Personal injury claims resulting from dog bites or other animal attack claims often revolve around the theory of negligence. However, proving negligence in your claim may take a bit of investigation if you’re to have a fighting chance at recovering a claim. 

Some people believe that simply proving you were harmed by an animal entitles you to damages, but that’s not necessarily so. There are many cases where pet owners in animal attacks, particularly dog bite claims, are found not to be liable for injuries. It all really comes down to the facts of your particular case. Oftentimes, when pet owners are found liable, it’s because negligence on their part was proven. 

(According to the Illinois State Bar, Illinois leads the pack in payouts for dog bite attacks, read why.)

So let’s take a look at some of the prevailing factors that often help prove negligence in these cases.

In successful negligence claims, four factors are often demonstrated to be present:

  1. That the animal or property owner maintained a duty of care to the victim to restrain their animal or otherwise prevent it from attacking them.
  2. That the pet owner failed to adhere to this duty of care
  3. That the injured party would not have suffered harm had the pet owner lived up to their duty of care AND that the attack caused the injuries in question
  4. That the injured party has real and compensable injuries

In some cases, it is helpful to establish that the pet owner knew that their pet had a history of animal attacks. If the pet has a demonstrable history of attacks, it’s easier to establish that the pet owner understood the risks involved in exposing the animal to others. In that case, they had a definable duty of care to those with whom they brought the animal into close contact. 

Further, if the pet owner, knowing the risks involved, allowed that pet to roam off-leash in a setting like a park or residential street, for instance, where the animal had free access to unsuspecting pedestrians, it’s safe to say a claim of negligence could be firmly established.

However, there are often many claims that aren’t as clear cut as that. Some dog attack cases, for instance, involve animals that were being handled by pet sitters or individuals other than the pet owner at the time of the attack. In some cases, it is unclear that the injured party had a right to be in the physical space where the animal attack took place, like a private residence or a space where it was reasonable for the pet owner to expect that only they and/or their agent(s) had access (like a private kennel or a backyard that has been fenced off. 

Proving negligence in these kinds of cases can be particularly difficult. Again, it all comes back to the specific facts of your case.

Personal injury attorneys like often have experience in uncovering those kinds of facts and evidence or proof of negligence in animal attack claims. Developing a strong claim when the facts are murky can be quite difficult, if not impossible, for plaintiffs themselves to accomplish. That’s why it’s often best to pursue you claim with the counsel of an experienced personal injury lawyer like those at Bizzieri Law Office in Chicago. We have the experience, the knowledge of Illinois personal injury law to fight for your right to damages and support as speedy a recovery as possible in your case. If you have questions about filing animal attack claim or another personal injury claim, call us today at 773.881.9000. There is no fee for the initial consultation and we will work hard to win your claim and get you the compensation you deserve.