Animal & Dog Bites

Dog Bites

There is no question that pet ownership is popular among households throughout the state of Illinois. However, despite the rewards of making a pet part of everyday life, dogs and other animals can be dangerous and even deadly to humans. For example, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, dogs bite more than 4.7 million people nationwide each year. Approximately 800,000 of those people seek medical attention; half of them are children. An estimated 16 people die each year as a result of dog bites.

If you or someone you love has been bitten or attacked by a dog or other animal, you may be entitled to damages to compensate you for your medical expenses, pain & suffering, and lost wages. The experienced Illinois personal injury lawyers at Ferris & Thompson, LTD can thoroughly analyze your case and zealously pursue the relief you deserve.

Illinois Dog Bite Law

Under Illinois law, owners are strictly liable to any person their dog or pet bites, attacks, or otherwise injures. This means that the victim of the attack does not need to show that the owner was acting irresponsibly in a manner that led to the injury—the owner is liable regardless. Moreover, liability is not limited to the animal’s owner, but can be extended to any “custodian” or “keeper” of the animal. However, relief is only available if the victim did not provoke the attack, and was not trespassing at the time of the attack. Local jurisdictions such as the city of Chicago subject owners to additional penalties for failure to properly restrain their pets, among other offenses.

Potential Damages

Dog bites and animal attacks can lead to injuries ranging from those that are relatively minor to serious or even life-threatening conditions resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses and lost income. Under Illinois law, owners are responsible for the full cost of any such damages, including those that do not arise from bites directly. For example, damages can include injuries sustained while falling on the ground during an animal attack, or running away to escape an aggressive dog or other animal.

Some dog bite cases are relatively straightforward, whereas others involve multiple factual disputes and extensive evidence on both sides. Depending on the scope of the issues and the financial position of the owner, some defendants may wish to settle your case out of court, whereas others may fight your claims up until and throughout trial. It is essential to enlist a seasoned personal injury attorney to assist you in compiling and presenting all relevant facts and documentation to ensure maximum recovery under all possible scenarios.


Another key aspect of dog bite cases is the owner’s insurance coverage. Many homeowner’s insurance policies, for example, cover dog bites or animal attacks under certain circumstances. It is important to note that certain breeds or animals may be excluded from such policies. Nonetheless, the extent of available insurance coverage can make the difference between a sizeable recovery and a victory that will not sufficiently compensate you for your financial and other losses. The help of a skilled personal injury attorney is therefore critical in helping you to navigate this complex aspect of your case.

Let Us Put Our Skills to Work on Your Behalf

The Illinois personal injury attorneys at Ferris & Thompson, LTD have a combined 80 years of experience in litigating cases from beginning to end. We have successfully handled numerous personal injury cases, including dog bite cases.

Some of our notable successes in dog bite matters include:

  • $250,000 settlement for a minor victim of a dog attack who suffered injuries on the face and arm.
  • $75,000 settlement for a minor victim of a dog attack who suffered leg injuries.

Using our collective knowledge, abilities, and understanding, we have obtained favorable resolutions and considerable financial recoveries for countless personal injury clients like you. We represent our clients on a contingency basis, and will not ask for fees unless we are successful in your case. If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a dog bite or other animal attack, call 847-263-7770 or contact us online for a free consultation. We look forward to hearing from you.

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