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Illinois is one of the leading states that has taken steps to protect the legal rights of dog bite victims. Illinois laws recognize that dog owners have a responsibility to tame, domesticate, fence-in or otherwise secure dogs that may be at risk for lashing out at members of the public. Under the Animal Control Act, an owner is liable for an individual’s injuries that result from the owner’s negligence. Even if an individual’s injuries are not directly related to a dog bite attack, the pet owner may still be liable if those injuries result from negligence.

Numerous Laws Applicable to Dog Owners

In addition to the Animal Control Act, there are numerous other Chicago laws that may be applicable to dog owners. Dog owners may be criminally or civilly liable in the event that they do not provide adequate shelter, food, veterinary care or humane care for an animal. If a dog lashes out at a member of the public, it may be for reasons that pertain to the owner’s neglect. A dog may be suffering from starvation or a lack of adequate shelter and lash out at passer-by. Dog owners may be liable for the damages that an individual suffers in a dog bite attack, and they may also be guilty of a class C misdemeanor, owe a fine of up to $500 and also spend up to 30 days in jail.

Dog owners may also be guilty of other animal cruelty crimes in Illinois, such as Aggravated Cruelty or Confinement in a Motor Vehicle. Dog owners have a responsibility to treat their dogs with kindness and humane care.

Asserting a Negligence Claim

If you are the victim of a dog bite accident, you will need to prove certain elements of a legal claim in order to recover damages. Some states have a “one bite rule” that makes an owner strictly liable for any injuries that a person suffers after receiving a dog bite. Other states will eliminate the liability of a dog owner who places a “BAD DOG” sign outside of the home. Illinois does not follow either of these rules. Instead, Illinois law mandates that injured victims must prove a lack of provocation or trespassing in order to recover compensation for dog bite claim.

Trespassers May Have Legal Rights

In some circumstances, an individual may have no choice but to trespass on another’s property. A trespasser may need to step onto another person’s property to avoid danger or out of necessity. In these instances, it is unclear whether a trespasser’s right to assert a legal claim for damages would be limited. A dog bite case can quickly become complicated by these types of extenuating circumstances.

If you have received a dog bite and were trespassing on another person’s property, you should not automatically assume that you have no legal claim. An attorney may still be able to help you find ways to recover compensation for your claim. Perhaps you were running on the sidewalk outside of an owner’s home and were suddenly attacked by a dog on the grass. In this type of case, you would not be technically considered to be a trespasser. However, you may be considered a trespasser if you stepped onto the grass or went running on the land of another person. An Illinois dog bite lawyer would be able to assist you in arguing your side of the case if a dog owner believed that you were a trespasser under these circumstances.