At Studinski Law, LLC, we understand dog bites are often far from minor. Dog bites can cause significant injuries that lead to nerve damage, disabilities, scaring, and other disfigurements. Since dog bites usually break the skin, the wounds come into contact with the animal’s saliva and have a high risk of infection. The trauma of such an attack can also create anxiety and life-long phobias. In some situations, your emotional injuries may be equal to or greater than the physical consequences of the attack.
If you are suffering after an animal attack, you deserve to work with a serious injury attorney who thoroughly understands the physical, psychological, and financial ramifications of this type of incident and how Wisconsin law can work for you. Our Wisconsin dog bite and animal attack lawyers at Studinski Law, LLC believe you deserve aggressive and compassionate representation in fighting for compensation. Call us today at (715) 343-2850 to discuss how we can help you or a loved one recover.
Wisconsin Holds Owners Strictly Liable for Injuries
Under Wisconsin statutes, a dog’s owner can be held strictly liable for any damage, injury, or fatalities their pet causes. If you were hurt in an attack, you do not have to prove the dog’s owner did anything wrong. You are not required to provide evidence of negligence or intentional wrongdoing. The law states that since the individual owns the pet, they are responsible for its actions.
If you were bitten by a dog the owner is liable for the full cost of your injuries, including your:
- Medical expenses
- Wage loss
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of society and companionship
Additional Compensation for Animals With Violent Histories
In many dog attack cases, it is not the first time the dog bit someone. The owner may have already known that their pet could be aggressive or respond violently toward others without provocation. If you were injured by a dog who had previously hurt another person or animal enough to break the skin or leave permanent scaring or disfigurement without being provoked, and the owner knew of this, then you can seek twice the amount of damages. You still do not have to prove carelessness, recklessness, or willful action on the owner’s part. The owner remains strictly liable for their animal’s actions. Proving the owner knew of the dog’s violent history simply entitles you to double damages.
Animal Owners and Keepers Can be Held Responsible Based on Negligence
While Wisconsin holds animal owners strictly liable for their animal’s actions, you may also be entitled to file an action against an animal’s owner, keeper, or handler based on negligence. Under Wisconsin’s common law, an owner or keeper of any animal is required to use ordinary care in controlling that animal’s natural characteristics. Additionally, if the animal’s owner or keeper knew or reasonably should have known about a dog’s previous mischievous or vicious tendencies, then they can be held liable for not using ordinary care in controlling and restraining the dog.
The theory of negligence is often put forward during an animal attack case when a dog is not kept on a leash in public or fenced into a yard. This is particularly an issue when local ordinances require leashes or the dog’s owner knew it had bitten someone before.
If you were bitten by a dog, call our Wisconsin dog bite lawyers immediately. We will review the circumstances of the attack to determine which theory of liability to pursue compensation under.
Issues That Could Limit Your Recovery
While animal owners are responsible for injuries their pets cause, there are ways in which your recovery could be reduced or prohibited. Wisconsin’s law regarding contributory negligence applies to dog bite cases. If you were partially responsible for the animal attacking you, such as if you provoked the dog in some way, then your financial recovery can be reduced by your proportion of fault. For example, if you are found 30 percent at fault for the attack and your injuries, then your final damage award will be reduced by 30 percent. However, if you are deemed to be 51 percent or more responsible for your injuries, then you are barred from recovering compensation.
The owner of the animal may also not be liable for your injuries if you intentionally released a confined animal. When a dog or other animal is lawfully confined for companionship, educational purposes, exhibition, or protection of other people, then your willfully releasing it without consent from its owner is a misdemeanor crime. If you were injured by an animal after letting it out of its secured space, then you should speak with a dog bite lawyer right away to determine whether you have the right to pursue compensation.
How Our Wisconsin Dog Bite Lawyers Can Help
After being injured by a dog or another animal, you should contact an attorney right away. Though the law holds owners strictly liable, you still must gather evidence to prove your case. You will need evidence of:
- The attack, such as witnesses, photos, or video
- Proof the named defendant is the animal’s owner
- Your economic injuries, including all of your medical expenses
- Your non-economic injuries like pain and suffering
If you learn the animal attacked someone before or that the person in charge of the animal at the time of the attack was not the owner, then call us right away. If a keeper or handler was in charge of the animal at the time, you will need to consider bringing a negligence claim against them instead of or in addition to a strict liability claim against the owner. If the animal was previously violent, you will need to gather evidence of this to win double damages.
Contact us today at (715) 343-2850 for more information on seeking compensation after a dog bite.