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Dog Bite Victim Suffers Multiple Injuries Following Brutal Attack

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Mad dog staring. Dog bite victim.

A dog bite victim in Belleville is on the road to recovery after a dog attack left him with serious injuries. Known as man’s best friend, dogs offer companionship, security, assistance, and other support to their owners. Sometimes, however, they cause serious injuries that have lasting effects.  A week after he was attacked by two unknown dogs, the Belleville man remained in the hospital, recovering from the dog bite injuries and receiving rabies treatment.

Mad dog staring. Dog bite victim.

If you were injured in a dog attack, you should not have to bear the physical, emotional, and financial burden alone. An Illinois personal injury attorney can explain your options, and help you pursue compensation for your associated losses.

Understanding Dog Attacks

Dog attacks can happen in various situations and for a multitude of reasons. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 4.7 million dog bites occur in the United States each year, with about 800,000 of these bites requiring medical attention. Children are particularly vulnerable, with the highest rate of dog bite injuries occurring among those aged 5 to 9 years old. While some attacks may occur seemingly out of nowhere, others can be triggered by specific actions or behaviors. 

Why Do Dogs Attack?

Dogs attack for any number of reasons. Understanding the circumstances that can lead to a dog attack is crucial for both dog owners and the public to prevent such incidents from occurring. Some of the most common scenarios involved in dog attacks include:

Fear or Threat

Dogs may attack if they feel threatened or scared. Dogs may feel threatened or afraid because a person approached too quickly or invaded its personal space.

For instance, fear or threat may have contributed to the Belleville attack. The dogs involved in the incident first attacked the dogs the man was walking. 

Protecting Territory

Dogs are territorial animals and may attack if they feel their territory is invaded. For instance, a dog may become territorial if a person enters a dog’s yard or home without the dog’s owner present.

Protecting Resources

Dogs may become aggressive if they feel their food, toys, or other resources are being threatened or taken away.

Pain or Illness

Dogs in pain or suffering from an illness may become more irritable and prone to aggression.

Lack of Socialization

Dogs that have not been properly socialized may perceive unfamiliar people or animals as threats and react aggressively. For instance, lack of socialization may have contributed to the Belleville incident. The dogs in the attack came from a yard that was not their own and reacted aggressively to the man and his children’s dogs.

Provocation

Rough or aggressive behavior towards a dog, such as teasing, can provoke an attack.

State law generally holds pet owners liable for injuries caused by their animals. However, when personal injury cases go to trial, provocation by the victims may relieve the pet owners of their liability.

Common Injuries That Arise out of a Dog Attack

Dog attacks can result in a range of injuries, both physical and psychological. Understanding these common injuries is essential for dog bite victims to seek appropriate medical treatment and legal recourse.

Physical Injuries

Dog bites can cause a variety of physical injuries, ranging from minor cuts and bruises to more severe wounds requiring surgical intervention. Here are some common physical injuries that arise out of a dog attack:

Deep Cuts and Lacerations 

The sharp teeth and claws of a dog can cause deep cuts and lacerations, often requiring stitches or surgical intervention.

In the dog attack in Belleville, the man suffered serious bites and lacerations. He was knocked to the ground during the incident. The dogs tore flesh from his legs in an attack that medical staff claimed a child would not have survived.

Nerve Damage 

Dog bites can damage nerves, leading to pain, numbness, or loss of function in the affected area.

Broken Bones 

The force of a dog’s bite or the impact of a dog attack can cause fractures or broken bones, particularly in the hands, arms, and legs.

Infection Risks 

Dog bites can introduce bacteria into the body, increasing the risk of infection. Common infections include cellulitis and Pasteurella, which can lead to serious complications if not treated promptly.

The dogs that attacked the man in Belleville were not located, nor were their owners. Without knowing whether they have received the rabies vaccine, the man had to undergo preventative treatment. A series of shots, rabies treatment, aims to keep the potentially fatal virus from taking hold after exposure. It can be painful for victims.

Emotional Injuries

In addition to physical injuries, dog attacks can also cause significant emotional trauma. Here are some common emotional injuries victims experience:

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Dog attacks can be traumatic events, leading to symptoms of PTSD such as flashbacks, nightmares, and anxiety.

Anxiety and Depression

Victims of dog attacks may experience heightened anxiety and depression, especially when faced with reminders of the attack or when encountering dogs in the future.

Fear of Dogs (Cynophobia)

A dog attack can instill a lasting fear of dogs in the victim, making it difficult to be around dogs or even venture outdoors.

Emotional Shock

The sudden and violent nature of a dog attack can result in emotional shock, leaving victims feeling numb, overwhelmed, and unable to process their emotions.

Understanding the physical and psychological impact of a dog attack is crucial for victims to seek comprehensive medical and mental health care. Additionally, seeking legal advice can help victims understand their rights and options for seeking compensation for their injuries and trauma.

Legal Recourse for Dog Bite Victims in Illinois

In Illinois, dog bite victims have legal recourse to seek compensation for their injuries and damages. The state follows a strict liability statute for dog bites, meaning dog owners are held responsible for injuries caused by their dogs, regardless of the dog’s past behavior or the owner’s knowledge of such behavior. Working with a premises liability attorney may help people understand when pet owners are liable.

Steps to Take After a Dog Attack

Experiencing a dog attack can be a traumatic and overwhelming experience. Knowing what steps to take immediately following the attack can help protect your health and legal rights. Here’s what to do:

Seek Medical Attention: The first priority after a dog attack is to seek medical attention for your injuries. Even minor bites can lead to serious infections if not treated promptly.

Report the Incident: Report the dog attack to local animal control authorities or law enforcement. This can help ensure that the dog is properly quarantined and evaluated for health risks.

Gather Evidence: Collect as much evidence as possible from the scene of the attack, including photos of your injuries, witness statements, and any information about the dog and its owner.

Consult With a Personal Injury Attorney: A personal injury attorney with experience handling dog bite cases can help you understand your rights and options for seeking compensation. A lawyer will also walk you through the steps in a personal injury lawsuit.

What Damages Can You Recover for a Dog Attack?

With few exceptions, Illinois state law holds dog owners liable for attacks. The damages victims may recover include:

Medical Expenses

Dog bite victims can seek compensation for medical bills related to treating injuries caused by the dog attack. Such expenses include hospital stay, surgery, medication, and rehabilitation costs. It’s important to keep records of all medical expenses incurred as a result of the attack.

Lost Wages

If the injuries from the dog attack prevent you from working, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages. Lost wages includes both past and future earnings that you would have received if not for the attack. Documentation of your lost wages, such as pay stubs and a letter from your employer, can support your claim.

Pain and Suffering

Victims of dog attacks can also seek compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress caused by the attack. Pain and suffering damages are intended to compensate for the physical discomfort and emotional anguish experienced as a result of the attack.

Disfigurement

In cases where a dog attack results in permanent scarring or disfigurement, victims may be entitled to additional compensation. Disfigurement damages are meant to compensate for the impact that the physical changes have on the victim’s appearance and quality of life.

Wrongful Death

Tragically, some dog attacks can result in the death of the victim. In such cases, surviving family members may be able to seek compensation through a wrongful death claim. Understanding your rights under Illinois law is crucial if you’ve been injured in a dog attack. Consulting with a personal injury attorney can help you navigate the legal process and pursue the compensation you deserve. An experienced attorney can review your case, gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent your interests in court if necessary. Contact our personal injury lawyers at Lloyd Miller Law to learn more about your options.

About the Author

Kurt D. Lloyd is a plaintiff’s trial lawyer who focuses on medical malpractice and other catastrophic injury cases. He lives in Chicago and represents injured clients throughout Illinois. He is also the founder of Lloyd Miller Law, Ltd.

Years of Experience: Over 35 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active
Bar Admissions: Illinois State Bar

Kurt D. Lloyd is a plaintiff’s trial lawyer who focuses on medical malpractice and other catastrophic injury cases. He lives in Chicago and represents injured clients throughout Illinois. He is also the founder of Lloyd Miller Law, Ltd.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Illinois State Bar Association U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois

Kurt D. Lloyd is a plaintiff’s trial lawyer who focuses on medical malpractice and other catastrophic injury cases. He lives in Chicago and represents injured clients throughout Illinois. He is also the founder of Lloyd Miller Law, Ltd.

Years of Experience: Over 35 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active
Bar Admissions: Illinois State Bar

Kurt D. Lloyd is a plaintiff’s trial lawyer who focuses on medical malpractice and other catastrophic injury cases. He lives in Chicago and represents injured clients throughout Illinois. He is also the founder of Lloyd Miller Law, Ltd.

Years of Experience: Over 35 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active
Bar Admissions: Illinois State Bar