Common Mistakes in Illinois Dog Bite Cases

After helping many families through dog bite claims and speaking to countless other potential clients about their cases, we’ve observed some common mistakes people tend to make in dog bite cases, particularly when they choose to proceed without a lawyer.

Claims for dog bite injuries in Illinois are typically brought under the Illinois Animal Control Act. Speaking generally, if you are bitted by someone’s dog, you are in a place that you legally have the right to be, and you did not provoke the dog, then you are very likely to have a winning case.

Because the law is so favorable toward the injured party, these cases can often be settled out of court. This is important because many times, in dog bite cases, you may know the owner of the dog, and you don’t want to be involved in litigation with a friend, family member, or neighbor. Insurance companies will generally offer a fair settlement, as they don’t want to go to court on a case they know they will lose.

If you’d like more information about dog bite cases in Illinois, please reach out to Onward Injury Law. We are here to help. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.

In this article, we provide an overview of common mistakes in Illinois dog bite claims in hopes of helping other dog bite victims avoid these mistakes.

1. Waiting Too Long to Pursue Your Claim

It’s crucial to pursue your claim before witnesses’ memories fade and while key evidence is still available to prove your claim.

Also, for most dog bite claims, if a lawsuit isn’t on file within the two-year statute of limitations for injury cases, your claim will be barred by the statute of limitations. It is important to note that not all dog bite claims have a two-year statute, so the best way to determine what limitations period applies to your case is to discuss your situation with a dog bite lawyer.

Remember that in cases where the defendant is owned by a government entity, the statute may be one year. In cases involving minors, they may have a statute that generally runs two years from the minor’s 18th birthday.

2. Failing to Report the Case to Animal Control

It is important to report the case to the appropriate animal control authority so that a record can be made of the bite. If there is no record of the bite, it may be difficult for you to pursue a claim.

It’s important to have as much evidence as possible for your case, and a dog bite report can be a primary piece of information. Contact an animal control authority as soon as you can following the incident.

3. Failing to Check Animal Control Records to See If the Dog Bit Anyone Prior to Biting You

If the dog owner allowed the dog to attack multiple people, it could significantly impact the value of your case. Therefore, you need to check animal control records to search the defendant’s previous history.

You can typically obtain this information through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Feel free to contact us if you need help filing a FOIA request.

4. Failing to Get the Immediate Medical Attention You Need

It is important to get medical treatment for your own well-being and to help prove the nature and extent of your injuries. A doctor can prove that your injuries were related to the dog bite, and you can use your medical records as evidence in your claim.

Additionally, you can potentially seek compensation for any medical expenses that you received.

5. Trusting the At-fault Party to Take Care of Your Medical Bills and Failing to Submit the Medical Bills to Your Own Group Health Insurance Plan

In Illinois, the client is almost always better off if they run all their medical bills through their own group health insurance because group health insurance carriers have negotiated deep discounts to medical bills for their members.

By paying your insurance premiums each month, you should be able to receive the discounted rates your insurance company negotiated on your behalf. If you fail to do this, you may have to pay costly expenses for your treatment.

6. Accepting an Early or Low Settlement Without Knowing the Value of Your Case

You shouldn’t take a quick settlement before you have a thorough understanding of all the possible damages you may have suffered. It is a bad idea to accept a settlement without talking to a lawyer about the value of your case. The insurance company has sophisticated systems for valuing cases. Keep in mind that when dealing with the insurance company, their goal is to pay you the lowest possible settlement you might accept.

If you receive a low settlement amount, you can deny the first or even second offer. An experienced dog bite lawyer can help you negotiate your settlement so you receive fair compensation for your damages.

Contact Onward Injury Law Today

Dog bites can be traumatizing. Remember that you deserve fair compensation for your damages. A reliable dog bite lawyer can help you file a claim, negotiate with the insurance company, and get you maximum compensation for your losses. They also have in-depth knowledge of Illinois dog bite laws, which can be invaluable to your case. You can rely on the team at Onward Injury Law.

If you are a dog bite victim and would like a free consultation about your case, please reach out to us.

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