|Wladyslaw "Walter" Bujak, courtesy|
The Chicago Tribune
A 68 year old male bicyclist has died of injuries he sustained after being knocked from his bike by unleashed dogs while riding on the North Branch Trail in Niles on September 27th. Wladyshlaw "Walter" Bujak, an avid cyclist, was riding on the trail near Old Orchard and Harms Roads when the animals, their leashes trialing behind them, jumped at him, knocking him over, according to CBS2 Chicago.
He suffered critical injuries and was knocked unconscious at the scene. The owners of the dogs allegedly ran over to the fallen man, untangled the dog leashes from his bicycle, then left the scene. Mr. Bujak died five days after the crash at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, according to CBS2 Chicago. Police are looking for the dog owners.
Aside from lacking basic decency for leaving the critically injured man behind, the dog owners, if found, may be liable for allowing their dogs to run free. Illinois' Animal Control Act requires dog owners to maintain control of their pets at all times and assigns liability if they do not and someone gets hurt. The Act states:
If a dog or other animal, without provocation, attacks, attempts to attack, or injures any person who is peaceably conducting himself or herself in any place where he or she may lawfully be, the owner of such dog or other animal is liable in civil damages to such person for the full amount of the injury proximately caused thereby.
510 ILCS 5/16
This section of the Act makes the dog owner strictly liable for injuries. That means that the owner's conduct need not be intentional nor even negligent for liability to attach. The bottom line is that if you let your dog run free and someone gets hurt as a result, you are responsible for compensating the victim.