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Illinois Leads the Pack in Dog-Bite Claims

People love their pets. However, sometimes things go wrong. In particular, dogs bite people, causing significant injuries.

In Illinois, and nationwide, dog-bite claims are on the rise. According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites and dog-related injuries accounted for more than one third of homeowner insurance liability claim dollars paid out in 2015 (http://bit.ly/21OVQJQ). In Illinois, this is due, in part, to the Animal Control Act (510 ILCS 5/1, et seq.).

In some jurisdictions, there is the "one free bite rule" - a dog owner may not be liable for damages caused by a dog bite if the dog has never bitten a person before. Not so in Illinois. The Act creates heightened liability for dog owners. It provides that if a dog or other animal attacks, attempts to attack, or injures a person without provocation, then the owner is liable for the full amount of any injuries sustained (510 ILCS 5/16.5). This heightened liability is designed to "encourage tight control of animals in order to protect the public from harm." Hayes v. Adams, 2013 IL App (2d) 120681, ¶ 12.

This heightened liability naturally leads to more dog-bite claims. According to State Farm, it paid out $14 million across 323 dog-related claims in Illinois in 2016 (http://bit.ly/2qweL3l). Illinois ranked second only to California on the company's Top 10 list for dog-bite claims.

Find out more, including what the "reasonable dog" standard is, in the June Illinois Bar Journal.

Posted on Jun 08, 2017 by Mark Mathewson | Comments (0)
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