We at Mike Agruss Law are proud to serve the people of Milwaukee in personal injury cases, including when you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a dog bite attack, and we are fully committed to protecting your rights and ensuring that the other party is held legally accountable when negligence occurs. We will fight until the very end to ensure that you receive full financial compensation for all injuries and losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, and you won’t owe us a dime for our services. Contact our Milwaukee dog bite attorneys for a free consultation today.
Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bites can result in very serious injuries, both physical and psychological. Many victims suffer from scarring and emotional trauma following a dog bite attack, and sometimes this damage can be long-term or even permanent. When an animal attack occurs due to the negligence of the owner, he/she must be held legally accountable for the damages.
In 2016, Illinois ranked second in the U.S. in payouts for claims on homeowners’ insurance policies, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III), and these included over 900 claims against the insurance policies of dog owners; the average payout was just under $43,000. Here are some important considerations for dog bite injury claims:
Victims in these cases may suffer from anxiety, flashbacks, or even PTSD after a dog attack.
Dog bite injuries can result in a variety of complications, such as infections and damage to nerves, muscle, or tissue, which may require significant medical care and expenses.
Visible scars, especially those which are permanent, can reduce a victim’s confidence or self-esteem, and cosmetic surgery may be necessary to treat some scars.
Wisconsin’s Dog Bite Laws
There are two approaches to dog bite law, which vary by state: negligence and strict liability. Wisconsin, like Illinois, follows strict liability, which means a plaintiff must prove that: the defendant’s dog attacked or attempted to attack him/her; the dog was not provoked; and the plaintiff was not trespassing when the attack occurred. But, remember that every case is different and should be thoroughly evaluated by a Milwaukee dog bite attorney.
According to Wisconsin Statutes Section 174.02 (1) and (2):
(1) Liability for injury.
(a) Without notice. Subject to s. 895.045 and except as provided in s. 895.57 (4), the owner of a dog is liable for the full amount of damages caused by the dog injuring or causing injury to a person, domestic animal or property.
(b) After notice. Subject to s. 895.045 and except as provided in s. 895.57 (4), the owner of a dog is liable for 2 times the full amount of damages caused by the dog biting a person with sufficient force to break the skin and cause permanent physical scarring or disfigurement if the owner was notified or knew that the dog had previously, without provocation, bitten a person with sufficient force to break the skin and cause permanent physical scarring or disfigurement.
(2) Penalties imposed on owner of dog causing damage.
(a) Without notice. The owner of a dog shall forfeit not less than $50 nor more than $2,500 if the dog injures or causes injury to a person, domestic animal, property, deer, game birds or the nests or eggs of game birds.
(b) After notice. The owner of a dog shall forfeit not less than $200 nor more than $5,000 if the dog injures or causes injury to a person, domestic animal, property, deer, game birds or the nests or eggs of game birds, and if the owner was notified or knew that the dog previously injured or caused injury to a person, domestic animal, property, deer, game birds or the nests or eggs of game birds.
(c) Penalties in addition to liability for damages. The penalties in this subsection are in addition to any other liability imposed on the owner of a dog.
Here are some settlements for dog bite victims which were won in Illinois (also a strict liability state):
An elderly woman in south Chicago was outside watering her flowers when a large dog with no collar approached, knocked down, and mauled her. She was found a short time later by a passerby and doctors determined she suffered a number of injuries, including broken bones and scarring. With help from an experienced attorney, the dog and its owner were tracked down and she filed a suit against the dog owner, resulting in a $500,000 settlement.
A kennel worker in Winnebago County, who was 35 and pregnant at the time, was walking a large dog at work when it knocked down and mauled her, resulting in broken bones, bite marks, scrapes, and infections in some of her wounds. During the case, it came to light that the dog owner had failed to disclose previous attacks by the dog against other individuals. The case was eventually settled in favor of the plaintiff for $305,000.
In Plano, Illinois, an owner of three terriers was out of town and one of his relatives (who was responsible for caring for the dogs) left the door open, resulting in the dogs escaping and attacking a 60 year-old woman. The woman suffered from bites, scarring, and nerve damage, and the case was settled in favor of the plaintiff for $62,333.
When pet owners are legally responsible for a pet attacking another person or animal, the pet owner’s insurance company will typically pay the compensation, and the very fact that insurance companies are typically involved makes the help of a personal injury lawyers essential for a successful case and full compensation for your injuries.
Many insurance policies only cover damages to a certain extent, which means the dog owner may also be pursued for the remaining compensation. With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, you can successfully pursue all involved parties for compensation, regardless of the owner’s insurance policies, and recover for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Dog Bite Fatalities
While dog bites and attacks are somewhat common in the United States, there are rare and devastating cases in which dog bite wounds result in the death of a person. And while city and state laws have been effective in addressing these cases, the underlying problem is that many dog attacks which result in a death are caused not by family dogs, but dogs which are strays or otherwise uncared-for, which can be challenging for legal cases. If you have lost a loved one due to an attack by a dog, our Milwaukee dog bite lawyers are here for you every step of the way to ensure a successful dog bite claim that fully compensates you for your losses.
In the Chicago area and throughout the United States, studies have been conducted by the National Canine Research Council and similar organizations to shed light on the most common contributing factors in dog attacks resulting in serious injury or death. Here are the primary factors in order of likelihood:
- There was no able-bodied adult who could have intervened in the attack;
- The dog bite victim had no prior relationship with the dog;
- The dog was not spayed or neutered;
- The victim had physical- or age-related limits;
- The dog was maintained “as a resident” instead of a family pet;
- The dog’s owner had a history of abuse or mismanagement of dogs or other pets;
- The dog’s owner abused and/or neglected the dog.
While some people assert that certain breeds are more aggressive or dangerous than others, such as pit bulls or Rottweilers, studies and statistics regularly challenge these myths and show that the circumstances of the attack matter more than the dog’s breed. And while stray dogs usually pose a greater risk of an attack than family dogs, the dogs most likely to attack a person are those who are abused, neglected, or otherwise not properly cared for. Those which are abused and/or lack human connection are far more likely to attack a person, especially without provocation, and in many cases the dog owner will be legally liable for the damages.
Contact us Today!
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or wrongful death from a dog bite in the Milwaukee area, you need an experienced Milwaukee dog bite lawyer. Contact Mike Agruss Law for a free consultation. We are a Chicago-based personal injury law firm, and helping our clients is about counseling, advocating, and ultimately solving problems. With years of experience successfully representing the people and not the powerful, we will take care of the insurance company, your medical bills, your property damage, and your lost wages, and monitor your treatment so you can focus on healing and getting your life back to normal. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you. Lastly, Mike Agruss Law works on a contingency fee basis and is not paid attorneys’ fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. You have nothing to risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.