In the U.S., approximately 4.7 million people suffer dog bites every year, and around 800,000 people receive medical care for dog bite injuries. While injuries from dog bites can be serious or even fatal for any person, dog bites can be especially dangerous for small children, and victims can suffer life-changing consequences. If you or a loved one have been bitten by a dog, you will want to work with a personal injury attorney to determine your options for recovering compensation from the animal’s owner, keeper, or harborer.
What Are the Most Common Dog Bite Injuries?
According to available data, adults most commonly experience dog bites in the legs. If the bites are severe enough, injuries to calf muscles or Achilles tendons can lead to long-term lack of mobility or permanent disability. In small children, injuries tend to be more severe due to the fact that they commonly occur in the head and neck area. Even seemingly minor bites can cause facial scarring. Puncture wounds to the throat can cause damage to blood vessels, nerves, and life-threatening injuries to the esophagus or trachea.
Dog bite victims of all ages may suffer puncture wounds that can lead to serious infections. When infections occur in the joints, they can lead to septic arthritis and long lasting-mobility issues. Even minor tissue infections known as cellulitis can spread and cause major health complications.
Negligence and Dog Bite Liability
Many dog bites occur due to owner negligence. Victims may suffer injuries because an owner did not properly leash their dog or fence their backyard. However, because of Wisconsin’s “strict liability” statute, a dog bite victim does not need to prove an “owner’s” negligence.
Wisconsin uses the principle of “strict liability” in regard to dog bites, which means that an animal’s owner may be found liable for injuries caused by their dog even if they did not know their dog was dangerous or even if they did not affirmatively do, or omit to take, any specific action to keep the dog away from others.
Wisconsin courts have also found that a “keeper” or “harborer” of a dog, such as a dog walker, pet sitter, or person who owns property where a dog is kept, is the same as a statutory owner under Wisconsin’s strict liability law. If you have experienced a dog bite or dog attack, talking to an experienced personal injury lawyer may help you identify to appropriate responsible parties.
In addition, a dog’s owner may be required to pay twice the amount of damages experienced by a victim if the victim can show that the owner was notified or knew prior to the injury that the dog previously bit with sufficient force to break the skin and cause permanent physical scarring or disfigurement to another person. Investigating this type of prior event requires experience and focused expertise. If you have suffered a dog bite injury, our attorneys can help you identify all of the responsible parties in addition to gathering evidence to maximize your recovery. We will work with you to pursue compensation for the damages you have suffered.
Contact a Green Bay, WI Dog Bite Attorney
At Herrling Clark Law Firm, Ltd., we are prepared to advocate on your behalf as you pursue a personal injury claim for a dog bite injury. We will help you receive the compensation you deserve for your medical treatment, ongoing physical therapy, medications, loss of income, and pain and suffering. To schedule a complimentary consultation with a knowledgeable Appleton personal injury lawyer, call us today at 920-739-7366.
Wis. Stat. § 174.02