Illinois Cat Bite Lawyers
Injuries caused by a cat biting or scratching may seem relatively insignificant at first blush, but it is important to recognize that these injuries may, at times, be very serious. The Illinois Legislature has taken action to protect victims of feline attacks. The Illinois Animal Control Act essentially states that if you are a guest in someone else’s home and their cat bites, scratches, or otherwise injures you while you are conducting yourself in a peaceable manner, you may recover full damages for your injuries from the cat’s owner.
The Illinois General Assembly passed this law in order to protect the general public and encourage tight control over animals by their owners. If you are the unfortunate victim of a cat-related injury then you are not required to prove that the owner of the cat was negligent in any way-the injury itself is enough. The one caveat in this law is that you cannot provoke a cat to attack you and then collect damages.
In order to collect damages for an injury caused by a cat under the Illinois Animal Control Act, a victim must prove four factors:
(1) That the cat was, in fact, owned by the person who is being sued; (2) That the cat was not provoked to attack; (3) Following closely with the previous point, that the victim was acting in a peaceable manner; (4) That the victim had a right to be in the place that the injury occurred.
In order to illustrate these factors, consider a common scenario involving a visiting social guest. An old friend invites you over to her house to catch up on old times. While your friend is preparing drinks in the kitchen, you sit down on her couch and one of her cats immediately runs to your feet and looks up expectantly. You are amused when the cat jumps up on the couch next to you and proceeds to settle down in your lap to be petted. While your friend is still in the kitchen, you begin to stroke the cat’s head when, without warning, the cat suddenly bites your hand and digs its claws into your leg before running into the next room.
In this scenario, you were an invited guest in your friend’s home when a cat owned by her injured you while you were conducting yourself in a peaceable manner, thus satisfying all four prongs of the Illinois Animal Control Act. You would be entitled to full damages from your friend, despite the fact that she was nowhere near the injury when it occurred and regardless of whether or not the cat had caused injury in the past or whether it had displayed violent tendencies.
Cat bites can lead to major problems like nerve damage, tendon damage, serious infections, bone structure loss, puncture wounds or abscesses that can be life threatening. The number one thing to do if you are bitten or scratched by a cat is to get medical treatment. This is true even if you don’t think that the problem is serious. It’s possible that a life threatening infection or abscess can be cured upon prompt medical care.
After you have seen a doctor if it’s determined that you do in fact have an injury then you should consider hiring a lawyer. If you would like our help in finding the right attorney for your situation, please do not hesitate to contact us. All calls are free and every cat bite attorney we recommend works on a contingency basis which means that there is no fee unless your case is successful.