Chicago Dog Bites Attorney
Between 4 million and 5 million people are bitten by dogs every year in this country, and the incidence only seems to be rising. Dogs can attack people for any number of reasons, from naturally aggressive genetics to specific training or abuse. Often dogs will bite to protect their territory, for instance, or to express dominance, or because they are redirecting aggression from another incident. It is not unusual for dogs to target people who may feel they already "know" the dog in question — after all, dogs are animals, and we cannot always accurately predict their behavior. Whatever the circumstances behind a dog bite, it is essential to understand your legal rights in the event of an attack such as this.
Get Help With Your Medical Bills
A dog bite legal case can be directed toward any number of remedies, but the biggest expense is usually medical bills. Dog bite attacks can be vicious in nature, and many people must contend with a long and difficult healing process following such an attack. Major bites can result in proportionate injuries, of course, including tissue and nerve damage, lost blood, broken bones and even death. But even minor bites can lead to soreness, lingering wounds and infections, especially if the dog in question harbors dangerous bacteria in its mouth. Ringworm, rabies and other ailments can also travel through a dog bite as a vector, meaning you may contend with grave health issues down the road. Suffice it to say, you will want assistance in paying down preventable medical expenses such as these.
Help With Reconstructive Surgery
Dog bite litigation can also be directed to recover the expenses associated with reconstructive surgery. Major dog bites can leave vivid scars when they occur, including debilitating injuries to the head, face, neck and hands. Regardless of whether you rely upon your likeness for a living, you are entitled to recover the expenses associated with remedying such lasting scars, including subsequent surgeries and follow-up care where appropriate. Such reconstructive medical care is not just cosmetic, of course — often victims require multiple surgeries simply to regain basic function in a part of the body that came under attack. All of this care falls under the category of reconstructive medical expense, which is typically included in a dog bite settlement.
Dealing With Post-Traumatic Stress
But not all injuries associated with a dog bite are physical in nature. A violent attack such as this may rightly be considered a trauma, and a number of victims find themselves haunted for days, weeks and even years by the incident. In the most serious cases, post-traumatic stress may develop, rendering an otherwise functional person paralyzed by fear, insomnia and depression. Counseling and other interventions are typically necessary to help a victim through the paralyzing pain of post-traumatic stress, and the expense associated with such care is another integral part of any sound dog bite lawsuit.
Recover More Expenses
Finally, the damages you seek for a dog bite may include secondary expenses such as property damage, loss of income, and pain and suffering. Property damage is precisely what it sounds like — if the attack resulted in any damage to your clothes, car, home, or personal possessions, the costs of those items can be covered by the settlement. Loss of income may be a significant source of damages as well, particularly if the victim must stay out of work while healing. Pain and suffering is somewhat more nebulous, but a sympathetic jury may award a good percentage of damages toward this figure, especially if the dog's owner is found to have been especially negligent or liable for the attack in some way.
What To Do if You Are Bitten
So what should you do if you are the victim of a dog bite? The most important thing is to seek medical care immediately. Dog bites can carry any number of pathogens, and the injuries alone can be critical without proper intervention. Once you are stable and safe, be sure to document your injuries in some way, either by taking pictures, or getting copies of the medical report, or both. It is also crucial that you get the information of the dog's owner at the point of attack so that you can pursue action if necessary. Finally you will want to contact an attorney who specializes in cases such as these. Illinois law is ironclad in its emphasis on "strict liability," meaning you may be entitled to significant damages no matter what the owner did or did not know about the dog's tendencies.
Call Joe Klest
Here at Klest Injury Law Firm, we have been helping the victims of dog bites seek full, fair and substantial settlements for over two decades. In that time we have amassed an uncommon record of success with victims and fellow attorneys alike. If you have been bitten by a dog and want to ensure your rights are protected throughout the process to come, it is essential to work with experienced counsel from day one. We work on commission here, meaning we never take a penny for our work unless we win you a settlement. If you have been bitten by a dog, please don't hesitate to contact the attorneys of Klest Injury Law Firm today.