What if my dog bites someone?

If your dog bites someone, there are many things that can happen, depending upon the extent of damages, and the specifics of the case. On the civil side, the dog owner is likely to be sued in civil court for damages and personal injury stemming from the attack. Damages can also include another animal that has been attacked.

Anna Morrison-Ricordati practices civil litigation and animal law in Chicago, Illinois.

Handling all aspects of dispute resolution, Anna has represented individual and business clients in mediations, arbitrations, jury and bench trials, equitable remedies, and appeals.

She is a past Chair of the Illinois State Bar Association’s Animal Law Section Council (2010-2011), past Chair of the Chicago Bar Association’s Animal Law Committee (2012-2013), and Chair of the DuPage County Bar Association’s Animal Law Section (2014-2015)

In this CLE class clip, Anna discusses what happens if your dog bites someone.

Watch the Full Dog Law CLE Class

A dog owner can face civil liabilities if their dog bites, or attacks someone. Though under common law, in order to be held liable for your dog biting someone, it must be proven that you did not have previous knowledge of your dog’s propensity to bite. Meaning, you were unaware that your dog would bite and it has never bitten any person, or animal before.

This comes under the one bite rule. Under the one bite rule, you’re allowed one bite event where you will not be held liable. The courts consider any further incidents to be your liability, because you were aware your dog would bite, and you did not take proper precautions to avoid another incident.

On the criminal side, charges can be filed on a dog owner, if a dog has been treated poorly and becomes overly aggressive due to that mistreatment, then attacks or kills someone. Penalties for these types of offenses range anywhere from euthanasia in extreme cases, to banishment, muzzling, fencing, and getting extra liability insurance.

To find out more on what happens when your dog bites someone, check out the full CLE class video presented by Anna Morrison-Ricordati.