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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. 

This applies to dog bites and other animal attacks in Illinois. A plaintiff bringing a personal injury claim against a dog owner as a result of a dog bite can sometimes expect to be blamed for their own injuries in dog bite cases because it is a viable defense. And in the state of Illinois, if they can convince a court you bear 51% of the responsibility in the matter, they are off the hook. 

Of course, many times determining what percentage of responsibility you bear in a dog attack is largely a subjective task. Suffice it to say if you bear any responsibility in a dog bite you received, it will reduce your damages (sometimes considerably).

Say, for instance, a dog behind a fence seems quite fence, and you reach over and pet them. If that dog suddenly bites you and damages a tendon, you may be on the hook for some of the medical damages. Again, how much can be subjective. 

If the animal's owner knew the dog had a history of biting, perhaps it can be argued that the animal should have also been further restrained.

The point is defendants in these cases often claim the plaintiff bears some responsibility in their own attack, and that poses a challenge to some or all of your claim.

That is why it is so important to document all of the facts in these cases from the outset; if at all possible, locate any witnesses that may have been around to see the attack (that can be pivotal in proving fault); and secure qualified counsel with an experienced personal injury attorney who understands Illinois dog bite law.

The skilled attorneys of Panio Law Offices have a wealth of experience fighting for damages in these kinds of cases. We work hard to ensure our clients receive the highest awards to which they are entitled, and we will work hard for you.

Call us at (708) 928-8680 to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney today.  We can help.

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