Establishing Liability in an Animal Attack
If you have been
attacked or bitten by a dog in Illinois and suffered injuries, you may be able to recover compensation
for your injuries pursuant to the Animal Control Act. The following is
an overview of the
Animal Control Act.
Dog Bite Law
Illinois has a statute which makes the owner, keeper or harborer of any animal liable for injuries if the elements of the Animal Control Act can be established. While the dog bite statute uses the word “owner,” the term is defined as any individual having a right of property in an animal, or who harbors or keeps an animal, or who has it in his or her care.
According to the state dog bite statute, the injured party must show the following:
- The dog or other animal attacked, attempted to attack, or injured the individual
- The individual had a lawful right to be in the place he or she was when attacked or injured
- The dog or other animal was not provoked
Strict Liability Law – Animal Control Act
The Animal Control Act is a strict liability statute and states that the responsible parties shall be liable for the injuries caused by the animal if the elements of the Act can be proven. Strict liability means the owner of the animal cannot argue that he or she had no warning of the animal’s aggressiveness. The Animal Control Act does not contemplate the “one free bite rule.” If an animal injures a person without provocation, the owner will be held liable pursuant to the Animal Control Act—even if the owner had no prior knowledge that the animal might attack and cause injuries.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is a law which limits the amount of time an injured party has to file a lawsuit in court after an injury. In Illinois, the statute of limitations for dog bites and animal attacks gives an injured party two years from the date of the occurrence to have a lawsuit on file or the claim against the responsible parties will be time barred forever.