Madison Dog Bite Lawyers
Dog bites injuries are widespread. In some cases, a dog bite results in minor injuries, but generally speaking, significantly if children are injured, the results can be devastating. Statistically speaking, more than 50% of dog bites involve children.
Our law firm understands that dog bite injuries are not only distressing and painful, but also cause financial suffering that can impact you and your family for long after the initial injury. Experienced dog bite attorneys in Madison can help gather facts, prove the parties’ involvement, and fight for your right to compensation to recover costs associated with dog bites. Contact our office at 608-448-6242 to learn more about how we can help you and your family.
How a Wisconsin Dog Bite Lawyer Can Help
The process to obtain compensation typically involves legal action. In many cases, dog bite victims are able to obtain a settlement through an insurer. However, in other cases, resolution may involve a personal injury lawsuit. With the help of an experienced attorney, you may take the following steps:
- Document the Injury: This includes obtaining medical records, photographs of the injuries, and any witness statements.
- Determine Liability: The liability often falls on the dog’s owner, but it may also involve landlords, animal keepers, or local authorities, depending on the specific circumstances.
- Negotiate with Insurance Companies: Many dog owners have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance that covers dog bite liabilities. The victim may need to negotiate with the insurance company to reach a fair settlement.
- File a Lawsuit: If a settlement cannot be reached, the victim may file a lawsuit. This involves adhering to the statute of limitations (which varies by jurisdiction) and navigating complex legal procedures.
- Provide Support and Guidance: Your experienced dog bite attorney will keep you informed of all developments in your case, advise you as to the best course of action, and empower you to make informed decisions.
Dog Bite Laws in Madison, Wisconsin
In the state of Wisconsin, dog bite laws are governed by a combination of statutes and court decisions. Understanding these laws is essential for both dog owners and those who a dog bite may have injured.
Wisconsin operates under a strict liability system for dog bites. According to Wisconsin Statute § 174.02, 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.
This means that the victim does not need to prove that the dog’s owner was negligent or that the dog had previously exhibited aggressive behavior. The mere fact that the dog caused the injury makes the owner liable.
Exceptions and Defenses
While the strict liability statute seems straightforward, there are exceptions and defenses that may apply. For example, under Wisconsin law, if the victim was trespassing, provoking the dog, or engaging in an unlawful act that contributed to the bite, these factors may reduce or eliminate the owner’s liability. Working with an experienced dog bite lawyer can help ensure that the defense doesn’t assign you more than your fair share of blame, and that you can collect the maximum compensation that you deserve.
If you’ve been bitten by a dog, regardless of the circumstances, you must consult an experienced personal injury attorney who is well-versed in these specific laws. Legal professionals can help navigate the complexities of the law, negotiate with insurance companies, and ensure that the victim’s rights are protected.
What Happens To The Dog If I File An Injury Claim?
Several clients who are dog lovers themselves wonder if their injury claim will result in the dog being put to death. In most cases, this is not the result. According to Wisconsin statute, the courts may only order a dog to be put to death if they have been involved in two significant injuries and the owner was aware of the first incident. Your lawyer can help give you clarity as to how your case may proceed and ensure that the most positive outcome can be achieved under the circumstances.
Who Pays For The Damages?
Typically, the homeowner’s insurance of the dog owner will be responsible for the damages incurred in a dog bite situation. Some clients hesitate to pursue damages as the dog owner is a family member or friend, and they don’t want them to have to be responsible for medical bills or other expenses. Generally speaking, it is up to the insurance to cover the costs at little to no cost to the dog owner.
The dog owner is ultimately responsible for covering all damages. In some rare cases, if the dog has a documented history of causing injuries and the owner is aware, the owner may be responsible for the damages and more due to the behavior exhibited in previous cases. There are past cases in Wisconsin where the owner was liable to pay for double the damages due to the previously irresponsible behavior of the dog and its owner.
What Types Of Damages Are Commonly Pursued In Dog Bite Cases?
Depending on the injury’s severity, incredibly high medical costs can be incurred. In some cases, reconstructive surgery may be necessary.
Mental or physical therapy may also be required to overcome the injuries sustained in the incident. These costs can be calculated, estimated, and pursued as part of the claim. Legal compensation for dog bite injuries varies based on jurisdiction, the circumstances of the bite, and the severity of the injuries. Generally, compensation may cover:
- Medical Expenses: This includes costs related to immediate and long-term medical care, hospital stays, surgeries, medication, rehabilitation, and any further medical treatment needed as a result of the bite.
- Lost Wages: If the victim is unable to work due to their injuries, compensation may cover lost income during the recovery period.
- Pain and Suffering: Some jurisdictions allow for compensation for the physical pain and emotional suffering caused by the injury.
- Property Damage: If personal property (such as clothing or accessories) is damaged in the attack, compensation may cover the cost of replacement or repair.
- Punitive Damages: In cases where the dog’s owner was egregiously negligent or the dog had a known history of aggression, punitive damages may be awarded as a punishment and deterrent.
Injuries from Dog Bites
Dog bites can lead to a wide range of injuries, from minor wounds to severe and life-threatening conditions.
- Superficial Wounds: These include scratches, bruises, and minor lacerations. While they may appear minor, immediate care is still needed to prevent infection.
- Deep Lacerations: Deeper wounds can damage muscles, tendons, and even bones. These may require stitches, surgery, or other intensive medical intervention.
- Infections: A bite from a dog can introduce bacteria into the wound, leading to infections such as cellulitis or even more severe conditions like sepsis if left untreated.
- Nerve Damage: Some bites can cause damage to the nerves, resulting in long-term or even permanent impairment.
- Emotional Trauma: Aside from physical injuries, a dog bite can cause significant psychological distress, leading to conditions such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD.
- Rabies and Other Diseases: If the dog is not vaccinated, there may be a risk of transmission of diseases like rabies, which can be fatal if not treated promptly.
Who Should I Report The Dog Bite To?
If a dog injures you, it is essential to gather the dog owner’s information, such as their contact information, so you can research whether or not the dog is up-to-date on their vaccinations. If they aren’t, you could be at risk for rabies or other infections and need to take additional steps to prevent further health concerns.
It is important to report the incident to the police, local animal control, and a physician. An inspector from animal control will want your information and information about the dog so that they can conduct a case and determine if the dog has been involved in other significant injuries.
Consult a physician to determine the extent of your injuries. In some cases, the injuries can seem superficial but can later result in significant problems. It is best to consult a doctor immediately after the incident to cover all bases.
Notifying the police can be important should you choose to pursue compensation. Having a record of the incident on file with the proper authorities may be part of the evidence that you will gather and discuss with your injury attorney.
Is There A Statute Of Limitations On Reporting A Dog Bite?
If you want to pursue damages in a dog bite case, you typically have three years from the date of the bite to file a suit. Some details may change this timeline, making it longer or shorter depending on the circumstances. It is best to consult an attorney immediately to discuss the specifics and determine how long you have to file a case, if necessary.
How Can I Find a Dog Bite Attorney Near Me?
Our experienced attorneys are a click or a phone call away. Contact our office at 608-448-6242 to discuss your specific questions and learn more about your options to recover compensation. The financial and emotional repercussions of dog bites can be significant, and our team works hard to protect our client’s rights.
Pemberton Personal Injury Law Firm
5609 Medical Cir #4
Madison, WI 53719