People who get attacked by an animal are often able to recover damages in court from the party responsible for their injury. Animal attacks are common since millions of families have pets and other animals that are under their care. Although an animal’s owner does not usually intend to cause harm, courts can hold the owner responsible because attacks should not happen when animals are kept under control. If you have been attacked by an animal, you should take the time to understand your rights to obtain compensation.
When Animal Owners Are Liable
As with all legal matters, your rights to pursue a lawsuit depend on the jurisdiction where the attack took place. Under Illinois law, you do not actually have to be attacked by an animal to receive damages. You only need to demonstrate that an animal attempted to attack you. In most cases, however, people who want to sue someone over an animal attack have usually experienced actual harm. You may need to recover your medical costs after staying in a hospital and taking time off from work.
You have the right to compensation when the animal that attacked you was under the care of another person. On the other hand, if the animal that attacked you was a wild animal, you are not ordinarily able to pursue a lawsuit. For instance, people often want to sue parks when they are attacked by a wild animal in nature. You are not always entitled to press a lawsuit after being attacked by a wild animal, but you should have an attorney evaluate your situation to determine whether another party could be held liable.
Damages That You Can Recover
Illinois law enables you to recover all of the costs that you incurred in the aftermath of an attack. You can sue for the costs of hospitalization, medical treatment, and medications that you were prescribed. If you will need additional care in the future, you can also recover the projected costs associated with your long-term treatment plan. You can even obtain compensation for psychological counseling services that you needed to help cope with the trauma associated with your injury. You may even be able to obtain punitive damages if the actions of the responsible party took place on account of gross negligence.
First Steps to Take After an Attack
When you are attacked by an animal, it is important to take the right actions in the immediate aftermath of the assault to protect your rights to compensation. If you have a smartphone with you at the time of the attack, you should try to take pictures to document the scene. People who know they are responsible for an injury will often try to take actions to cover up their responsibility, and documenting attempts to conceal evidence can enable you to obtain additional compensation. If the responsible party is cooperative, make sure that you obtain their address, name, and phone number. You should also contact a law enforcement agency so that police officers can file reports that will verify your account of what happened.
How an Attorney Can Help
Obtaining compensation without the assistance of a professional attorney is usually infeasible. With an attorney, however, you can find opportunities to prove that the other party was responsible for your injury. Attorneys are required to have a thorough understanding of the law, and they often have experience dealing with similar cases. The knowledge and experience of an attorney can help you to determine the best course of action and to increase the chances of your lawsuit succeeding in court. Make sure that you contact an attorney after being attacked by an animal to take advantage of your full rights to compensation.