Whenever a dog bites someone, it’s reasonable to assume the owner or handler is liable. In rare circumstances, though, the victim might shoulder some of the blame. If you were bitten by a dog and think you could be found partially responsible, it’s wise to call a personal injury attorney to determine how best to proceed. In the meantime, here’s what you should know about how your own portion of fault could affect the proceedings.
When Might a Dog Bite Victim Be Considered Partially Liable?
There are a few situations in which a dog bite victim could be found at fault for the attack. For example, if you were trespassing at the time of the incident, the court may not be inclined to order a verdict in your favor. Likewise, antagonizing a dog or ignoring the handler’s warnings to keep your distance could also end with an accident for which you are deemed liable.
How Might Partial Liability Affect the Outcome of a Claim?
If you are found partially liable for a dog bite, the impact it will have on the case will depend on that state’s negligence laws. If the state follows a pure comparative negligence system, the payout will be reduced by your percentage of fault. In states with modified comparative negligence laws, the final payout is also reduced, but only for claimants who are found less than 50% liable. Otherwise, they are ineligible for compensation. And in states with a contributory negligence system, injured parties are barred from recovering anything at all if they are deemed even 1% responsible for their injuries.
If you want to file a dog bite claim in Wisconsin, the case will be subject to modified comparative fault laws. That means your final payout will be reduced by your own percentage of fault—as long as you are less than 51% liable. If you think the opposing party will try to shift some blame, a personal injury attorney can help you gather the evidence needed to challenge their case.
Filing a successful dog bite claim is difficult, especially if you were partially liable for the incident. Fortunately, a seasoned personal injury attorney can help you navigate every stage of the proceedings. To discuss your case with a strategic lawyer, get in touch with Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Associates, LLC in La Crosse, WI. Our knowledgeable team has more than a century of combined experience helping clients recover what is rightfully theirs. Representing those in both Wisconsin and Minnesota, we fight tirelessly on behalf of the injured and disabled. To browse some of the verdicts and settlements our personal injury attorneys have secured, visit our website. To schedule your free consultation, call (877) 784-1230.