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Recent Case Allows Plaintiff’s Case to Proceed in Dog Attack Case Without Evidence of Bite

Earlier this month, a Nebraska court heard a case brought by a woman who was injured when she stepped back to avoid an approaching dog that she thought was going to attack her. The court ultimately determined that the plaintiff’s case should be able to proceed towards trial, despite the fact that the dog did not bite her, since she alleged that her injuries were still the result of a dangerous dog.

Grammer v. Lucking: The Facts of the Case

The facts of the case are fairly straightforward. A woman and her husband approached a neighbor’s yard with two dogs present. One of the dogs was chained, and the other was not. As the couple approached, the dog ran toward them. The woman, fearing that the approaching dog would attack her, stepped backwards and lost her balance, falling to the ground and injuring her arm. The woman filed a lawsuit against the owner of the dogs.

The trial court dismissed the case against the defendant, claiming that under the relevant state statute, the evidence was insufficient to show that the injury was caused by the dog “chasing” the plaintiff. However, on appeal, the court reversed the decision, holding that the lower court’s definition of “chase” was too narrow, and the evidence presented was sufficient to show that the injuries were caused by the dog chasing the plaintiff.

Strict Liability in Illinois Dog Bite and Dog Attack Cases

In Illinois, injuries resulting from a dog attack are viewed in a strict liability context. This means that the injured party does not need to show that the dog owner was negligent in how they kept, trained, or raised the dog. The only thing an injured victim must show is that the dog at issue caused the injuries and that the named defendant had a sufficient relationship to the dog. Of course, showing that a defendant owns a dog will satisfy this requirement, but the statute allows recovery from non-owning parties as well. For example, “any person having a right of property in an animal, or who keeps or harbors an animal, or who has it in his care, or acts as its custodian, or who knowingly permits a dog to remain on any premises occupied by him or her” may be liable under Illinois law.

Have You Been Injured by an Aggressive Dog?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured after being bitten or otherwise attacked by an aggressive dog, you may be entitled to monetary compensation to help you recoup the costs associated with the dog attack. This may include amounts not just for the medical bills you incurred but also for any pain and suffering you endured as a result of the dog bite. It is also important to keep in mind that an injury may be the result of an attack, even if the dog never actually came into physical contact with you, as was the case in the situation discussed above. To learn more about Illinois dog bite cases, call the premises liability lawyers at Moll Law Group at 312-462-1700 to set up your free consultation.

See More Posts:

Common Carriers Must Take Reasonable Care or Face Liability, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, January 12, 2016.

Safer Technologies in Cars, But Not For Everyone, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, February 2, 2016.

Illinois Protects Police with Partial Immunity in Police Misconduct Cases, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, January 16, 2016.

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