Milwaukee Dog Bite Attorney
No one ever expects to suddenly be attacked by a dog. However, when a dog’s owner loses control of their animal, these pets can cause devastating injuries. Dogs, like many animals, are unpredictable. No matter how well behaved a dog may be, they also pose a serious risk when they become afraid or are provoked into acting aggressively.
Because dog bite injuries can cause serious scarring and disfigurement, Wisconsin law imposes what is referred to as “strict liability” upon owners for injuries caused by their dogs. Liability can also be extended to “keepers” or “harborers” of a dog. If the attack occurred on someone else’s property, you may have a premises liability case.
If you or a loved one have been hurt by someone else’s dog, it is likely that you have a legitimate claim for compensation. At Mingo & Yankala, S.C., our experienced Milwaukee dog bite lawyer knows how to approach these cases and what can be done to ensure that a compelling claim for compensation is put forth on your behalf. Contact our offices at (414) 273-7400 today for a free and confidential case evaluation with our Milwaukee injury lawyer.
Wisconsin Dog Bite Laws
In Wisconsin, dog owners are liable for the injuries that their pets cause, regardless of with or without prior notice. This is in contrast to other states that may allow the dog to have previously bitten once before, before holding the dog’s owner accountable.
Additionally, since Wisconsin recognizes the dangers associated with certain dogs and the responsibility which all dog owners have to control their pets, there is a unique statute in this State which may allow the victim of a dog bite injury to recover DOUBLE the amount of their damages. We will investigate your dog bite case to determine if you qualify for a settlement or award of DOUBLE the amount of your damages.
WI Stat § 174.02
Owner’s liability for damage caused by dog; penalties;
(1) Liability for injury.
- (a) Without notice. Subject to s. 895.045 and except as provided in s. 895.57 (4), the owner of a dog is liable for the full amount of damages caused by the dog injuring or causing injury to a person, domestic animal or property.
- (b) After notice. Subject to s. 895.045 and except as provided in s. 895.57 (4), the owner of a dog is liable for 2 times the full amount of damages caused by the dog biting a person with sufficient force to break the skin and cause permanent physical scarring or disfigurement if the owner was notified or knew that the dog had previously, without provocation, bitten a person with sufficient force to break the skin and cause permanent physical scarring or disfigurement.
(2) Penalties imposed on owner of dog causing damage.
- (a) Without notice. The owner of a dog shall forfeit not less than $50 nor more than $2,500 if the dog injures or causes injury to a person, domestic animal, property, deer, game birds or the nests or eggs of game birds.
- (b) After notice. The owner of a dog shall forfeit not less than $200 nor more than $5,000 if the dog injures or causes injury to a person, domestic animal, property, deer, game birds or the nests or eggs of game birds, and if the owner was notified or knew that the dog previously injured or caused injury to a person, domestic animal, property, deer, game birds or the nests or eggs of game birds.
- (c) Penalties in addition to liability for damages. The penalties in this subsection are in addition to any other liability imposed on the owner of a dog.
A dog bite injury is no different than any other type of personal injury, in that a victim is entitled to receive compensation if the injury was caused by another person’s negligence or bad acts. Dog owners in Wisconsin are held liable for the actions of their own dogs, and thus can be held liable for money damages in a dog bite lawsuit.
Typically, dog bite lawsuits are covered by a person’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy, as most of these policies contain specific coverage for legal expenses stemming from dog bite cases. The specific amount of coverage depends on the policy in question, but if an insurance policy doesn’t cover full compensation or if a dog owner does not have insurance, you can also seek compensation from the dog owner as an individual.
All in all, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you assess available routes for compensation to ensure that you are fully and fairly compensated for a dog bite injury.
Dog Breeds Commonly Linked to Bites
Dog bite injuries are traumatic and severe. In addition to emotional damages from being viciously attacked, dog attacks can result in disfigurement, permanent scarring, and severe damage to a person’s body causing extremely large medical bills.
Unfortunately, some dog breeds are more commonly linked to dog bite injuries. Some of these breeds have historically been bred for aggression, and even though used as pets today, may still contain genetic predispositions to attack. Those breeds include:
- American Pit Bull Terrier
- German Shepherd
However, any dog or breed of dog can attack under the wrong set of circumstances.
What To Do After a Dog Attack in Milwaukee
A dog attack is an emotionally jarring, traumatic experience that can cause devastating injuries (both mental and physical) to a victim. Here are some things you should do after experiencing a dog attack in Milwaukee.
Get somewhere safe and seek medical attention.
After a dog attack, you should first and foremost ensure your own safety. Get to a safe place, away from the dog that attacked you. From there, you should seek medical attention, no matter how severe your injuries may seem. Dog bite injuries are unique, in that there’s no way to know what type of diseases or pathogens a dog may be carrying. After being bitten, you need to be seen by a doctor to ensure that you haven’t been infected with anything by the dog.
Collect as much evidence as possible.
After seeking medical attention, you should collect as much evidence as possible. Take photos of your injuries, and make copies of any medical documentation you receive. If you are able to return to the scene of the attack, take photos of the area and surroundings. If you know the identity of the dog’s owner, record that person’s contact information, as well as information about the dog that attacked you. If witnesses were present, such as neighbors or bystanders, collect contact information for these people. Any and all evidence relating to the incident could prove to be immensely helpful in the future if you decide to file a lawsuit.
Report the attack and talk to a lawyer.
The City of Milwaukee has an online form available for reporting dog attacks in the city, and you should utilize that form as soon as possible after a dog attack occurs. Representatives from the City, including police officers, may reach out to you to file a report relating to the attack.
From there, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible, as Wisconsin has a three-year statute of limitations on dog bite cases that begins running as soon as the injury occurs. While three years sounds like plenty of time, you should waste no time at all in contacting an attorney to survey your options. The investigatory process behind filing a lawsuit can take time, and the clock is running.
Compensation for Victims of Dog Bites in Milwaukee
Dog bites can cause serious injuries and result in severe scarring, disfigurement, and even disability. In these cases, recovery may include extensive medical treatment including multiple surgeries, skin grafts, physical therapy and rehabilitation, and even prosthetics. Dog attacks can also cause serious mental and emotional damage, especially when the victim is a young child.
Fortunately, under the law, you have the right to be fully compensated for your suffering. Some damages you could recover in your dog bite claim include:
- Costs of mental health counseling
- Compensation for scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of consortium
- Diminished quality of life
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Lost wages and earning capacity
Contact a Milwaukee Dog Bite Attorney Today
At Mingo & Yankala, S.C., we have experience handling dog bite cases as well as a unique understanding of how insurance companies approach these and other serious injury cases. If you or a loved one have been injured by a dog, we invite you to contact us today. Our award-winning firm has recovered millions in relief for clients who have been hurt due to the actions and negligence than others. We’re ready to assess your options and, if necessary, take proactive steps toward recovering the relief you deserve.
Schedule your free, no-obligation consultation when you complete our online contact form or call our office at 414-273-7400.