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Category: Animal Attack

Dog Bites: When The Victim Shares Some of the Blame

In several states, including the state of Illinois, plaintiffs who bear some responsibility in their own injuries may have to contend with a rule called "Modified Comparative Negligence." Simply put, the rule means that if you share the blame for your injuries, you also share the burden, that damages are assessed only in direct proportion to level of responsibility. What's more is that "Modified" component means if the plaintiff bears 51% of the responsibility for the injuries, they get nothing. 

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Complexity of Illinois Dog Bite Laws

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Understanding Illinois dog bite laws will help to shed light on liability in your dog bite case and discerning your chances of recovering damages in your case. Illinois dog bite laws are very complex. They are included in state, county and, in some cases, city laws. They are considered part of tort law. Tort law deals with personal injuries like those arising from traffic cases.

Most Illinois dog bite laws also govern other kinds of injuries that spring from a dog attack (e.g. dog scratches, injuries sustained in attempts to flee from a dog attack). With two exceptions, the law in Illinois indicates that dog owners are responsible for covering medical costs when their dog(s) injures an individual. This does not require the establishment of negligence on the part of the dog owner.

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What To Do If You Suffer a Dog Bite Attack

In many cases, when a dog bite attack occurs, the dog’s owner is likely held responsible. But it is not always the case. It is always important to get the circumstances of the incident documented to establish the facts of the case. Establishing the facts surrounding the incident, however, is not always top of mind when it occurs.

Typically, emotions are heightened. Many of the steps you should take to support a strong claim for personal injury damages are neglected, and it becomes increasingly more difficult to prove your case. Here are some essential steps individuals should take when suffering a dog bite:

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Dog Bite Statute of Limitations in Illinois

In every state there are laws governing the length of time a claimant has to file a personal injury case. The “Statute of Limitations,” as it is called, essentially puts a time limit on your personal injury law suit. In some cases, depending upon the kind of claim in question, time limits on filing a claim differ.

In the State of Illinois, where this statute applies to dog bite attacks, the time limit is the same as those for any other personal injury case. Statute 735 Illinois Compiled Statutes section 5/13-202 states:

"Actions for damages for an injury to the person…shall be commenced within two years next after the cause of action accrued”

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Animal Attacks

Unlike other states, Illinois law provides for damages in animal attack cases that do not necessarily involve an actual animal bite. The Illinois Animal Control Act ensures that an  animal’s owner (or other responsible party) may be held liable if the animal under their care attacks an individual, leading to injury whether or not the victim is bitten.

There are, of course, many scenarios in which an aggressive animal may cause injuries that do not include an actual dog bite.

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