It’s another gorgeous summer day in Wisconsin and like many others you are out enjoying the weather in Green Bay. Suddenly a dog comes bounding up to you, jumps up and sinks his teeth in your arm before his owner can catch up. You’ve just become another animal bite victim. So, what do you do?
Approximately 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year, of those, over 800,000 receive medical treatment for the injury. Another 400,000 are bitten by cats, a quarter of those require treatment. Animal bites account for billions of dollars of medical bills every year.
Wisconsin’s dog bite statute has strong language covering dog owner liability. Here are three things you need to know about Wisconsin’s dog bite statute and what you should do if you are bitten by a dog in Wisconsin:
1. No bite is required – Although the Wis. Stat. section 174.02 is commonly referred to as the dog bite statute, no bite is required. Owners of dogs in Wisconsin are liable for injuries caused by their dogs, even if they were unintentional.
2. Strict liability for dog bite injuries – The law is written as a strict liability statute. This means that you do not have to prove the owner was negligent in order to recover.
3. Double damages for dangerous dogs – If a dog bites you and it has a history of biting other people without provocation, the owner of a dog will be liable for double the damages if the dog bite was severe enough to break the skin and result in permanent scarring or disfigurement.
What to do if you are bitten by a dog
So what should you do if you are bitten by a dog? Seek medical attention immediately. Take photos of the injury or have others take photos for you to document the severity of the injury. If police were involved, get a copy of the police report. A police report can contain powerful information about the accident. Talk to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your options.