If you’ve been bitten by a dog, you have a right to be compensated for your injury. In most cases involving dog bites, a claim is filed with the dog owner’s insurance company to recover for damages. Claims of this sort are usually settled out of court, although insurance companies often drag their feet on settling up with the claimant and will even look for any excuse to deny payment. When this happens, you need an experienced attorney to represent you.
What damages can a dog “cause” to make the owner liable?
Section 2 of the statute outlines fines “if the dog injures or causes injury,” but how a dog causes injury is open to interpretation. Cases involving injuries caused by dogs are more complicated than cases involving bites.
For instance, if a dog playfully jumps on someone and causes the person to fall over and break a wrist, there’s a case to be made for damages. But what if you’re with your dog in a dog park and another dog runs into you and knocks you down, causing you to break an ankle? Can the dog owner be held liable for your injury? It all depends. The only way to know if you have a case or not is to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney.
2. How Wisconsin’s contributory negligence law can affect your dog bite injury claim
Be aware that in Wisconsin, dog bite victims can be held partially liable for an attack if they were in some way negligent in their actions and can be considered partly to blame for the attack. In legal terms, this is known as contributory negligence. For instance, someone who taunts a dog with a stick or lunges toward it aggressively—even if only in jest—can be considered partially to blame for the attack.
It’s not uncommon for dog owners to throw the blame on the victims of their dogs. “You were trespassing!” is a common tactic. Again, every situation is unique and the best advice we can give here is to consult a dog bite attorney with the details of what happened when you were attacked.
In Wisconsin, if the victim is found to be more than 51% responsible for the attack, any award of damages is reduced by whatever percentage of fault is attributed to him/her. If you’re being accused of provoking an attack, witnesses will play a critical role in determining whether or not you bear any responsibility for the attack.
3. Wisconsin’s Statute of Limitations limits your timeline for filing a dog bite injury claim
It’s a common tactic of insurance companies to drag their feet on claims in order to run out the clock on the statute of limitations. In Wisconsin, you have three years from the date of the attack to file a legal claim. If you don’t take action within those three years, you will be barred from filing a suit.
It may seem hard to believe an insurance company could drag a claim out for 3 years, but it happens all the time. After the 3-year mark, you will have no option but to accept whatever lowball offer the dog owner’s insurance company offers you.
Why choose Warshafsky Law to represent you?
What sets Warshafsky Law apart from other personal injury firms is our commitment to getting justice for our clients. Most law firms are “sign and settle” shops, quick to agree to whatever offer an insurance company makes so they can move on to the next case. Insurance companies know these firms never bother to take a case to court—where they risk even greater losses at a trial—so they get away with their lowball settlement offers.
Warshafsky Law is different. We built our reputation on being ready, willing and able to take our clients’ cases to court. Warshafsky Law literally wrote the book on trial law: the massive Trial Handbook for Wisconsin Lawyers. When we take on a case, we prepare it for trial from day one. We don’t just win, we win big.
As one of the leading personal injury law firms in Wisconsin, Warshafsky Law has successfully represented many dog bite victims. We offer a free initial consultation to all prospective clients. Once we have some information from you on your injury, we can give you our thoughts on how a lawsuit would proceed and what you can expect.