If you want to pursue a dog bite lawsuit in Chicago, Illinois, there are several key factors that you have to understand. You should first speak with a dog bite attorney in Chicago to have your case evaluated. In many instances, not all dog bite claims end in a lawsuit. Very often, these types of claims are resolved through settlements. Here is what you should know about pursuing a dog bite lawsuit in Illinois!
Consult a Dog-bite Attorney
If you want to pursue a dog bite claim in Chicago, contacting a dog bite attorney is essential. These lawyers specialize in dog bite cases, and after an initial consultation, you will know if you have a good case to pursue a claim.
The lawyer will evaluate various aspects of your case, from minor details to medical records that prove the severity of your injuries and their consequences, circumstances surrounding the incident, and potential liability.
It’s important to assess whether or not you have a valid case and if circumstances in your case will be to your detriment. For example, if you weren’t legally entitled to be in an area or provoked the dog, you might lose some percentage of your injury compensation.
Investigation and Determining Liability
Once you begin working with a dog-bite attorney, the investigation phase begins. Your lawyer will begin collecting evidence such as medical records, injury photographs, witness statements, video footage if available, police reports, and veterinary records if applicable.
Through this investigation and documentation, your attorney will work to establish liability and build a strong case for you. In Illinois, the owner is strictly liable for dog bites and attacks, but in the investigation phase, your lawyer will also try to prove that you weren’t trespassing and didn’t provoke the dog.
Based on the specifics of your case, your lawyer might advise you to pursue a negligence claim against the dog owner if applicable. This can be done when you prove that the owner failed to exercise reasonable care in controlling their dog.
Once liability is established, your lawyer will enter negotiations with the at-fault party, their insurance company, or legal representation on your behalf.
Since your lawyer has already established your case, gathered evidence, and knows what you are entitled to, they will ask for a fair settlement to compensate you for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages that resulted from the dog bite incident.
However, if the at-fault party doesn’t agree to compensate you rightfully, your lawyer will advise you on whether you should pursue a dog bite lawsuit.
When you pursue a dog bite lawsuit, your case will be presented before a judge and jury, and your lawyer’s research will come in handy. Your lawyer will present evidence, prepare and call witnesses for testimony, and possibly even call in expert witnesses to give their expert unbiased opinions to help your case if necessary.
Once the trial is over, you will be awarded compensation for the economic and non-economic damages you incurred if your case is successful. In some instances, if the dog owner’s actions were particularly reckless or intentional, you can also receive punitive damages, which are a form of financial punishment against the at-fault party.
Dog bite lawsuits are usually solved in a few months, depending on the complexity of your case, negotiations, and court availability. However, having a dog bite attorney by your side is crucial to ensure that you receive a proper settlement for your claim and defend against trespassing or other accusations that can weaken your case.