Dog Bite Lawyers in O'Fallon, IL
O'Fallon, IL Personal Injury Lawyers
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Dog Bite Lawyers in O'Fallon, IL. Dogs can add a great deal of fun, love and companionship to our lives. But when O'Fallon, IL dog owners don't keep their dogs in check, it can cause injuries and other damages to innocent people. It is crucial to get qualified legal representation ASAP after a dog bite. As personal injury lawyers, Halvorsen Klote has helped clients in O'Fallon, IL and beyond hold negligent dog owners liable to get the compensation they are owed. If you were bitten by a dog, don't wait another second to call us at 866-382-4167 or contact our O'Fallon, IL dog bite lawyers online. Halvorsen Klote represents clients in the Greater St. Louis area and Southern Illinois.
Dog Bite Statistics
Based on research from the American Veterinary Medical Association, there are over 4.5 million serious dog bites every year nationwide. These injuries are associated with expensive medical bills, as medical treatment can quickly add up to tens of thousands of dollars. Every day, almost 1,000 people visit an emergency room for serious dog bites, and the average medical costs for a dog bite is $20,000.
In 2022, nationwide there were 17,597 dog bite claims, which ended up costing $1.136 billion in compensation.
How to Know if You Have a Dog Bite Claim in O'Fallon, IL
If you have been bitten by a dog, you may be wondering whether or not you have a valid claim. The answer depends on the circumstances surrounding the attack:
- Seriousness of your injuries — If you want to have a valid case, your injuries your injuries have to have resulted in financial loss. You can typically receive compensation for injuries such as puncture wounds, lacerations or broken bones, as well as emotional injuries like anxiety. For less serious injuries that didn't require medical treatment, such as a small cut, you may not be able to make a claim .
- Circumstances surrounding the incident — If you were bitten while you were on public property or on private property you had permission to be on, you may have a case. But, if you were trespassing or if you provoked the dog, you likely don't have a case.
- Insurance coverages available — For more serious dog bite cases, you'll likely need to find an insurance policy that covers the injuries a specific dog causes. Most times, this will be under a homeowner's insurance or renter's insurance policy. If not, you may need some "creative lawyering" to help find the coverage you need.
- Dog bite laws — Whether or not you're able to make a valid claim for a dog bite also depends on local ordinances and state statutes. Generally, in Missouri and Illinois, you can seek compensation for a dog bite any time you were bitten by someone else's dog if:
- You were lawfully allowed to be where you were
- You did nothing to provoke or threaten the dog or its owner
If you don't know if you have enough to seek compensation, you should speak to a qualified O'Fallon, IL dog bite lawyer. They can evaluate the circumstances surrounding your dog bite and advise you on what the best path forward is.
What Should I Do if I'm Bitten by a Dog in O'Fallon, IL?
If you've been bitten by a dog, it's important to take certain steps to protect your health and your legal rights. While it can be hard to keep your wits about you, after being bitten by a dog you should:
- Acquire evidence — As soon as you can afterwards, take pictures of the surrounding scene and any injuries. Get the contact info of the dog's owners and any witnesses you can, without getting into a confrontation with the owner.
- Get medical treatment — Even if you don't end up going to the emergency room, you need to get checked out by a doctor or other medical professional. Dog bites often lead to infection, and you may need to receive a tetanus shot or other treatment to prevent complications. Additionally, you'll need documentation of your injuries in order to make a claim.
- Report the bite — Depending on where you were when you were attacked, you may need to file a report with your local municipality. This can help to ensure that the dog is observed to see if they're a danger to others, and that there is documentation of the attack to back up your story.
- Be cautious with insurance companies — If the dog's owner has insurance, their insurance company may reach out to you to offer a settlement. Be wary of accepting a settlement before you speak to an attorney, as the first offer is likely to be less than the true value of your claim.
- Call a personal injury lawyer — An attorney with experience in injury claims can help you to understand your legal rights and options. They can look into the details of your case and help you to determine the true value of your dog bite injury in O'Fallon, IL.
How a Dog Bite Lawyer in O'Fallon, IL Can Help
A dog bite lawyer in O'Fallon, IL offers expertise and peace of mind. Here are some of the things they can do for you:
- Analyze your case — A dog bite lawyer can evaluate your case and determine whether you have a valid claim. They will review all of the evidence and how it fits with law and case precedent.
- Help you understand your rights — A dog bite lawyer can help you understand your legal options. They can explain the laws that govern dog bites in O'Fallon, IL, and they can help you navigate the legal system from filing a claim with the appropriate insurance to going to court if necessary. Throughout your case, your O'Fallon, IL dog bite lawyer will be there to answer any questions you have about personal injury claims.
- Obtain evidence — A dog bite lawyer can obtain evidence to support your claim. This may include medical records, witness statements and photographs of your injuries.
- Negotiate with insurance companies — A dog bite lawyer can talk to the dog owner's insurance company to get you the compensation you're entitled to. Insurance companies often try to pay out as little as possible, but a dog bite lawyer can stand up for you and ensure the compensation covers all of your damages.
- Represent you in court — If your lawsuit goes to court, a dog bite lawyer can represent you and advocate for your rights.
Understanding Dog Bite Laws
Any law regarding personal injury is designed to keep the public safe and to hold people responsible for the harm they cause. Each state implements their own laws regarding dog bites, and the laws in Missouri and Illinois are similar.
Neither state has a "one bite rule" – where you can't hold the owner liable if it's the dog's first aggressive incident – or uses negligence – requiring the dog owner to do something wrong – as the standard in dog bite cases.
Instead, both states adhere to "strict liability", meaning that a dog owner can be sued for a dog bite even if the owner did nothing wrong. Strict liability recognizes that dog owners are responsible for the behavior of their dog, while allowing dog bite victims who did nothing wrong to get full compensation without having to prove wrongdoing on the part of the dog owner.
The main difference in dog bite law between Missouri and Illinois is in regards to the statute of limitations. In Missouri, you generally have five years to file a dog bite claim, while in Illinois dog bite claims must be filed within two years.
Common Dog Attack Injuries
As harmless as they seem, "man's best friend" can be dangerous. Our dog attack lawyers in O'Fallon, IL, understand how victims and their families can be affected after an incident. For example, here are some of the most common dog bite injuries:
Often, people stereotype certain dog breeds. There are facts to back this up, but they're not always applicable. Every dog is capable of biting someone. This can be attributed to the dog's environment and interaction with the victim.
Breeds that are often associated with bites include (in no particular order) bull terriers, cocker spaniels, jack russells, German shepherds, pit bulls, bulldogs, and even chihuahuas. The size and age of the dog rarely matters; the important thing to keep in mind is how a dog was raised and how you interact with the dog. People have a similar tendency to lash out others when they're scared or aggravated.
What Compensation Can I Get for My Dog Bite in O'Fallon, IL?
A dog bite lawyer in O'Fallon, IL, will look at a number of damages. These include:
- Medical Expenses — Victims may be able to recover all costs related to medical treatment caused by a dog bite. It is important to document everything (recovery, scarring, prescriptions, etc...) if you want compensation.
- Lost Time at Work — If you or a family member have been injured by a dog, you might lose your earning capacity for a certain period of time. The money you lost from not working can be reimbursed to you.
- Pain and Suffering — Being attacked by a dog can be traumatic. Emotional stress, scarring, ongoing fear, and other factors can have lifelong consequences. These types of non-economic damages are factored into personal injury settlements and verdicts.
- Punitive Damages — Though rare, in some circumstances a victim can sue for punitive damages if the dog owner's conduct was intentional or extreme.
- Property Damage — This can include damages to your home, your clothes, a bike or motorcycle, your phone and other things that might've been damaged during an attack.
One of the most important aspects of a dog bite lawyer's job is to accurately value how much your personal injury claim is worth. At Halvorsen Klote, our O'Fallon, IL personal injury lawyers will ensure that no money is left on the table in your claim.
Other cases we take on and win in O'Fallon, IL include:
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- Premises Liability Attorneys
- Automobile Injury Attorney
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Call a Dog Bite Lawyer in O'Fallon, IL Today
If you or a loved one have been injured in a dog attack, reach out to Halvorsen Klote now for a consultation. It is crucial to contact a local dog bite lawyer in O'Fallon, IL, right away if there are financial damages. Legal counsel doesn't cost you anything. Here, we charge on a contingency fee basis. This means that if we don't win your case you don't owe us anything and there aren't any upfront fees. Our O'Fallon, IL, dog bite lawyers are standing by to help. Call us today at 866-382-4167 or contact us online for a free case review.
Our attorneys would be more than happy to discuss your case. We've won numerous cases and you can view our case results here.