal relationship with the deceased.
Are You Eligible to File a Dog Bite Lawsuit?
If you, your child, or another loved one have been bitten or otherwise injured by a dog, you may very well be entitled to compensation for your injuries and associated expenses. To find out if you have a case, contact a Quad Cities dog bite lawyer at Winstein, Kavensky & Cunningham, LLC.
Our attentive and compassionate legal team offers free, no-obligation consultations to help injured victims and their families determine if they have a personal injury case and understand all their legal options going forward. Should you decide to hire us, we won’t charge you any fees until we’ve made a recovery on your behalf.
To claim your complimentary case review, call us 24/7 at (309) 794-1515. You can also connect with a representative right now via our LiveChat feature, or send us a brief message about your case online. WKC Law Firm is also available for home and hospital visits, plus evening and weekend appointments.