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Chicago Animal Bites

Each year, approximately 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs, half of them children, according to the Centers for Disease Control.  Although few people die as a result, one in five dog bites is serious enough to seek medical attention. [1]  In 2012, more than 27,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery as the result of a dog bite.  Additionally, other animals both domestic (cats, ferrets, birds) and undomesticated (large cats, reptiles) ordinarily found in the wild but owned by some people as pets have also been known to attack both children and adults.

An animal owner’s legal liability for injuries caused by his pet, whether domestic or nondomestic varies greatly between jurisdictions.  Many states have passed laws to punish owners who endanger others by keeping aggressive dogs and other dangerous animals within close proximity to other people.   In about one-third of states, owners are “strictly liable” for their dogs’ behavior, while in the rest of the country they are liable only if they knew or should have known their dogs had a propensity to bite (known as the “one free bite” principle).  An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to help you determine the animal owner’s liability in your jurisdiction. If you or someone you know has been injured as the result of an animal attack, you should speak to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible following the incident.  To learn more, visit our section on Dog Bites.

[1]Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Dog Bites