Dog Bite Case Defenses: Trespassing and Provocation

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A dog barking angrily at a person If you are facing a personal injury lawsuit for an injury that your dog allegedly caused, you could defend yourself using certain allowable defenses. In Illinois, the most commonly used defenses against dog bite claims include trespassing and provocation.

Trespassing as a Defense in Dog Bite Claims

According to the Illinois Compiled Statutes, you might be only held responsible for your dog’s actions if the complainant was in a location they had a lawful or legal right to be. If the complainant was trespassing, however, the law doesn’t apply.

For instance, if the complainant climbs over the fence and is bitten by your dog, which is on your property, you could not be held liable. A rational person wouldn’t have mounted the fence in the first place since that’s technically trespassing.

Provocation as a Defense in Dog Bite Claims

Illinois Complied Statutes state that a complainant might be able to recover damages if the complainant was behaving peaceably or agreeably when the injury occurred. They should not be in any way provoking the dog. Personal injury attorneys in Springfield, Illinois also noted that the court could take into the account the circumstances of the events, which led to the dog being provoked in the dog’s point of view.

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For example, while the complainant is handling or trying to touch a puppy and didn’t think that the puppy’s mommy would be provoked, the court might be inclined to think that the mother dog believed the complainant’s actions were a threat. Another example would be if the complainant acts menacingly or makes threatening gestures towards the dog, this might negate the liability of the dog owner.

If you’re facing a dog bite claim in Illinois, use the defenses trespassing and provocation to defend your case. With the provocation defense, a complainant found to provoke the dog into attacking could be held liable and they won’t be able to recover damages from the dog’s owner. With the trespassing defense, the complainant could be held liable for the injury if they were found to be trespassing. Talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer to see which defense best applies to your case.