A small child and a senior citizen were seriously injured in separate attacks by pit bulls. The severity of the injuries suffered emphasize how powerful these dogs are. In each of the incidents, the owners claimed that the dogs were well-behaved. If true, that also speaks to the aggressive and unpredictable nature of these animals.
In an attack in Georgia, a five year old boy suffered severe lacerations to his head, hands, face, and chest when he was mauled by a pit bull belonging to a neighbor. In a different incident in Michigan, an 85 year old woman suffered an open spiral fracture of her femur when she was attacked by a neighbor’s pit bull.
In Illinois, persons injured as a result of dog bites can recover compensation under the Illinois Animal Control Act (sometimes referred to as “the dog bite statute”) and under common law negligence.
To prove a case under the Animal Control Act, the case must be brought against the owner or harborer of the animal and the victim must prove that he was injured as a result of an animal attack which happened in a place where he had a legal right to be and that he was acting peaceably and not provoking the dog.
To prove a negligence case, the victim must show that the owner had notice of the dangerous propensities of the dog and then failed to take reasonable measures to control the dog. Usually this requires evidence of prior attacks by the animal, but it can also be shown by aggressive behavior by the dog on other instances before the attack.