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I was bitten by a dog, what should I do?

The most important thing to do if you are ever bitten by a dog is to seek medical attention immediately. In some cases, dog bites can cause infections that can lead to further medical problems. Once you are safe and in stable condition be sure to document your injuries. Get copies of your medical records and take pictures if possible.

Next, gather what information you can about the dog’s owner at the time of the incident. These facts will be relevant when you consider whether or not to pursue legal action.

In general, actions seeking relief for dog bite injuries in Illinois may be filed under common law theories of negligence and strict liability. In certain cases they can also be filed pursuant to the Illinois Animal Control Act, 510 ILCS 5/16 (the “Act”). The following elements are necessary In order for this Act to apply to a particular dog bite case:

• The Defendant is the owner of the dog that caused the injury.

The Act defines an “owner” of the dog as, “any person having a right of property in an animal, or who keeps or harbors an animal, or who has it in his care, or acts as its custodian, or who knowingly permits a dog to remain on any premises occupied by him or her.” 510 ILCS 5/2.16. Some previous court decisions may also play a role in defining who is considered an “owner” in these types of cases. You should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to determine how this question may apply to a specific set of circumstances.

• The injured person did not provoke the dog.

• The injured person conducted him or herself peacefully.

• The injured person was present in a place where he or she had a legal right to be.

To speak to an experienced attorney at the Klest Injury Law Firm call 866-264-7639 for a free consultation.

© Joseph G. Klest, 2011.