For many Wisconsin residents, dogs make lovable and loyal companions. As a major cause of injuries to others, however, dogs can be big liabilities for their owners. National health authorities estimate that almost five million people are bitten by dogs each year, the majority of whom are children. In 2012, nearly 40 fatalities were caused by dog bites in the United States.
The Wisconsin dog injury statute imposes strict liability on dog owners, and in some cases, dog walkers or trainers. This means that if a dog injures someone, the victim does not need to show that the owner was negligent, just that he or she got hurt by the dog and suffered damages. For example, if someone was fleeing from a dog that was chasing them down a public street, and that person tripped and broke their arm, the dog owner may be liable for his or her injuries. If the owner was aware (or should have been aware) that the dog had injured someone before, the owner may be liable for double the amount of damages claimed by the victim.
Despite the application of strict liability in dog-bite cases, comparative negligence law still plays a part in determining a victim’s compensation. Dog injury victims who somehow provoked the dog (or trespassed) can have their compensation reduced or barred. A victim can obtain, at minimum, partial compensation as long as he or she is not 51% or more at fault in causing the injuries.
After liability has been determined, tenant’s or homeowner’s insurance can often cover damages, such as:
Medical care for physical injuries;
Counseling for psychological injuries; and
Pain, suffering, disability and disfigurement.
Posted in Dog Bites
Tagged comparative negligence, dog bite injury, dog bites lawyer, Wisconsin personal injury attorneys