Is Accidentally Stepping on Dog's Tail by a Child Considered ''Provocation'' ?

In Nelson v. Lewis, 36 Ill. App. 3d 130, 131, 344 N.E.2d 268, 270 (1976), the court defined provocation as "an act or process of provoking, stimulation, or incitement." In Nelson, the 2 1/2-year-old plaintiff accidentally stepped or fell on the tail of a dog that was chewing a bone. the dog reacted by scratching the plaintiff's eye. This court held that the case did not involve a vicious attack that was out of proportion to the unintentional acts involved and that provocation existed. The Nelson court concluded that an unintentional act can constitute provocation within the plain meaning of the statute. 36 Ill. App. 3d at 131, 344 N.E.2d at 270-71.