April 7, 2022

How Long Do You Have To Report a Dog Bite?

You only have a limited amount of time to pursue compensation after a dog bite injury. If you fail to file your lawsuit in time, your case will be dismissed and you will miss your opportunity to recover damages. Because of this, it is crucial to know the deadline for filing your case, known as a statute of limitations.

At Studinski Law, LLC, our dog bite attorneys have decades of experience protecting the rights and best interests of the wrongfully injured in Wisconsin. Our entire legal team is dedicated to helping our clients pursue the best possible outcomes in their cases. Whether a successful outcome can be negotiated, or the matter must proceed to trial, we stand diligently with our clients at every step.

Dog Bite Statute of Limitations in Wisconsin

The statute of limitations for a dog bite injury in Wisconsin is typically three years from the date of the attack. This means that you generally have three years from the date you were bitten in which to file a lawsuit. However, you should not wait three years to speak with a dog bite attorney about pursuing justice for your injury.

There are exceptions to the three-year rule, most notably if a child was hurt. In the case of an injured child, the statute of limitations can be extended until two years after the dog bite victim’s 18th birthday.

An important thing to understand about the statute of limitations is that it applies to the time you have to file a claim. It does not set a deadline for when your claim must be resolved.

Lawsuits involving considerable damages can take years to proceed through the court system. Fortunately, as long as you file suit for a dog attack within the three-year deadline, you will still have the opportunity to recover compensation even if the case takes longer than three years for a settlement to be reached or a favorable judgment to be won in court.

While it may seem like a substantial amount of time, three years is not long for a seriously injured victim—or the victim’s family—to pursue compensation. If you or a loved one was hurt because of someone else’s dangerous canine, it is crucial to contact a dog bite attorney who can advise you of your legal options and get started on your case promptly.

Report a Dog Bite as Soon as Possible

It is important to report a dog bite promptly after an attack. You should contact the following as soon as you are physically able to do so:

Local Animal Control Agency 

When a dog attack is reported, animal control can verify whether the dog is up to date on rabies vaccinations. Be prepared to give your name, age, phone number, address, and a description of the injury you sustained. If you have the information, you should also give the dog owner’s name and address, and the details of the attack.


If you experienced substantial blood loss, had a body part severed, or lost feeling in any part of your body, you need immediate medical attention. If you do not know the rabies vaccine status of the dog, a rabies vaccine will be necessary as well.

The medical care you receive on the way to the hospital may make a tremendous difference in your health and recovery. 

A Doctor 

Dogs’ mouths are filled with harmful bacteria that can easily cause infections. Rabies, tetanus, and other diseases are also serious concerns. 

If you experience any of the following symptoms after a vicious dog attack, seek medical help right away:

  • Pain
  • Tenderness
  • Numbness
  • Fever
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Pus or yellow discharge
  • Warmth or redness

Not only is prompt medical treatment important for your health, but medical records are also critical elements of your dog bite case. The longer you wait to seek medical attention for your wounds, the more difficult it becomes to prove the severity of your injuries and how they are connected to your physical, emotional, and financial losses.

A Dog Bite Attorney

Wisconsin Statute Section 174.02(1) establishes strict liability for dog owners. This means that dog attack victims do not need to prove that the dog’s owner was negligent in order to recover damages. However, Wisconsin’s contributory negligence law applies to dog bite cases. So, if you were partially responsible for the animal attacking you, such as provoking the dog, then your financial recovery may be reduced by your proportion of fault. 

For example, if you are found 50 percent at fault for the attack and your injuries, then your final damage award will be reduced by half. However, if you are deemed to be 51 percent or more responsible for your injuries, then you are barred from recovering compensation.

This is all the more reason why it is so important to contact a dog bite lawyer immediately after suffering an attack. Although Wisconsin law holds owners strictly liable, you must still gather evidence to prove your case. You will need evidence of:

  • The attack, including photos, video, and witness statements
  • Proof that the named defendant is the owner of the dog
  • Your economic injuries, including all of your medical expenses
  • Your non-economic injuries, including pain and suffering

A dog bite attorney will help you gather this information, and fight on your behalf to protect your legal rights. Your lawyer will deal with the appropriate insurance companies and work to negotiate a fair settlement. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, a lawyer will make sure that your lawsuit is filed within the required time limit and present your case in court.

Call Our Wisconsin Dog Bite Attorney Today

Dog bite cases can be incredibly complicated. It is important to work with a reputable lawyer who is experienced in personal injury lawsuits. Studinski Law, LLC has earned a reputation for excellence in even the most complex cases.

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If you have been hurt or lost a loved one in an accident, call Studinski Law, LLC today at (715) 343-2850 for a free case review. We proudly serve Plover, Marshfield, and all other Wisconsin areas.

Jason Studinski Injury Attorney
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