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Who Is Legally Responsible for a Wisconsin Dog Bite Injury?

It’s important to identify the person legally responsible for your dog bite injuries

You still can’t believe that it happened to you. You are now one of the more than 4.5 million Americans who suffer a dog bite injury each year. If you suffer that dog bite in Wisconsin and need medical attention, then you need to know something that you never needed to know before. You need to know what your legal rights are, who could be legally responsible for paying your damages, and how to take action before the statute of limitations expires.

Wisconsin Is a Strict Liability Dog Bite Law State

Wisconsin law is clear as to who is liable for dog bite injuries. According to Wisconsin Statutes section 174.02(1), the owner of the dog is responsible for any damage done by his or her dog to a person, to a domesticated animal, or to property. You, as the dog bite victim, should not have to bear the expense of your injury. You should not have to pay for your medical expenses, lost income, vet bills, or property damage.

Of course, no law is without exceptions. It is important to note that a Wisconsin dog owner may raise the defense of comparative negligence and try to convince the judge or jury that your own actions caused your injury.

Could Anyone Else Be Responsible for Paying Your Damages?

While dog owners are typically liable for the injuries caused by their pets, it is possible that other people may also be liable for your injuries. Here are a few examples:

  • A dog sitter, dog walker, kennel, or the person or agency in control of the dog. Under certain conditions, the person who is keeping or caring for a dog may be held partially or wholly liable for the dog’s actions.
  • The dog owner’s landlord. If a landlord is aware that there is a dangerous or aggressive dog living on his property, and he does not take action to protect others from the dog, he may share liability if the dog causes injury. Additionally, a Wisconsin landlord may be responsible for a dog bite accident injury if the landlord is also the owner of the dog.
  • The dog owner’s parents. A parent may be held responsible for any dog bite injuries caused by a dog belonging to a child under age 18.
  • The owner of the property where the dog bite occurred. Under some circumstances, the owner of the property where the dog bite occurred may be considered to share responsibility for the Wisconsin dog attack. For example, a property owner may be found liable if he knew that there was a dangerous dog on the property and did not take precautions to prevent the dog from causing an injury.
  • The dog bite victim. It is possible for a Wisconsin dog bite victim can be responsible for his own injuries. The dog bite victim could be found responsible for a dog attack if he was harming the dog at the time of the bite, for example.

Every dog attack is unique. While Wisconsin dog bite law usually holds the owner responsible for injuries caused by a dog, there are exceptions and there may be more than one party at fault. If you have been bitten by a dog anywhere in Wisconsin, we suggest you speak with an experienced lawyer about your injury. To schedule a free consultation, contact Hupy & Abraham at 800-800-5678 at any time.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham