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Winnebago County personal injury lawyerAlthough dogs get a bad rap for the dangerous injuries their bites can cause, they are far from being the only domestic critter whose bite can cause serious damage and even death to humans. Cat bites may not be as common as dog bites, but they can be just as damaging. Cats have harmful bacteria in their mouths and needle-sharp teeth that can deliver the bacteria to vulnerable body parts in just one quick bite. It is important to get cat bites checked and treated right away, and, if you or your child have been bitten by a cat, to speak with a personal injury professional who can help you determine whether you can hold the cat’s owner responsible for the personal injury and medical expenses. 

Cat Bite Infection Rates

Although domestic cats are usually vaccinated against serious diseases like rabies, studies suggest around 400,000 cat bites happen in the U.S. every year and around 50 percent of cat bites in children become infected. At first, an infected cat bite may only feel painful and appear red and swollen. If left untreated, however, the infection can spread and cause septicemia, or blood poisoning. Septicemia requires hospitalization and can even be fatal. 

What Germs Are in a Cat’s Mouth? 

Cats have a reputation for being clean animals, and perhaps compared to dogs that love to roll in smelly stuff, this is true. But cat mouths contain many types of bacteria that are dangerous to humans and which are easily trapped in a small puncture wound. These bacteria include, but are not limited to: 

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Rockford dog bite injury lawyerWhile dog attacks are relatively rare, they can be a scary and dangerous experience, especially for young children. Dogs are often much larger and stronger than a child, and because of their similar height, children are at greater risk of sustaining serious and even life-threatening head and neck injuries in a dog attack. Winnebago County does not have any restrictions against owning pit bulls, but parents of young children should know that pit bulls are, statistically speaking, the most dangerous breed of dog when it comes to dog attacks on children and exercise particular caution around an unfamiliar pit bull. If your child has been attacked by a pit bull or any breed of dog and sustained injuries, you may be able to sue the owner to recover the cost of your child’s medical expenses and emotional trauma.  

Are Dog Owners Responsible for Injuries Caused By Their Dogs? 

As with most legal issues, the answer is, “It depends.” If a child wandered onto someone else’s property and accidentally or intentionally provoked a dog attack, the dog owner is probably not liable for any injuries the child sustained. However, if a dog is allowed to wander off private property and it attacks a child at a park or on your family’s property, the owner will likely be responsible. Likewise, if you are invited to a friend’s house and their dog attacks your child unprovoked, especially if the dog has a history of aggression or biting people, your friend may be responsible. 

What is Considered a Vicious Dog?  

Children are often bitten by dogs because they tend not to understand a dog’s warning signs. A child’s behavior that seems playful or harmless to an adult human may seem irritating or threatening to a dog; pulling a dog’s tail or ears, chasing a dog, or taking something from a dog’s mouth may all provoke an attack. A dog who has attacked a child when the child was abusing, assaulting, or physically threatening the dog will likely not be considered vicious and the owner will not be held responsible for the attack. However, if a dog has a history of attacking people unprovoked and the owner does not take the necessary steps to confine a vicious animal, he or she may be held responsible for that dog’s actions. 

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Rockford dog bite injury attorneysDogs can be lovable companions. However, they are still animals with sharp teeth and powerful jaws. Almost five million people are bitten by dogs every year in the United States. Dog bites can cause nerve damage, broken bones, infections, and other serious injuries. Non-bite injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries caused by being knocked to the ground by a dog, can also be severe. If you or a loved one were injured by a dog, you may be able to hold the negligent dog owner accountable and recover compensation through a personal injury claim.

Dog Bite Injuries Can Lead to Terrible Mental and Physical Scars

Being the victim of a dog attack is an extremely traumatic experience to go through. A dog bite victim may suffer severe tissue damage that requires significant medical treatment. Many dog bite victims sustain injuries to their face, which can leave them disfigured for months or years after the attack. A dog bite victim may require emergency room treatment, x-rays, and reconstructive surgery, psychological treatment, and other expensive medical care. These medical costs may be recoverable through a personal injury claim.

Illinois Dog Bite Laws

Dog owners should keep their pets on a leash or contained within their property. If a dog bites someone who is on public property or lawfully on private property, the dog’s owner may be liable for damages. In some states, a dog owner is only liable for dog attack injuries if the dog owner knew or should have known that the dog was dangerous. However, Illinois imposes strict liability on dog owners for dog attack injuries.

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Rockford personal injury attorneysWhile many consider dogs to be “man’s best friend,” not all dogs are friendly. If you have been bitten by someone’s dog, you may have had to pay extensive emergency room bills and missed time from work. If the injury you sustained was the fault of someone else, it is only fair that he or she should pay for your damages. However, a successful dog bite personal injury claim can be hard to accomplish without qualified legal counsel. If you have suffered a dog bite injury in Illinois, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Dog Owners Are Only Responsible in Certain Circumstances

According to Illinois law, a dog owner is legally responsible for your damages caused by a dog bite if several criteria are met. First, you must have been bitten while in a public place or while lawfully in a private place.  You would likely be able to sue a dog owner if his or her dog attacked you on a public sidewalk, for example. However, if you were walking through someone else’s back yard without their permission, this may be technically considered trespassing. In this type of situation, it can be nearly impossible to receive compensation for damages.

The other important element of a dog bite case is that you did not provoke the dog or instigate the animal into biting you. In most cases, petting a dog is not provocative, as you might expect, but throwing things or hitting the animal would be considered provocation.  

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Rockford personal injury attorneysThe weather has been warming up in Northern Illinois, and that means that people are out picnicking, swimming, and walking their dogs. Although many consider dogs to be “man’s best friend,” the reality is that dogs are still animals, and their behavior is not always predictable. Sometimes, a dog who has never shown signs of belligerence suddenly becomes aggressive. If you have been bitten by a dog in Illinois, it is important to know that you might be able to receive financial compensation for your injuries.

Illinois Dog Bite Laws

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approximate about 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States every year. Illinois has traditionally been a state in which a higher-than-average number of dog bite lawsuits are filed. This is partially due to how the law is written. In some states, a dog owner is not responsible for damages caused by a dog bite if the dog had never bitten anyone before. For example, if someone owned a dog who was usually friendly and non-aggressive, but then one day the dog suddenly bit someone, the dog owner may not be held liable because he or she did not know the dog was capable of violence. However, Illinois does not have this law in place. Instead, a dog owner can be held liable for damages caused by his or her dog biting someone even if the dog has never shown signs of aggressiveness in the past.

The Illinois Animal Control Act dictates when a dog owner is liable for injuries caused by his or her dog. According to the act, “If a dog or other animal, without provocation, attacks, attempts to attack, or injures any person who is peaceably conducting himself or herself in any place where he or she may lawfully be, the owner of such dog or other animal is liable in civil damages to such person for the full amount of the injury proximately caused thereby.”

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