In September 2011, our client was going to her Beloit home when she noticed two dogs in the road -- one black and the other a large bull mastiff. Our client, who owns dogs herself, was concerned for the dogs’ safety and went home and called the Humane Society. She was told they would only come and pick up the animals if they were contained, or she could call the police and report the loose animals.
Not knowing how long it would be until the police arrived, our client went to look for the dogs. She was concerned about the dogs running free as they might be struck by a vehicle and killed. She found the dogs in the backyard of another home on her street. As she approached them, the smaller black dog ran off, but the bull mastiff remained and had a leash attached to its collar. The bull mastiff showed no signs of aggression and seemed friendly.
As she bent down to reach for the leash, the dog lunged and locked its jaws on our client's face, specifically on her chin and mouth area. The dog attempted to knock down our client, but instead pushed her into a nearby fence. Finally letting go, the dog ran away from the scene, leaving our client badly injured.
Our client was taken to the hospital for emergency surgery to attempt to repair the significant skin, nerve and tissue damage. After months of treatment, our client was left with noticeable facial scars and severe nerve damage in her cheeks and chin. She had approximately $20,000 in medical bills, and her plastic surgeon advised that she would require approximately $50,000 or more in future plastic surgery.
An investigation by Hupy and Abraham, S.C. revealed the dog belonged to a neighbor who said the dog frequently was able to charge his way through a screen door and escape. The dog had done so earlier on the day of this attack. Hupy and Abraham, S.C. also discovered through police records that this dog had previously attacked another person, making the case subject to double damages under the Wisconsin Dog Bite statute.
Settlement negotiations were unsuccessful, so Attorney Jason F. Hahn filed suit against the insurance company and the owners of the dog. The initial offer of $75,000 was rejected. At mediation, Attorney Hahn negotiated a total settlement of $240,000 under the double damages clause of the Dog Bite Statute.
Note: Dog bite case results may vary depending on the severity of each individual case. Proving the dog had previous incidents can be difficult without actual proof including police records. For a case to be successful, the Wisconsin Dog Bite statute requires actual proof of a dog's previous incidents involving severe injuries.