Dog Bites – Illinois Law

Illinois statute holds the “owner” of an “animal” liable for attacks or injuries to people.

Illinois is a strict liability state. It is important to understand the definitions of “owner” and “animal” as defined by the Illinois Statute and how the Illinois Statue applies to dog bites.


An “owner” as defined by Illinois statute is any person who:

  • Owns an animal, or
  • Keeps an animal, or
  • Harbors an animal, or
  • Has an animal in his or her care, or
  • Acts as custodian to an animal, or
  • Knowingly permits a dog to remain on his or her premises

(510 ILCS 5/2.16)


An “animal” as defined by Illinois statue is “every living creature, other than man, which may be affected by rabies.”

(510 ILCS 5/2.02)


The relevant part of the Illinois statute applying to dog bites reads:

Animal attacks or injuries. If a dog or other animal, without provocation, attacks, attempts to attack, or injures any person who is peaceably conducting himself or herself in any place where he or she may lawfully be, the owner of such dog or other animal is liable in civil damages to such person for the full amount of the injury proximately caused thereby.

(510 ILCS 5/16) 

The victim of a dog bite is usually compensated through the dog owner’s homeowners or renters insurance. Remember the definition of “owner” as outlined by the Illinois Statute.

If you are the “owner” of a dog or “animal” as defined by the Illinois Statute, review your homeowners or renters insurance policy to make sure you are covered against attacks and injuries caused by that dog or “animal.” If you are not sure you are covered, call your insurance agent.

Dog Bites – Illinois Law

If you are the victim of a dog bite or animal attack/injury, call us today for a free consultation at 312-888-6058

We know Illinois Dog Bite Law.

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