Some parts of Illinois dog bite law are pretty straight forward. If you are minding your own business and a dog attacks you causing an injury, usually their owner or handler will be liable. Those cases typically come down to whether or not there is insurance or other money that can pay your damages. Not all cases involving dogs and injuries are that straight forward.
Imagine playing with your child in your back yard when you hear your neighbors huge dog start to bark and aggressively come towards you. What do you do? Most people, just like Bijal Parkh, would run away. Unfortunately, when he ran he also slipped in his garage and shattered his knee. Is the injury caused by Mr. Parkh or did the dog chase cause the injury? Who is at fault?
According to the 1st District Appellate Court, the dog chase was not the proximate cause of his injuries. Meaning the dog didn’t trip Mr. Parkh or do anything else specifically to make him fall. In fact, in this case, Mr. Parkh ran so far so fast, he was unaware of how close the dog even was to him at the time of the fall.
When the case went to trial, both sides argued over what instructions to give the jury. Mr. Parkh wanted “injury” defined to the jury as “an aggressive violent action designed to inflict an injury” or a harmless action that “under a particular set of facts results in an injury” which would still hold the dog’s owners liable for his own fall. Mr. Parkh’s request was denied as the court instead ruled the rules did not need further defining.
A dog chase is usually not enough to hold a dog owner responsible, should something happen to you because of the chase. If the dog catches you and bites you or worse… that is a very different ending. Large dogs can be intimidating, especially when they are running right at you, or in this case, chasing you. If you stumble an hurt yourself and the dog backs off without actually attacking you, you may be on your own for the medical bills.
Final thought. Every case is different. So please don’t read this blog and assume you have no case. Call us at (800) 517-1614 any time to speak with a lawyer for free and get an analysis to see if you have a case.