Dog bites and attacks are traumatic, terrifying events, often leading to catastrophic injury, permanent disfigurement, and even death. Tragically, children are the most common victims of dog attacks. Children under 10 suffer the highest rate of severe injuries following dog bites and attacks.
If you, your child, or someone else you care about has been attacked or bitten by a dog, you may be entitled to financial compensation. At Lawton Cates, we represent dog bite victims and their families, offering the personal attention and service you can only find at a skilled law office. With two locations in Jefferson and Madison, we assist clients throughout the state of Wisconsin.
Dog Bite Statistics
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Veterinary Medical Association report that:
- Approximately 4.7 million Americans are injured by dogs every year
- Annually, about 800,000 people who are injured by dogs require medical treatment
- Children and elderly individuals have the highest rate of dog bite and attack injuries
- Most children who are bit by dogs are bit while interacting with familiar dogs
Although dog attacks are often associated with certain breeds, any dog can bite—even a known and trusted pet. Dogs often attack when they feel threatened and may misread children’s body language, leading to a bite. Because children are so small, they are far more vulnerable to serious injury than teens and adults when these incidents occur. Children are also more likely to trust dogs, even when they are dangerous, and they are less capable of protecting themselves, putting them at high risk of dog-related injuries and deaths.
Understanding Wisconsin’s Strict Liability Dog Bite Statute
Wisconsin is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites. This means that dog owners, keepers, and handlers are nearly always liable for injuries caused by dog bites, regardless of whether the dog has ever bitten or attacked anyone before.
Unlike some other states, there is no “one-bite” rule in Wisconsin. This means that victims do not need to prove that the dog owner was negligent or had any reason to believe the dog might attack in order to have a case. Instead, the victim must only prove that they were bitten and, as a result, suffered injuries and damages.
Additionally, Wisconsin law allows victims to recover double damages when they are bitten by dogs that have caused injury in the past. If the dog that bit you has a history of aggression, attacking, or biting, and it bit you with enough force to not only break the skin but also cause permanent physical scarring or disfigurement, you could be entitled to additional compensation. You will need to prove that the dog owner knew or should have known that the dog had bitten without provocation in the past. We encourage you to contact our Wisconsin dog bite attorneys to learn more about your legal rights and options.
What to Do After a Dog Bite
If you or your child is bitten by a dog, there are several things you should do right away and in the hours, days, and weeks that follow. Taking these steps can not only ensure your safety but can also protect your right to financial recovery.
After a dog bite, make sure you do the following:
- Call 911 for serious dog bites and attacks
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible if you are not treated at the scene
- Get the dog owner or keeper’s name and contact information (if possible)
- If the dog owner cannot be located, call the local animal control office
- Obtain the names and contact information of any witnesses
- Take pictures of the dog and/or your injuries (if possible)
- Write down everything you can remember about the incident right away
- Report any dog bite or injury that breaks the skin to the appropriate local government agency
- Contact a dog bite injury attorney as soon as possible
Filing a dog bite injury claim can be a difficult and sensitive process, especially if the owner is someone you know. However, when you turn to our team at Lawton Cates, you will receive personal attention and compassionate legal counsel throughout the process. We are dedicated advocates for dog bite victims and are prepared to do everything we can to maximize your recovery.
What Damages Are Available in Dog Bite Cases?
Victims of dog bites and attacks often require emergency treatment and ongoing medical care. They may be left with permanent disfigurement or catastrophic injuries that lead to lifelong impairment. This can affect everything from their physical abilities, emotional wellbeing, earning capacity, and financial stability.
At Lawton Cates, we are committed to obtaining justice for dog bite victims and their loved ones. The exact value of your claim will depend on numerous factors, such as the severity of your injuries, the extent of your damages, your degree of negligence (if any) in the incident, the liable party’s available insurance coverage or ability to pay, and more. That being said, our Wisconsin dog bite lawyers are often able to recover certain types of damages on behalf of our clients.
Depending on the details of your situation, we may be able to recover the following damages in your dog bite injury case:
- All medical expenses related to the attack
- Future projected medical costs
- Lost income/wages, including future earnings
- Diminished or lost earning ability
- Pain and suffering
- Trauma and emotional distress
- Counseling services/therapy
If the dog that bit you or your loved one has a proven history of biting or attacking humans unprovoked, you could be entitled to twice the amount of your damages.
Request a Free Consultation with Our Dog Bite Attorneys
We know just how devastating dog attacks are. We are committed to getting the most money possible in your case. Unlike the impersonal, corporate law firms who treat you like a number, our firm gives you the personal attention you deserve. With our decades of experience, we have the resources, skills, and legal knowledge needed to aggressively advocate for you. When you have questions about your claim, at Lawton Cates, you talk to a lawyer, not an investigator or a legal assistant. We know your case is not just a case, it's your life.
In Wisconsin, you only have three years from the date of injury to file a dog bite lawsuit, and your time to file an insurance claim could be even more limited. Do not wait until it’s too late—reach out to our team today to learn how we can help you seek the justice you deserve.
"Terry took the time to comfortably explain all and discuss options and decision-making that could be done along the way with clear pros and cons and asking me how I’d like to proceed."Jim R.
Compassionate, thorough, & made it easy to understand what’s going on.Riley G.
Lawton & Cates has been the most supportive and helpful!Rachel
"Everyone was so very kind to me... We were all made to feel welcome, made to feel supported, and made to feel like we belong there. That was very important to me since I was pretty stressed out a lot of the time."Susie