What You Should Know About Wisconsin Dog Bite Laws

June 26 , 2023 | Dog Bite Lawyer

Most of us have heard of dogs biting and injuring people, but what happens if this occurs in Wisconsin? Learn all about Wisconsin dog bite laws in this article, and if you think you have a case, our dog bite lawyers in Oak Creek at Martin Law Office, S.C., may be able to help you obtain compensation.

Wisconsin Dog Bite Laws

Wisconsin dog bite laws make the owner strictly liable for damages caused by a dog bite or attack. You do not have to prove that the owner was negligent to obtain damages for your injuries.

The statutes state that a dog owner ‘is liable for the full amount of damages caused by the dog injuring or causing injury to a person, domestic animal, or property.’ Also, the dog owner may be liable for twice the full amount of damages caused by the animal biting a person with enough force to break their skin, if the owner knew the dog had previously bitten a person.

If the dog owner is found to violate this statute, they can pay a fine of at least $50 and up to $2,500 if the dog injures another person or animal. However, if the owner knew that the dog had previously injured a person or animal, they can be fined a minimum of $200 and up to $5,000.

What Damages Can The Dog Cause That Makes The Owner Liable?

The dog bite statutes in Wisconsin refer to when the dog injures or causes injury to a person, animal or property. Some dog attacks involve more than mere bites, making the case more complex.

What happens if a dog jumps on you in greeting? You could make a strong case for damages. If another dog runs into you in the park and injures your back, is the dog owner liable? These cases are complex and should be reviewed by your attorney to determine if the other party may be liable.

Wisconsin Dog Bite Statute Of Limitations

You have only three years from the date of the dog bite injury to file a claim in Wisconsin. However, you should talk to an attorney quickly because building a strong case takes time.

A dog bite claim might seem unlikely to take three years, but insurance companies can often drag out cases. The insurance company wants you to accept a lower settlement.

What If The Dog Owner Offers To Pay Your Medical Bills?

It is not unusual after a dog attack for the owner to offer to pay the injured party’s medical bills and not involve attorneys and insurance companies. However, this may not be a wise course. Even the most generous dog owner could blanch when they see the bill and refuse to pay. They also will likely not be interested in paying your lost income when you are dealing with the dog bite injury.

Furthermore, a dog owner may have a hidden agenda by offering to pay your medical bills. For example, the dog could have a long history of aggressive behavior and attacks; in Wisconsin, the owner could be liable for double damages if they knew the dog had attacked before.

So, there is plenty of motivation for the owner to try to settle the matter with you directly. It may be better for you and the public to consult an attorney and determine if they can do better than what you have been offered in compensation by the owner.

How Contributory Negligence May Affect Your Claim

It is common for dog owners to try to avoid responsibility and blame the victim for the dog’s aggression. Or, they may claim that you were trespassing on the property where the incident happened. This is why you should have a dog bite lawyer review your case promptly; the law is complicated, and you could get less than you deserve by handling the case alone.

How To Avoid Dog Bites

Now that you understand Wisconsin’s dog bite laws, there is a legal path forward to follow if you are bitten. But it is always best if you can prevent the problem, so the American Kennel Club (AKC) recommends these tips to avoid being the victim of an aggressive dog:

  • Ask the owner if you can pet the dog: Some dogs are cautious around strangers and may feel threatened if you pet them.
  • Show the dog the back of your hand: Do not reach over the top of the dog’s head unless you already got positive feedback when it sniffed your hand.
  • Never run toward the dog: Children tend to run up to dogs they do not know, which can be taken as an act of aggression by the animal.
  • Do not leave children alone with a dog you do not know: Do not trust the dog owner’s word that the dog does not bite.
  • Stand still when a strange dog approaches: Running from an aggressive dog only encourages aggressive behavior. It is best to stand still when a loose dog approaches you.
  • Remember that most dog bites happen because of fear: Dogs usually bite when threatened. Anything you can do to appear non-threatening and gentle will increase the chances that the encounter will be peaceful.

Contact Our Dog Bite Lawyers In Oak Creek

If you were hurt in a dog bite incident in Wisconsin, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries and other losses. To file a claim, contact our dog bite lawyers in Oak Creek at Martin Law Office, S.C., at (414) 856-4010.