Dog bites can occur at any time and any place. Whether you are out at a public park or visiting a friend’s house, even the best-trained dogs can attack if they feel threatened or provoked. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, about 4.5 million people are bitten by a dog every year. Of these cases, nearly one in five people will have to go to the hospital to seek medical treatment.
Dog bites can range from minor nips when a child is playing with the family dog, for example, to aggressive attacks that cause permanent damage. If you or your child has been injured from a dog bite, the personal injury team at Groth Law Firm can help you understand your rights. Contact our office at (414) 240-0707 to schedule a free consultation.
Wisconsin Law Is Clear
Wisconsin takes dog ownership seriously. Accordingly, when you choose to bring a new pet into your home, you do so with an understanding of the legal obligations that come with owning a dog. State law makes the owner of a dog that injures another person, domestic animal, or property 100 percent liable for any resulting damages. If the dog’s owner was already aware of his or her dog’s aggressive behavior due to a previous incident, the owner will be responsible for two times the actual costs associated with the injury. There are two exemptions to this standard of liability:
- If the injured party was trespassing on the dog owner’s property at the time of the injury, the owner will not be personally liable for the costs associated with the injury.
- The dog owner will only be responsible for two times the actual damages if (1) the attack was without provocation, (2) the owner was aware of a previous bite that led to scarring or disfigurement, and (3) the attack in question caused actual scarring or disfigurement.
In addition to personal damages to the injured party, the dog owner may face additional civil charges, including a fine of up to $500 for the first offense or up to $5,000 for a dog who has attacked before. The court may also the dog to be euthanized, but only if the court feels that the dog poses a significant danger to the public.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bites can be a traumatic experience. While many bites are minor and do not require medical attention, in some cases, a dog bite can cause severe and even permanent damage. Some of the most common injuries from dog bites include the following:
- Lacerations: Depending on the size of the dog and the duration of the attack, dog bites can leave an injury ranging from a minor puncture wound to a deep and invasive gash. In some cases, dog bites may even lead to muscle or nerve damage.
- Infection: Even minor bites can lead to infection if not treated properly. That’s why it’s important to clean the affected area with soap and water as soon as you can. Contact a healthcare provider if the wound develops any signs of infection, including redness, swelling, or any discharge from the wound.
- Broken bones: According to American Nurse Today, a dog can exert a force of up to 450 pounds per square inch when it bites. This pressure is enough to break bones, especially in small children. Broken bones can take several months to heal and often result in long-term pain.
- Scarring: Any time the skin is broken, there is a chance that the injury will leave a scar. While some scars may fade over time, most are permanent. Scars to the face can be particularly traumatic, and they may require plastic surgery.
- Emotional trauma: The emotional impact of a dog bite can have long-lasting effects, especially for a small child. The child may suddenly develop anxiety, behavioral problems, or have difficulty sleeping.
A Milwaukee Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Recover Damages
At the Groth Law Firm, we know how difficult it can be to move on from a dog bite injury. Even after the physical injuries have healed, the emotional and psychological effects of the injury may continue to affect an injured individual’s life. Our team will fight aggressively to maximize the compensation that you receive for all of your injuries, not just the visible ones. While compensation will vary from case to case, common factors considered by courts and insurance companies in personal injury claims include the following:
- Medical bills: Medical bills include doctor visits, diagnostic imaging, lab tests, ambulance rides, hospital stays, and necessary rehab. If your injury is severe, your award may include future medical costs, as well.
- Lost wages: If you have lost time at work because of your injury or an injury to your child, you may have a claim for lost wages. Lost wages will cover any time missed as a result of the injury, including doctor visits and recovery.
- Pain and suffering: Pain and suffering compensation covers the physical and emotional pain caused by the injury. A dog bite can be a traumatic experience. Children or adults who once loved dogs may find that they now have a new fear of the animals. Scars left by bites can also cause anxiety and depression that are often hard to overcome.
Groth Law Firm Is on Your Side
Many things can complicate a dog bite injury claim. If you have a personal relationship with the dog owners or your child was the victim of a dog bite, dealing with the aftermath of a dog bite injury can be emotional and overwhelming. That’s why we always recommend speaking to a Milwaukee personal injury lawyer after a major dog bite incident.
The experienced legal team at the Groth Law Firm is dedicated to securing you compensation for the full cost of your injuries. You shouldn’t have to waste time and energy worrying about dealing with lawyers and insurance agencies when your focus should be on recovering from your injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite injury, don’t hesitate to seek legal representation. Contact our office at (414) 240-0707, or contact us online, to schedule an appointment with one of our personal injury attorneys.