GET THE DOG BITE COMPENSATION YOU DESERVE
Millions of Americans are bitten by dogs every year, sometimes leading to injuries that require medical attention. If you are one of these victims, make a conscious effort to know your rights and legal options as early as now.
The Law Office of Elizabeth C. Ryan has a proven track record of successfully representing clients seeking dog bite compensation. Led by experienced Chicago dog bite lawyer Elizabeth C. Ryan, the firm has the knowledge and training to provide aggressive legal representation to help you win your case.
- The insurance industry pays out over $1 billion to victims of dog bites.
- About 4.7 million Americans will be bitten by a dog this year.
- Almost 400,000 dog bites annually require emergency medical attention.
- Roughly half of all dog bite victims are children between the ages of 5 and 9.
- Pit Bulls have attacked more people than any other breed, although some breed specialists point out that the name “pit bull” is often mistakenly given to dogs that are not, in fact, pit bulls.
- Even friendly dogs can bite: the seemingly playful and lovable Labrador Retriever is number 8 on the list of the dogs most likely to attack people.
- Regardless of breed, if you get bitten by a dog, there is a 94% chance that it is a not-neutered male dog.
- Dogs who are chained can still kill: about 25% of fatal dog attacks involved dogs that are chained at the time of the attack.
- It is more likely that you will be bitten by a dog you know than a dog you don’t know. This is probably because people are more cautious around dogs they don’t know – so remember to always be cautious around dogs.
Attorney Ryan is well-versed in statutes enacted to protect your rights. She is not only experienced in representing her clients’ rights before the court, but she has also previously worked with the judicial system.
If you or your loved one has suffered a dog bite, contact us at 312.380.1089 so we can evaluate your case for free. After your free evaluation, Attorney Ryan will sit down with you in her office to review all the relevant information and documentation of your case. Our experienced Chicago dog bite attorney will then develop a strategy and begin working.
What to do if you or someone you are with is bitten by a dog:
1. Call the Police and Get Necessary Medical Attention
- When you call 911, let the operator know whether or not there is a medical emergency. If the victim is bleeding profusely, the bite appears to be deep, or the victim was bitten in the neck or head or in multiple spots, you will need an ambulance.If the wound is only superficial (like a scrape), let the 911 operator know that you only need police. The police will generate a dog bite report in conjunction with local animal control and either the police or animal control will determine whether or not the dog is a continuing threat to people. This report can be used for any future legal proceedings. Furthermore, animal control tracks dog bites. If a particular dog or a particular owner seem to be responsible for a cluster of bites, animal control and the police may need to take further action.If the wound is superficial – meaning that it’s akin to a scrape – and you know the dog and its medical record, you may choose not to go to the emergency room. However, if a dog’s teeth break human skin, the victim should see a doctor as soon as possible, preferably within 24 hours. Dog’s mouths are filled with bacteria foreign to human bodies and dog bites can very easily get infected so even if it doesn’t look serious, it’s important to see a doctor.Furthermore, if you need to pursue legal action, you will need to get a doctor’s report. Even if you think you aren’t going to pursue legal action at the time of the bite, I highly encourage you to get a doctor’s report. Down the road, infection, scarring, or emotional distress may cause you to want to take legal action and in that case you’ll want the doctor’s report.If you have any doubt about the severity of the bite, call an ambulance or go to the emergency room. If you do not know the dog, always go to the emergency room. Do not try to catch the dog but do contact animal control and provide them with a full account of the event.Doctors will want to know who the owner of the dog is and if the owner can provide documentation that the dog has had all of its vaccinations, including rabies. If you can’t get this information, the doctor will take extra precautions to ensure your recovery.
2. Get Contact Information
- Do not delay getting medical attention if it is an emergency. But, if someone – either the victim or a witness – can take the following steps immediately after a dog bite, the legal process can be much easier. Even if the wound is superficial, follow these steps. Superficial wounds can still cause scars, infection, and emotional distress, especially in children.First, get the information about the dog and its owner: name, address, phone number, and insurance information, as well as vaccination records for the dog. At the scene, if the owner can give you a verbal account of the dog’s vaccination records, that’s fine, but you or your attorney will want to confirm this information with the dog’s vet. Also get contact information from any other witnesses who can describe your interaction with the dog. If the dog was under the control of someone other than its owner at the time of the attack, get that person’s contact information as well. If you have a police officer present, they will handle this step.
3. Call Elizabeth C. Ryan
- Elizabeth C. Ryan is an experienced personal injury lawyer who has successfully handled many dog bite cases. Call Ms. Ryan as soon as possible after a dog bite, even if you are not totally sure that you want to pursue legal action. Ms. Ryan can make sure you take the appropriate steps early in the process so that if legal action becomes necessary, you will have everything you need to build a successful case.
4. Take Pictures
- Take pictures of the wound and, if it causes any scarring, take pictures of the scars as well. Make sure you keep duplicates of these photos saved somewhere in case something happens to your phone in the meantime. You can also go to a local drug store and get hard copy prints of the photos as a back-up.
5. If Necessary, See Specialists
- If the bite turns into a scar, make an appointment with a plastic surgeon. Have the doctor fully assess the scar and what it will take to remedy the scar. If you or your child experience trauma or emotional distress as a result of the dog bite, you may want to seek professional therapy to deal with your emotions. This may be especially important for small children who are not adept at expressing their emotions.
6. Do NOT Speak to Insurance Company Reps or Sign ANY Documents
- This is important so let’s repeat it: if you or your child has been bitten by a dog, no matter how serious it is, do not speak to any insurance company representatives and do not sign any documents from any insurance companies. If you answer the phone and it is an insurance company calling about the dog bite, simply hang up the phone. Insurance companies have a way of getting you to agree to give up your rights without making you think that’s what you’re doing. Don’t fall into that trap. Let your lawyer handle any necessary conversation with the insurance companies involved.
Tips on Preventing Dog Bites:
The best dog bite is one that never happens and there are a few steps you can take to do your best to prevent getting bitten by a dog or having your children bit by a dog. The first rule of thumb is that you should treat any unknown dog like a wild animal: stay away from it, even if it is on a leash with its owner.
If you’d like to approach the dog, from a safe distance, ask the owner if the dog is friendly. If you have a child with you, ask specifically if the dog is good with children. Even otherwise friendly dogs can become agitated by kids who may move unexpectedly or speak in a loud or high-pitched voice. If the owner does not know how the dog is with children, do not allow your child to approach the dog.
If the owner gives you the signal that it is safe to approach the dog, still do so slowly and let the dog advanced toward you as well. If the dog shows any sign of fear or aggression, stop moving toward the dog and back away slowly.
In some cases you can’t avoid the dog. Maybe he’s a stray or got away from his owner. If a dog comes running up to you, stand your ground, but do not make eye contact with the dog, as this can anger agitated dogs. Do not run away or scream: most dogs will interpret this as play and will chase you and try to tackle you. If you fear the dog will jump on you or knock you over, put your back towards the dog.
Never approach a stray dog, a dog not on a leash, a dog who is eating, or a mother dog feeding her puppies.
Our Chicago dog bite lawyer can explain your legal rights to you.
Fortunately, the law is on your side as Illinois is a strict liability state. The Animal Control Act provides, “If a dog or other animal, without provocation, attacks, attempts to attack, or injures any person who is peaceably conducting himself or herself in any place where he or she may lawfully be, the owner of such dog or other animal is liable in civil damages to such person for the full amount of the injury proximately caused thereby.” (510 ILCS 5/16)
Things to take into consideration in a dog bite case are the following:
- identifying the owner of the dog
- who had control over the dog at the time of the incident
- whether the dog is up to date on rabies shots
- whether provocation is at issue
- whether the dog had bitten or harmed an individual prior to your incident
Ms. Elizabeth C. Ryan is willing to work on your behalf to secure the compensation you deserve.
Please call us immediately at 312.380.1089.