Expert Wisconsin Animal
Bites & Attacks
Never a Fee Unless We Win Your Case!
For millions of people in Wisconsin, dogs and other pets are part of the family. They take them on vacations and spend thousands of dollars each year on grooming and medical care. Unfortunately, other peoples’ pets can attack without warning, and when they do, people end up in the emergency room with painful injuries.
At Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Butler, LLC, we represent animal bite and attack victims as they seek compensation and justice. Wisconsin residents are fortunate that powerful laws are at their disposal to help them seek damages from an animal owner. These are significant injuries, and you deserve compensation when an animal bites or attacks you. After seeking medical care, please call our law firm to schedule a consultation with a Wisconsin attorney experienced in animal bite and attack cases.
Animal Injuries Are Serious
Any injury could have potentially devastating consequences. Animals can cause:
- Puncture wounds
- Poisoning (bitten by snake or spider)
- Soft tissue damage
Some animals will knock a person over. For example, a large dog might jump on your chest, sending you falling. These accidents can lead to neck injuries, concussions, and back injuries.
We highly recommend getting to the hospital soon after the injury. A doctor should look at the wound because the risk of infection is remarkably high. Dogs and cats have many germs in their saliva and on their nails which must be treated.
Understanding Wisconsin Dog Bite Laws: Your Guide to Liability and Compensation
Dog bites can be a traumatic experience, and understanding the laws surrounding them is crucial for both dog owners and victims alike. In Wisconsin, the legal landscape concerning dog bite incidents is governed by strict liability statutes, which hold dog owners responsible for any injuries caused by their pets. This blog post will guide you through the ins and outs of Wisconsin dog bite laws, from the scope of strict liability to identifying liable parties, compensation options, and reporting procedures. By becoming familiar with these laws, you can better protect yourself, your loved ones, and your furry friends. Our experienced attorneys can help determine liability and coverage in dog bite cases. We will work hard to get you fair compensation.
Navigating Wisconsin’s Strict Liability Statute for Dog Bites
In Wisconsin, dog owners are held strictly liable for any damages incurred as a result of a bite or attack by their dog on another person, domestic animal, or property. This means that the dog owner is legally responsible for the injuries caused by their pet, even if the owner was not negligent or the dog had no prior history of aggressive behavior. Dog bite victims can bring a lawsuit under Section 174.02 of the Wisconsin Statutes for a dog bite, attack, or injury. You have rights under Wisconsin law. These laws make an owner strictly liable for all injuries caused by the dog, and thus you can seek compensation.
We will analyze the range of strict liability, repercussions for repeat offenses, and certain situational exceptions.
The Scope of Strict Liability
The scope of strict liability in Wisconsin encompasses injuries to people, domestic animals, and property damage caused by dogs, even if the dog previously injured someone or something. This means that dog owners, as well as “keepers” and “harborers” of the dog, can be held liable for damages caused by their pets.
Strict liability extends beyond physical injuries, including permanent physical scarring and emotional distress like anxiety, fear, and post-traumatic stress disorder that result from a dog attack.
Double Damages for Repeat Offenses
Wisconsin law imposes double damages on dog owners for any subsequent incidents involving their pets. This means that if a dog owner’s pet has previously caused harm or damage to another person, domestic animal, or property, the owner may face increased fines and penalties for any additional incidents involving their pets.
This acts as a motivator for dog owners to exercise extra care, safeguarding others in proximity to their pets.
Exceptions to the Rule
While strict liability generally holds dog owners responsible for any injuries caused by their pets, there are certain exceptions that may apply. For example, if the victim was trespassing on the dog owner’s property or intentionally provoked the dog, the owner may not be held liable for the injuries sustained. In such cases, the burden of proof lies with the owner to demonstrate that the victim was trespassing or provoking the dog.
Identifying Liable Parties in Wisconsin Dog Bite Incidents
Establishing liability in dog bite scenarios may involve parties other than the dog owner, if they were in control or care of the pet during the incident. This may include dog sitters, landlords, and property owners. It is essential to understand how Wisconsin law assigns responsibility in such cases, as well as how contributory negligence may affect the compensation awarded to the victim.
Beyond the Owner: Other Potentially Liable Parties
Apart from the dog owner, other potentially liable parties in dog bite cases may include dog walkers, kennels, and parents of dog owners under the age of 18. Individuals or entities that temporarily possess or care for a dog, such as dog walkers and kennels, may be held responsible for injuries caused by the dog while under their care.
Parents of minor dog owners may also be held liable for injuries caused by their child’s pet.
Understanding Contributory Negligence
Under Wisconsin’s contributory negligence rule, a dog bite victim may be found partially responsible for the attack if their actions contributed to the incident. In such cases, the compensation awarded to the victim may be reduced according to the percentage of liability attributed to them.
This highlights the need to comprehend the circumstances of a dog bite case and the possible effects of contributory negligence on the victim’s compensation recovery.
What Compensation Can Dog Bite Victims Seek?
Dog bite victims in Wisconsin have the right to seek compensation for their injuries. The types of damages that may be awarded include medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress.
For a clearer understanding of the compensation alternatives for dog bite victims, we will examine the possible damages in greater detail.
Medical and Rehabilitation Costs
Compensation for medical and rehabilitation costs may cover expenses such as:
- Emergency room treatment
The dog owner is held liable for these costs, which can be substantial depending on the severity of the serious injury caused by the dog injuring sustained on the owner’s property.
Lost Wages and Earning Capacity
Victims may also be entitled to recover lost income and compensation for reduced earning capacity resulting from their injuries. This may include past, current, and future lost income, as well as potential income that the victim could have earned had they not been injured.
Emotional Distress and Quality of Life
In addition to medical expenses and lost wages, dog bite victims may also be awarded damages for:
- Emotional distress
- Impact on their quality of life
- Post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from the dog attack.
Reporting and Legal Steps After a Dog Bite in Wisconsin
The process of reporting a dog bite in Wisconsin encompasses several vital steps: reaching out to animal control, obtaining medical care, and seeking the advice of a dog bite lawyer. Adhering to these steps aids in proper documentation and investigation, aiding the pursuit of compensation for the victim.
Contacting Animal Control and Law Enforcement Agencies
After a dog bite incident, it is essential to take the following steps:
- Report the incident to your local law enforcement agency and animal control agencies.
- Ensure that proper documentation and investigation are conducted.
- This can help prevent future incidents involving the same dog.
When reporting a dog bite, be prepared to provide your personal details, a description of the injury, the dog owner’s information (if available), and the details of the attack.
Seeking Immediate Medical Care
Immediate medical care is of utmost importance for dog bite victims to avert infection and other health complications. Dog bites can result in serious injuries, including nerve and muscle damage, broken bones, and infections such as rabies and tetanus. A dog bite injury can have long-lasting effects on a person’s physical and emotional well-being.
Prompt medical attention can help mitigate the risk of these complications and improve the chances of a full recovery.
Consulting with our Wisconsin Dog Bite Lawyer
There are many steps you should take to strengthen your claim for an injury. You need to prove which animal injured you so you can pursue compensation from the correct owner. If you were injured by an animal other than a dog, you need to establish negligence.
At Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Butler, LLC, our Wisconsin dog bite injury attorneys can help with the following:
- Documenting your injuries
- Navigate the legal process, and provide expert guidance on available options
- Represent the victim in court if necessary.
- Collecting proof of out-of-pocket expenses like medical care and lost income
- Interviewing witnesses to outline what happened to cause the injury
- Identifying the correct animal that injured you.
- Negotiating with the animal owner or their insurance company to compensate you for your injuries.
- Pursue fair compensation for the victim
Seeking advice from our experienced dog bite lawyers can greatly aid in comprehending your rights and alternatives following a dog bite incident.
Preventative Measures and Responsible Ownership
Preventing dog bite incidents is a shared responsibility between dog owners and the community at large. Through responsible dog ownership and heightened community awareness, we can mitigate the risk of dog bite incidents, fostering a safer atmosphere for people and pets alike.
Educating Owners on Humane Treatment
Dog owners should be educated on proper care, training, and socialization to prevent aggressive behavior. This includes adhering to Wisconsin’s animal abuse and neglect laws, conducting regular health checks, and ensuring responsible breeding and care.
By providing care and training in a proper and humane manner, dog owners can help ensure the safety and well-being of both their pets and the community.
Community Awareness and Safety Tips
Community awareness and safety tips can help protect both people and pets from dog bite incidents. This includes:
- Raising awareness about responsible dog ownership
- Proper training and socialization
- Educating children on how to approach and interact with dogs safely.
By promoting community education and awareness, we can work together to prevent dog bites and create a safer environment for all.
Dangerous Dog Breeds
Any dog can injure a person. Because infection is a serious risk for any dog bite, even small animals can cause serious complications. Still, Some breeds are more dangerous than others. Unsurprisingly, large and aggressive dogs can cause the most serious injuries, including fractures or even fatal injuries.
The most dangerous breeds include:
- Pit bull terriers
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Dog breed
- Argentine Mastiffs
- Doberman Pinschers
No matter the breed, a dog bite is a significant injury and our attorneys at Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Butler, LLC can help you with Other Animal Bites & Attacks
Although dog bites make up most animal injuries, any animal could cause harm, including but not limited to:
There is no specific law that covers injuries involving animals other than dogs. An animal owner is liable for any injury which they could foresee. For example, a person who has loose animals could be responsible for the injuries sustained due to allowing their animals to not be contained.
With negligence, we need to know what steps the owner took to keep people and their animals safe.
Limitations on Your Compensation
Wisconsin applies comparative negligence to animal injuries—even dog attacks under the strict liability statute. Essentially, if you are partially responsible for the accident, then you could receive less compensation. For example, you might have:
- Teased or tormented the animal, such as throwing rocks at it or pulling its tail.
- Accidentally struck the animal, causing it to injure you.
- Failed to properly supervise your child, who ended up getting bitten when it confronted an animal.
- Ignored a “Do Not Pet” or “Dangerous Animal” sign.
If you took these or other steps, then your own negligence was a contributing factor in the attack. Under Wisconsin law, the amount of compensation you can receive is reduced proportionally by your share of fault. Someone who is 45% at fault will only receive 55% of their damages. Someone who is 50% at fault will receive only half their damages.
And if you are 51% or more at fault? In Wisconsin, you will receive nothing. Wisconsin bars any financial recovery when your own fault is greater than the defendant’s.
Most settlements are paid by a homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy. If a business owned the animal, then they should have a business liability policy. When no insurance is available, however, we will need to consider other options.
You should also avoid giving any type of statement to the owner’s insurer. One of their agents might call you at home. Some might even make a quick settlement offer, which is almost always too little. After an animal injury, avoid making statements or settling with the animal owner’s insurance company until you have contacted a personal injury attorney.
Call Our Wisconsin Animal Bites & Attacks Attorney for your Animal Injury Case
Animal injuries can be scary. People can suffer from terrifying nightmares after being bitten or injured. Even adults will often suffer from physical pain and emotional distress. You deserve compensation for your injuries.
Please call Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Butler, LLC today. Our legal team can meet with you to go over your legal rights and options, We will also assist with finding the necessary evidence to establish fault. Call us today. Our consultations are free, and we only charge a fee if you receive compensation.
Frequently Asked Questions for Animal & Dog Bite Cases
What happens if a dog bites someone in Wisconsin?
If a dog bites someone in Wisconsin, the dog owner is strictly liable for any damages resulting from the bite and may be required to pay double damages if they were aware of previous injuries caused by the dog. Additionally, the owner could face fines and other penalties.
Do doctors have to report dog bites in Wisconsin?
Doctors in Wisconsin are required to report dog bites to the state health department or animal control agency if a victim presents at their office or hospital.
Am I liable if my dog bites?
As a dog owner, you can be held liable for damages caused by a dog bite if the victim was lawfully on your property or if your state follows strict liability rules. You may also be found responsible if your pet has displayed previous signs of aggression or “viciousness”. In any case, an injured person may file an insurance claim or sue you to seek compensation for their harm and related costs.
What states have the one-bite rule?
Sixteen states, including Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming, have the one-bite rule.
What is Wisconsin’s strict liability statute for dog bites?
In Wisconsin, dog owners are held strictly liable for any injuries their pets may cause and may face increased penalties for repeat offenses. Certain exceptions may apply.
What should I do after an animal injury?
You can significantly help your case by taking sensible steps after an injury. We recommend the following.
First, seek medical attention and then document the injury as best as you can. Some additional things you can do include:
- Get a picture of the animal, if possible.
- Identify the animal’s owner.
- Talk with witnesses and get their names and phone numbers, These witnesses can help establish what happened.
- Take pictures of your wounds.
- Call animal control or the police to report the animal.
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ANIMAL BITES AND ATTACKS
ANIMAL BITES AND ATTACKS