Dog Bite Lawyer Smithton, IL

Strong and Compassionate

Smithton, IL Dog Bite Lawyer

Dog Bite Lawyer in Smithton, IL. Dogs can be valued members of the family, near and dear companions, and a friend even when times are tough and no one else is there for you. However, every once in a while man’s best friend is not so friendly, and the base animal instincts of dogs can take over. If that ever happens to you or a loved one, a top Smithton, IL dog bite lawyer can be your best friend.

Attorney Amanda Hayden is an experienced Smithton, IL personal injury lawyer who puts her clients first in everything she does. She has a proven record of representing her dog bite clients with compassion as well as vigor. If you have been recently bit by a dog in Smithton, IL, suffered injuries, and are wanting to recover damages from that dog’s owner, call an experienced dog bite lawyer at (314) 480-3100, or fill out our online contact form.

What Should I Do After I’ve Been Bit By A Dog?

If you have recently been bit by a dog in Smithton, IL, you’re probably in a state of trauma and uncertain about what to do next, just like any other accident. And as in any other accident, there’s several steps you should immediately take after your accident has happened. Our Smithton, IL dog bite lawyer asks that you do the following if you’ve recently had a dog bite injury:

  • Take photos. Get out your camera or phone and start getting photographs of everything around you. If you can, take photos of the dog that bit you: even if the animal is running away from you and you can thus only get poor-quality photos, local authorities can still use these shots to identify a dog. If the owner of the dog is also there, get pictures of them and their info as well. Ask them to give you info about the dog’s veterinarian, tag, and their personal homeowners’ or renter’s insurance. You should also take pictures of your immediate surroundings like street signs, cars parked nearby, and house numbers–animal control needs to tell people living nearby about the danger of a unleashed dog.
  • Call 911. Animal Control in your local area will need to be contacted to begin their work after a dog has bit a human. In addition, you should chat with the Smithton police: not only should you obtain a report for your insurance records, but the police and other Smithton, IL authorities also keep records of dogs who have bit other people before. If it turns out that you are not the first person that dog has bit, their owner may be facing criminal charges.
  • Get medical help. Regardless of the size of your injuries, we suggest calling a doctor or visiting an emergency room or urgent care center as soon as you can. Dog bites can easily lead to infection, so speedy treatment is important.
  • Call your insurance company. Dog bites are most always covered as part of a homeowners’ or renter’s insurance policy, as they are viewed as “personal property”. Call them as soon as you can to file a claim so they can assist you with medical bills and other costs. You should also get, if possible, the dog owner’s insurance information.

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Dog Bite Laws In Missouri and Illinois

Since the year 2009, Missouri and Illinois have both used the same legal principle in regard to dog bites. Prior to 2009, dog bite law in Missouri operated under what is commonly called the “one bite” rule. What this meant was that dog owners could not be held liable if their dog had never previously bitten another human being–thus giving Missouri dog owners a free bite before they could be held liable for negligence.

However, in 2009 Missouri Revised Statute 237.036 was passed, which completely altered how Missouri law viewed dog bites. No longer could dog owners get a free pass for the first time their pet bit a human being. Instead, Missouri joined Illinois and 29 other states (plus the District of Columbia) in adopting the strict liability standard for dog bite injuries.

Under strict liability, dog owners are now responsible for the actions of their pets at all times. If a dog bites someone, without warning, whether on public property or private property they are lawfully allowed to be on, their owner can be sued for any and all damages. On top of that, Missouri law mandates dog owners to pay a fine to the state of no more than $1,000, as well as any civil damages they are assessed. Illinois’ law regarding dog bites is called the Animal Control Act, or 510 Illinois Compiled Statutes 5/. It is much more far-reaching than Missouri’s dog bite statute as it also includes guidelines about what happens to dogs after they bite another human, a part of the law that in Missouri is delegated to county or city-level governments. Most crucially, it does mention that dog owners in Illinois are “liable in civil damages to such person [that their dog bit] for the full amount of injury caused”.

What Happens To A Dog That’s Bit Someone?

Both Missouri and Illinois have largely the same procedures they follow after a dog bites a human being. The primary difference is that Illinois’ dog bite mandates are part of the state Animal Control Act, while Missouri’s procedures are determined by each county or city. While this allows for some variation in other matters relating to dogs (for example, some towns in Missouri specifically ban certain dog breeds like pit bulls), for the most part the protocol following a dog bite is identical.

Following the report of a dog bite, Smithton, IL animal control will take the dog into custody for ten days. The dog will be taken to a central location such as an animal shelter or a veterinarian’s office. They will then be watched for that time and inspected for diseases, most notably rabies. Before they are permitted to leave the facility, a tracking microchip is inserted into the dog, and if their owner has not done so already the animal is spayed or neutered. If authorities have viewed the dog to be safe, they can be sent back into the care of their owner, but not before they pay for all costs related to the care and feeding of the dog during its time under observation.

Once a dog is back in the custody of its owner, it is also enrolled into a statewide database of “dangerous” (in Missouri) or “vicious” (in Illinois) dogs. Smithton, IL owners of dogs placed in these categories must keep them in secure pens or kennels, and when out in public they must keep them on a short leash and muzzled. If a dangerous or vicious dog bites another person a second time, they are placed back under observation. However, this time owners must file an appeal and show that they can maintain safe ownership of their pet: if not, it will be euthanized.

How Much Can I Get For My Smithton, IL Dog Bite Lawsuit?

Dog bite injuries can differ in their impact, but one thing is undoubtable: they are no joke. Dogs have strong jaws (studies have found that on average, a dog’s bite exerts 320 psi of force, more than double a human’s bite) and sharp teeth, both legacies of their predator ancestors. While, for instance, being bit by a chihuahua will not cause as many injuries as being bit by a German shepherd, the most common injuries our Smithton, IL dog bite lawyer sees include:

  • Surface-level cuts and bruises
  • Lacerations and puncture wounds
  • Infections from canine saliva
  • Tetanus
  • Broken or cracked bones
  • Avulsion injuries (when skin or body parts are torn off)
  • Rabies
  • Nerve damage
  • Emotional trauma
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

A top Smithton, IL dog bite lawyer can assist you in recovering funds for all of your medical expenses and more. In addition to standard hospital or doctor’s bills, you can get money for any prescription medications, necessary rehab or physical therapy, and any psychiatric counseling required. If the Smithton dog that bit you also damaged your property–for instance, if you were bit and the force of his bite tore an expensive article of clothing–a Smithton, IL dog bite lawyer can get you money to replace that, as well as damages for the pain and suffering the debacle of being bit by a dog caused you.

Studies have shown that the overwhelming majority of dog bite lawsuits never go to trial. Insurance companies do not want to run the risk of having to potentially pay a large jury award, while plaintiffs like settlements as they avoid drawn-out court cases and get them money in their bank account as soon as possible. Data from the Insurance Information Institute revealed that the average dog bite lawsuit settlement in Missouri is about $47,400, while in Illinois the average is slightly higher at $48,100.



Contact A Smithton, IL Dog Bite Lawyer Who Fights For Her Clients

Lawyer Amanda Hayden knows that being bit by a dog is an experience no one should have to go through. She takes the time to get to know all her clients and reassure them that they don’t have to go through the legal process alone. In addition, she brings a unique blend of both business and legal knowledge into the courtroom, which means that she knows how insurance companies operate and thus is a dog bite lawyer who fights for your maximum compensation.

If you or a loved one has recently been bit by a dog in Smithton, IL, do not wait to contact an experienced dog bite lawyer. Call Amanda Hayden today at [clickable-number] or contact her online to set up a free, no-obligation consultation.

Dog Bite Lawyer