If you are the victim of a dog bite or other animal attack, you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries. Likewise, if you are the owner of a dog or other animal, it is crucial that you know your responsibilities in the event that your pet attacks someone.
Wisconsin is a strict liability state when it comes to injuries caused by dogs, which means that the dog owner can be held liable for the injury regardless of whether they knew the dog had aggressive tendencies or not. There is no “free bite” rule for dog owners in Wisconsin. Furthermore, if the owner “was notified or knew” their dog has caused injury before, they are liable for double the amount of damages. Since the law does not specify what an injury is, the owner’s liability is not limited to only dog bites; instead, this liability extends to any dog-inflicted injury.
However, there is one way an aggressive dog’s owner may not be responsible for all the damages caused by his or her dog. Wisconsin’s modified comparative negligence rules may apply when the person who was injured partially or wholly is responsible for provoking the dog before it attacked. For example, if the injured person who provoked the dog is found to be 25 percent responsible for their injuries, the dog’s owner will pay 75 percent of the damages that would have otherwise been awarded. However, if the injured person is responsible for 51 percent or more, they are not entitled to recover any damages from the dog’s owner. In cases where the modified comparative negligence rule may be applied, the burden of proof falls on the dog owner to show that the dog was provoked.
While dog bites are certainly the most common form of animal attacks, other types of animals have been known to attack, damage, or injure. People who own or keep horses, cows, and other livestock must use proper fencing to keep their animals from escaping their pens and crossing into roads.
Dog bites and other animal attacks can lead to permanent injury and emotional trauma. Please contact Levine Lyon & Eisberner LLC as soon as possible to make sure that you have the best chance to recover the compensation that you are entitled to, including medical expense, pain and suffering, torn clothing, lost wages, and other damages.