In 2016, State Farm Insurance paid out $14 million to settle 323 dog-bite claims in Illinois, making the state second only to California. Moreover, dog-bite claims are on the rise nationwide, accounting for more than one-third of homeowner insurance liability claims paid in the year 2015.
Analysts suggest that the prevalence of dog-bite claims in Illinois is largely due to the Animal Control Act, which creates greater liability for dog owners. While some municipalities have a “one free bite rule,” wherein a dog owner may not be liable for dog-bite injuries if the dog in question has no previous history of attacking humans, the Animal Control Act provides that if a dog or other animal attacks or injures a person without provocation, then the owner or caregiver is liable for the full amount of the injuries.
This heightened standard of liability leads to more dog-bite injury claims, though not all claims result in liability for the owner and/or caregiver. For example, Illinois has also adopted “the reasonable-dog standard.” This standard takes into account what a person might “reasonably expect” about how “normal dogs” might react in a given situation.
Jane E. McBride, a member of the Illinois State Bar Association’s Animal Law Section Council, argued that dog-bite cases have increased because of heightened “dog density” in towns and cities. She also further stated that the damages awarded are influenced by the type of bite. A dog biting a human would be treated as a normal human injury, so that emotional distress and other non-economic damages may be taken into account, while dog-on-dog incidents are limited to economic damages such as veterinary bills.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average dog-bite claim payout has increased over time, from $19,162.00 nationally in 2003 to $37,214.00 in 2015, a spike of 94.2 percent.
Have you been attacked by a dog? If so, you also need an experienced and dedicated attorney to fight for you. The dog-attack attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers are an excellent choice because they have decades of experience and success in cases exactly like this.
GWC prosecutes a wide variety of injury cases throughout Illinois, including those involving dog attacks, auto collisions, workers’ compensation, construction accidents, medical malpractice, and product liability. If you or a loved one has been injured, because of a dog attack or by some other means, please contact us for a free legal consultation to see if you may be eligible for financial compensation for your injuries. Call our office 24/7 at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with one of our representatives today.