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From helping you after a dog attack or truck accident in Wisconsin to defending your rights as a rider, the personal injury trial attorneys at Hupy & Abraham will be fierce advocates in your time of need.
With offices across Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa, and representing clients hurt by slip and fall incidents, car accidents, wrongful deaths, drug and medical device injuries, dog bites, nursing home abuse and motorcycle crashes, we are available where you need us and when you need us.
Contact our professional team of Midwest injury attorneys by calling 800-800-5678 today for your free consultation.
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What should I do if I was hurt by a dog in a Wisconsin park?
You should take action immediately to protect your physical and financial recoveries. You were not to blame for the accident, but if you fail to take action then you will have to pay for your own damages.
Three Things to Do as Soon as Possible
As soon as you are hurt, or as soon as you are physically able to take action, it is important to:
- Get medical attention. Dog bites injuries are painful and may quickly become serious. Dangerous, life-threatening infections can result and permanent scarring may occur. You can lessen these risks and get help for your pain by seeing a doctor as soon as possible.
- Report the accident to the local animal services office. The animal services, animal control, or other appropriate municipal office will notify the dog owner and take the required steps to investigate the dog bite accident.
- Learn more about your legal rights. Animal services will not protect your legal right to a recovery. Instead, you have to take action. You can learn more about how to do that by reading our free dog bite brochure.
This Was Not Your Fault
Wisconsin has a strict liability dog bite statute. That means that, in most cases, you have the right to recover damages from the dog owner or the dog owner’s insurer. You do not have to prove that the dog owner was negligent. It does not matter whether the city or county has rules that allow dogs to be off leash in certain parks. Instead, you just need to show that the person from whom you are attempting to recover damages owns a dog that hurt you.
You should be able to enjoy the beautiful municipal and state parks throughout the state of Wisconsin without fear of being hurt by someone else’s dog. If you are hurt by a dog in a park, or if you suffer a dog bite anywhere in Wisconsin, then we encourage you to call us directly at 1-800-800-5678 to learn more about making a fair recovery.
My neighbor’s dog escaped from its yard and bit me while I was walking on the sidewalk. Can I recover damages?
Yes, you may be able to recover damages for your dog bite injuries given the circumstances that you describe in your question if you act quickly and before the Wisconsin statute of limitations for dog bite accidents expires.
Wisconsin Law Is Clear
Dog owners are responsible for the damages that result when their dog hurts someone regardless of where the dog bite happens. Thus, if a dog owner is responsible for damages even if his dog…
- Escapes from a fenced-in yard.
- Escapes from a yard with an electric fence.
- Breaks away from a dog run or lead.
- Breaks way from a leash.
It doesn’t matter if the dog owner took reasonable steps to prevent the dog from escaping. Since Wisconsin’s dog bite law is one of strict liability and not negligence, the reasonable efforts of the dog owner are irrelevant. Instead, you need to prove that a specific person owns the dog that hurt you.
What You May Recover
If you have been bitten on a sidewalk by a dog that escaped its yard, then Wisconsin law allows you to recover for the full amount of your injury. This may include past, current, and future lost income, medical expenses, out-of-pocket costs, and compensation for physical pain and emotional suffering.
In some situations, Wisconsin law allows you to recover even more than that. If you can prove that the dog owner knew or was notified that the dog had previously hurt a person, a domestic animal, or property, then you may be able to recover double damages for your injuries.
However, in order to recover any damages for your injuries, you are going to have to advocate for your full and fair recovery. This may include negotiating with the insurance company or starting a lawsuit. For more information on how to protect your right to a fair recovery, please download our FREE dog bite brochure and start a live chat with us any time.
What happens if you are bitten by a dog while visiting someone else’s home?
Private homes are common places for dog bite accidents. However, as the dog bite victim you are in a difficult situation. You were visiting a friend or relative when that friend’s or relative’s dog bit you—leaving you in pain, with medical bills, and possibly with lost income. As you consider your options, you may believe that you are either going to have to pursue legal damages from your friend or relative or you are going to have to pay for the dog bite yourself.
There May Be Another Way
You don’t want to hurt your friend or relative, but you also don’t want to bear the financial burden for the dog bite. There is often another way to recover damages, however, when you are bitten in a private home.
The dog owner’s insurance company may be responsible for paying your damages. Specifically, the homeowner’s insurance policy or renter’s insurance policy may be required to pay for your damages unless the policy specifically excludes animal bites. If there is applicable insurance, then neither you nor your friend or relative will be left with the often substantial financial expenses that can result from a dog bite injury.
What to Do Now
You are not dealing with a stranger. Therefore, you likely want to maintain your relationship with the dog’s owner and get the financial recovery that you deserve. Accordingly, it is important to act quickly and carefully. You can explain to your loved one that the relationship is important to you, and that you have hired a lawyer to take care of negotiating a fair recovery with the insurance company so that you can make a fair recovery.
If you would like more information about how to handle a dog bite injury when the dog owner is a friend or relative then we encourage you to contact us directly for a free, confidential consultation. You can reach us any time—24/7—via this website or by calling 1-800-800-5678.
Can I recover from an insurance company if I’ve been hurt by a dog?
You may be able to recover compensation from an insurance company if you’ve been bitten by a dog, but first you will need to answer two questions.
Question 1: Was the Dog Owner Insured?
Many—but not all—homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies include coverage for dog bites. Some homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies specifically exclude coverage for all animal bites or for injuries cause by certain dog breeds.
In order to determine if the dog owner had insurance coverage that applies to your injuries, you or your dog bite lawyer will need to review the specific insurance policy that was in effect at the time you were bitten by the dog.
Question 2: How Much Will the Insurance Company Pay?
Assuming that the dog owner did have an insurance policy in place that covers damages resulting from dog bite injuries, you are going to want to know how much the insurance company may pay you for your damages.
This requires a detailed analysis that includes:
- A review of the policy limits. Coverage is unique to the insurance policy that was in place when you were hurt.
- An assessment of your damages. You need to know how much a fair recovery will be for your injuries. All of your damages including (but not limited to) past, present, and future medical bills, lost income, out-of-pocket costs, and pain and suffering should be taken into account.
However, simply asking for a fair recovery that is within the policy limits will not result in your receiving what you are due. Instead, you are going to have to convince the insurance company to make a fair settlement with you by presenting compelling evidence and arguments.
You do not have to do this alone. Insurance adjusters are experts at their jobs and it is their job to pay you as little as possible for your injuries. You deserve to have an experienced advocate working to get you the fair recovery you deserve. To schedule a free consultation with one of our dog bite lawyers, please start a free live chat with us now. We also invite you to learn more tips and resources for protecting your dog bite recovery by browsing our website.
How should I report a dog bite injury in Wisconsin?
There are several different reports or calls that you should make if you have been hurt by a dog in Wisconsin. Each of these reports is important and will protect your potential medical or legal recovery if they are made in a timely fashion.
Specifically, as soon as you are physically able to do so, you should contact:
- The local government animal control agency. An animal bite or scratch that breaks the skin should be reported to the appropriate municipal government agency. In Milwaukee, for example, animal bites should be reported to the Department of Neighborhood Services during regular business hours or to the Milwaukee Police Department during non-business hours. You should be prepared to give your name, address, age, phone number, and description of your injuries. Additionally, you should provide the name and address of the animal owner, if you know it, and the circumstances of the bite or attack. An inspector will be assigned to your case. Other cities and towns follow similar procedures.
- 911. If you suffered serious injuries then you should immediately call 911 so that emergency medical services can be provided to you.
- Your doctor. Infections and disfigurement are two serious concerns after a dog bite injury. A dog bite injury may require ongoing medical care that your primary care doctor should coordinate for you.
- Your attorney. Your lawyer will make sure that all of your legal rights are protected, that the appropriate insurance companies are notified, that settlement talks take place as appropriate, and that you file a lawsuit within the required time limits, if necessary.
While each of these reports serves a different purpose, they all have a common goal of helping you protect your recovery. Thus, it is important to take action, or to have a trusted relative or friend take action on your behalf, as soon as possible.
For more tips and resources about protecting your dog bite recovery, please browse our website or download our free dog bite brochure.
Do I have the right to sue someone after a Wisconsin dog bite?
Wisconsin, like other states, has laws about who can bring a lawsuit. These laws establish who has standing to sue.
Anyone can file a complaint in state court. However, if you do not have the legal authority—known as standing—to bring a lawsuit, then the defendant will quickly raise that issue and seek to have the case dismissed. The court will grant that motion to dismiss and you will not be able to recover damages. Thus, before you go through the effort of filing a dog bite lawsuit it is important to know whether you have standing.
Standing to Sue After a Dog Bite Injury
Generally, you have standing to sue after a Wisconsin dog bite if:
- You were injured and you are age 18 or older. Adults who have been physically hurt by someone else’s dog have the legal right to seek compensation in court.
- You are the parent or guardian of a minor child who was hurt. Children do not have the legal authority to start lawsuits in Wisconsin. However, you have the right to act in the best interests of your child by bringing a lawsuit on your child’s behalf so that your child can recover damages for his injuries.
- You are the legal guardian of an adult who was wounded. Adults who have legal guardians may rely on their guardians to bring a lawsuit and seek fair compensation after a dog bite injury.
- You are the executor or administrator of a person’s estate. If the person died as a result of dog bite injuries, then you may have the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the estate.
The injuries that were suffered must include physical injuries and may also include emotional injuries.
Take Action to Protect Your Rights
Once you know that you have standing, you need to know how to protect your rights. You will need to take action in order to get fair damages for the injuries that you suffered. This may include filing a dog bite lawsuit.
To find out more about how Wisconsin dog bite cases work or about how to protect your rights and fair recovery, please start a live chat with us at any time.
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?
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.
What kind of witnesses may be important in a dog bite case?
You know how you got hurt. You know which dog bit you, you know what happened in the moments leading up the attack, and you know what injuries you have suffered.
However, your knowledge of these things is not enough to get a fair recovery in settlement negotiations or in court. Instead, you are going to have to prove what happened and the extent of your injuries.
Witnesses Can Help You Prove Your Case
Different types of witnesses can provide important evidence about the dog bite incident and your resulting injuries. Accordingly, it is important to talk to your lawyer about the following types of witnesses:
- Eyewitnesses. Anyone who saw you get bit or attacked by a dog could have important information that could help resolve your case.
- Dog experts. Vets or canine experts could provide important information about what happened and could help the insurance company or court understand why you deserve damages
- Medical experts. A doctor or medical expert can help the insurance company or court understand your injuries and the likely future impact of your injuries
- Vocational experts or economists. If you will be out of work permanently or for an extended amount of time, then this type of expert may help the insurance company or court value your future lost income and other expenses.
Not every case requires all of these different types of witnesses. However, if you do decide to use a witness, then it is important to make sure that you are using the right witness for your case.
How to Find the Right Witnesses for Your Case
After a dog bite injury, there are two important things that you can do to find the right witnesses for your case. Specifically, you can:
- Write down the contact information for any eyewitnesses. You can’t chose who saw you get bitten by a dog, but you can make sure that you have a phone number, address, and email address to reach those people later.
- Talk to a dog bite lawyer about expert witnesses. You are not expected to know a vet or canine expert, for example. However, a dog bite lawyer who has experience with dog bite litigation can find the right expert witnesses for your specific case.
Can I recover compensation for my medical bills after I was bitten by someone else’s dog in Wisconsin?
Under Wisconsin law, a dog bite victim has the right to seek damages from the owner of the dog that caused the injuries. Those damages may include both past and future medical expenses. In most situations, the dog owner's homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policy is responsible for providing compensation to the dog bite victim. However, insurance companies will try to minimize your claim and pay you as little as possible.
Know Your Rights
The medical bills that have already piled up and the ones that you are likely to incur can be costly. Your dog bite injury may require:
- Emergency surgery.
- Testing for nerve damage or other complications.
- Reconstructive surgeries.
- Physical therapy.
While it may be easy to put a specific value on the bills that you’ve already received, it is equally important to put a specific value on your future medical expenses. This will require input from your doctors and potentially other medical experts who can provide evidence about the future treatments that you will need and their expected costs.
Unfortunately, treatment for scarring, disfigurement, and other conditions can be lengthy and expensive. Accordingly, it is important to know all about your rights and to fight hard for your fair and just recovery of damages.
Just Asking for Compensation for Your Medical Bills Isn’t Enough
You may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, but you should not expect the dog owner or the dog owner’s insurance company to simply hand you a check for the amount that you request. Instead, you will need to justify the value of all of your past and future medical expenses with copies of bills, information from your medical records, and expert testimony.
I’ve had a lot of miscellaneous expenses because of my dog bite injury. Can I be compensated for these expenses in a settlement or trial?
Yes. The Wisconsin dog bite statute allows people who have been hurt by a dog to recover “…for the full amount of damages…” caused by the dog bite. This includes the more obvious damages that you might think of—such as your medical expenses and lost income—and it also includes all of your out-of-pocket costs.
What Are Out-of-Pocket Costs?
Out-of-pocket costs are any expenses that are incurred as a direct result of your dog bite injury or recovery. Generally, these are expenses that are not included in other specific types of damages such as medical expenses, lost income, or pain and suffering. Some examples of out-of-pocket costs include:
- Babysitting or childcare if you are unable to take care for your children the way that you did prior the dog bite.
- Transportation costs if you are unable to drive or take the same transportation that you did prior to the dog bite.
- Help around the house if you are unable to clean or do the things that you did prior to the dog bite.
You may be able to recover for the out-of-pocket expenses that you have already incurred and future out-of-pocket expenses that will result from your dog bite injury, but first you will have to prove that these costs were caused by your injury.
How Can I Get the Full and Fair Recovery That I Deserve?
You can recover compensation for out-of-pocket costs, as well as other dog bite damages, by settling with the insurance company or being successful at trial. The insurance company or the defendant is going to fight hard to pay you as little as possible in damages. Thus, it is important to keep documentation of all of your out-of-pocket costs and to work with an experienced lawyer who will fight hard to get you the damages that you deserve.