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I was partly to blame for my dog bite injury. Does that mean that I can’t recover damages from a dog owner in Wisconsin?

You may be able to make a dog bite recovery even if the dog was not 100% to blame

In some cases, you may still be able to recover for any injuries that you suffered if you were partially at fault for a dog bite or attack.

Wisconsin law generally holds dog owners strictly liable for injuries resulting from dog attacks or bites. However, the Court of Appeals of Wisconsin has held that there is strict liability in dog bite cases “subject only to the defense of comparative negligence.”

What Is Comparative Negligence?

Comparative negligence is an issue that may be raised by the defendant. Specifically, the defendant will argue that you were partly to blame for the dog bite and, therefore, the defendant should not be 100 percent responsible for your damages.

You may still recover damages in a Wisconsin dog bite case even if the court agrees with the defendant and finds you partly at fault for the dog bite accident—as long as your percentage of the liability is less than 51 percent. In other words, the dog owner must bear more of the liability, or responsibility, for the dog bite than you do.

However, it is important to note that if the court does find you partly liable for your own injuries then your recovery may be reduced by the percentage of fault attributable to you. For example, if the court finds that you bear 25 percent of the responsibility for the accident, then your total award of damages will be reduced by 25 percent.

How Is This All Determined?

Liability and the percentage of fault attributable to each party will be determined based on the available evidence and persuasiveness of your arguments. Accordingly, it is important to talk to an experienced dog bite lawyer to make sure that a thorough investigation is done, to make sure that convincing arguments are presented to the insurance company or court, and to learn more about how a dog bite case works in Wisconsin. To learn more, please start a live chat with us, or call us anytime at 1-800-800-5678.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham