Can I sue if my child was bitten by a dog?
Under the Animal Control Act, the victim of a dog bite can sue and successfully collect from a person who owns or keeps a dog, provided that the victim did not do something to provoke the bite. “Provoked” means any act, whether intentional or not, which would reasonably be expected to cause a dog to bite. If the owner or keeper can prove provocation, it can bar this type of claim. Separately, under common law, one can sue a person who owns or keeps a dog for negligence, provided that the owner or keeper knew or should have known that the dog had bitten another on a prior occasion.
Under this theory, the owner or keeper can defend the claim by proving that the victim was contributorily negligent in his or her conduct, which can serve to bar or reduce the damages in this type of claim.