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Be Careful of Out of State Law Firms; They May Not Know Illinois Law

Be Careful of Out of State Law Firms; They May Not Know Illinois Law

We recently were hired by a family whose 8 year old daughter was attacked and mauled by a dog.  She was at a party with her family at a friend’s house, and was merely petting that family’s dog.  Out of nowhere, without any provocation whatsoever, the dog lunged at the little girl’s face, severely mauling her.   The dog bit her several times on the face, above her right eye, between her right eye and nose (biting all the way into her sinuses), through her left cheek, and actually bit off part of her nose.
As the little girl’s mother searched for competent legal help, one of the firms she called to interview was an out of state law firm that spends hundreds of thousands of dollars per year on advertising in Illinois.   That firm sent an “investigator” over to their house for a free consultation.  This investigator was not a lawyer, and may have been highly knowledgeable the law of her home state, but she sure didn’t know Illinois law.
This investigator told the family to pursue legal action against the owner of the property, not the renters (who had renters’ insurance).    That may be a great idea under her state’s law, but it doesn’t work under Illinois law.   In Illinois, the landlord is generally not responsible for actions of its tenants’ dog.  There may be situations where a landlord would be responsible, but certainly not under the facts of this case.
Whether or not the owners or harborers of a dog have insurance is very important.  Many people, and presumably most renters, do not have assets that could be used to satisfy a judgement against them.   Therefore, the existence of insurance could mean the difference between getting a settlement or having your verdict satisfied or not.  In this case, the owners of the dog who rented the property did the responsible thing and bought insurance.  We will be able to recovery full and fair compensation for this little girl.  Had her parents listened to that other firm’s “investigator”, they may have been unable to recover anything.
Be careful who you turn to for representation.  You need a law firm on your side that knows the law in the state where the incident occurred.  MacCloskeyKesler & Associates has represented thousands of people in Illinois, and is knowledgeable in all areas of Illinois injury law.   Put our knowledge and experience to work for you.

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