You never thought this would happen to you. Whether you are an animal lover or a skilled avoider of other people’s pets, you never expected that you would be bitten by a dog. Yet you have been bit, you are hurt, and you need help. How are you going to pay your medical bills? How you are going to make ends meet while you are out of work? How are you going to recover from your injuries? Below, our experienced Milwaukee dog bite lawyer dives into to how you (and your attorney) can make sure you recover financially.

Who is Responsible for My Dog Bite Injury?

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 Milwaukee dog owner may raise the defense of comparative negligence and try to convince the judge or jury that your own actions caused your injury.

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, walker, kennel or the person or agency in control of the dog
  • The dog owner's landlord
  • The dog owner's parents
  • The owner of the property where the dog bite occured
  • The dog bite victim

3 Steps to Recovering From a Milwaukee Dog Bite Accident

If you have been hurt, then it is important to take the necessary steps to protect your future. Those steps include:

  • Seeing a doctor. Whether you are bit by a golden retriever or a pit bull, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Dog bite injuries can be significant and may require emergency room care. It will be important to determine if the dog was sick when it bit you, how badly the dog hurt you, and whether scarring is likely.
  • Taking care of yourself. It is important to follow your doctor’s orders after a dog bite injury. Otherwise, you may risk aggravating your injury and suffering more than you are already enduring.
  • Consulting a Milwaukee dog bite lawyer. A dog bite attorney in Milwaukee who has experience with the unique aspects of dog bite law may be able to help you get the recovery that you need after a dog bite injury.

What Kind of Damages Could Be Covered in Wisconsin?

You may also be able to recover damages if a dog has directly caused your injury and you have suffered medical or emotional trauma resulting in:

  • Unpaid medical bills, surgical bills or rehabilitation costs.
  • Time away from school or work.
  • Other physical or financial damages.

Dog owners—and dog owners’ insurance companies—may see things differently and may not understand their responsibilities to provide you with fair and just compensation for your injuries. Accordingly, we encourage you to contact our Milwaukee dog bite lawyer who will fight hard to get you the results that you deserve.

How Do I Know if a Dog Has Rabies After Suffering a Bite?

It is very common for a dog bite victim to become worried about infections after the attack. One of the most talked about infections that can be transmitted through a dog bite is rabies. Some studies estimate that as much as 97% of rabies infections in the United States are transmitted through a dog bite.

Rabies is a serious infection that is only treatable before the infection sets in. Knowing whether or not the dog is infected with rabies will help you decide what action to take after being bitten.

Unfortunately, it can be hard to determine whether or not the dog that bit you was infected with rabies at the time. To determine whether the dog that bit you is infected with rabies you can:

  • Look for symptoms. Dogs that have rabies may have certain symptoms of the disease. You should be concerned if you have noticed any behavior or temperament changes in the last few days to months before the bite.
  • Check the dog’s vaccination record. If the dog is not your dog, it is important to find out whether or not the dog has received its rabies vaccinations. Demand that the owner of the dog show you vaccination records to be sure.
  • Test the dog. The dog can be tested for rabies. A veterinarian can take samples of the dog’s saliva or spinal fluid to test it for rabies. These methods are fairly accurate but not perfect. The only sure way to determine if the dog has rabies is to check the brain tissue, which requires sacrificing the animal.

[Related: Will I Need a Rabies Vaccine After a Dog Bite?]

4 Ways to Protect Yourself From a Milwaukee Dog Bite Injury

To prevent a dog bite there are certain situations and actions that should be avoided. Knowing just a few “don’ts” can lead to a pleasant encounter with a dog, instead of a painful one. When interacting with a dog:

  • DON’T hold his face. A person should never hold the dog’s face, forcing the dog into an unpleasant situation. This is especially true with a dog that the person is not familiar with.
  • DON’T allow the dog off its leash. The owner or person in charge of the dog should always keep the dog on a leash. If you see another person’s dog roaming free, you should politely ask the owner to use a leash.
  • DON’T approach a strange dog. Any situation involving a dog that is new or strange should be handled with caution. The dog may be vicious, hungry, or aggressive. The best way to deal with a strange dog is to talk to the owner first. If the dog is a stray, contact your local animal control office.
  • DON’T ignore aggressive behavior. Recognizing the signs of aggressive behavior will allow a person the opportunity to deal with the dog before it goes too far.

What if It Wasn't a Dog Bite, But Another Form of Canine Attack?

You should 100% still contact our Milwaukee personal injury attorney. If you have been injured by the actions of a dog in Milwaukee, you still have plenty of options. You may be able to recover damages if a dog:

  • Mauled you.
  • Scratched you.
  • Jumped on you and caused you to fall.
  • Otherwise hurt you.

Of course, the mauling, scratching, jumping, or other action must have resulted in a personal injury in order for you to have a possible dog injury lawsuit.

best Milwaukee dog bite lawyerHow to Find the Best Milwaukee Dog Bite Lawyer in Wisconsin

Finding the best Milwaukee dog bite lawyer is essentially the same as finding the best plumber in Milwaukee. Follow the steps below and you should be able to find either one.

  • Read Reviews. Testimonials from past clients, whether on a law firm's website or on a review site like Google, will go a long way. By seeing how a certain Milwaukee dog bite lawyer interacted with past clients, you get a glimpse into what you can expect should you hire said attorney.
  • Ask Around. Just because an attorney did great work for your family or friends, doesn't mean you should automatically hire that person. However, there likely aren't people in your life that you trust more than your family or friends, so ask around, get some suggestions on who to hire. That's when the next step comes into play.
  • Interview potential candidates. Almost all personal injury lawyers will offer a free consultation. Just because you choose to meet with an attorney does not mean you have to hire them. Schedule a consult and be prepared to come with questions that you think would impact your decision.
  • Make the best decision for you. Don't think about anyone else. This is a personal choice. Use the information you gained above and make the right decision based on your best judgement. 
  • Don't let money be the deciding factor. As we mentioned above, many attorneys will offer a free consultation. not only that, many attorneys, including our here at Hupy and Abraham, work on a contingency-fee basis, meaning we don't get paid unless you get paid. Don't let money, or the lack there of, influence your decision. Find the best Milwaukee dog bite lawyer (in your opinion) and move forward.

Contact Our Dog Bite Attorney in Milwaukee Today!

Damages in Milwaukee dog bite cases are different from damages in other types of personal injury cases. It is important to fight hard for fair and equitable damages so that you can make as complete a recovery as possible. The only real way to do that is to hire a skilled and experienced Milwaukee dog bite lawyer to assit you.

For more information on how to get a fair recovery after a dog bite, please contact our experienced Milwaukee injury lawyers today at 1-800-800-5678 or 414-223-4800.

Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.