Dog bites can happen if the dog owner does not have their dog under control or if the dog is running loose. Dog bite injuries often cause lasting physical and emotional pain-injuries could require more than one surgery and extensive medical care. The incident could also cause you anxiety whenever you see a dog, even if it’s not the same dog that bit you.
The Green Bay dog bite lawyers at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers have experience handling dog bites, including experience with local and state laws. If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one because of a dog bite or dog attack, contact a Green Bay dog bite attorney as soon as possible for a free case evaluation.
Dog Bite or Attack Liability
Wisconsin uses a strict liability rule for dog bites. When a dog bites or otherwise causes injury to someone, the law holds the dog owner liable for the injuries, even if the dog owner was not aware that their dog was dangerous.
However, if the dog owner knew or should have known that the dog was dangerous, the dog owner could face additional liability in double damages. The dog owner also risks the court ordering euthanasia if the dog has bitten or attacked another person or pet before.
How a Green Bay Dog Bite Lawyer Can Help
After a dog bite, you can recover damages from the owner or their insurance company. However, the insurance company will try to deny your claim or offer you a pittance. A Green Bay dog bite lawyer works to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
Your legal team will investigate the case, including learning whether the dog is a repeat offender and to whom the dog belongs. Your legal team will also take care of settlement negotiations for you. During settlement negotiations, the attorneys could go back and forth more than once. Depending on the circumstances, this process could take a few days or a few weeks.
If the insurance company refuses a fair and reasonable settlement, your Green Bay dog bite lawyer will be ready to take your case to court.
What Types of Injuries Do Dog Bites Cause?
Even a dog that weighs less than 5 pounds can cause extensive damage when it bites, especially to children. Dog bite severity is usually worse when a larger dog bites because the dog has more strength in its jaw.
Injuries might include:
- Scratches, scrapes, cuts, bumps, and bruises.
- Road rash, if the dog pushes you down on concrete or pavement.
- Traumatic brain injuries, if the dog causes you to fall.
- Strains and sprains, if you trip over the dog when it is attacking you.
- Simple and compound fractures.
- Face and eye injuries.
- Head, neck, and shoulder injuries.
- Back and spinal cord injuries.
- Amputation if the dog mangles a digit or a limb to the point that doctors cannot save it.
Some injuries could also lead to complications, including:
- Severe bleeding, especially if the dog’s tooth nicks a vein.
- Nerve damage.
- Infection of bite wounds.
- Diseases such as rabies, tetanus, and MRSA.
Does the Law Require a Dog to Be Put Down?
It depends on the circumstances. Usually, the law does not require the dog owner to put the dog down with the first bite. However, if the dog had bitten before and caused severe injury to you or your pet, or the dog owner knew or should have known that their dog was dangerous, the court might order euthanasia.
During the case investigation, our Green Bay dog bite attorneys can find out more about the dog. He can recommend euthanasia to the court if he finds that the dog has severely injured another person or pet before.
What to Do After a Dog Bite
If the dog bite is not too severe and you can take the time, take a photo of the dog and the bite. If the owner is with the dog, obtain the dog owner’s contact information. As soon as possible, seek medical attention to ensure that the bite is properly cleaned and, if needed, stitched up.
If you cannot do anything because the bite or attack is too severe, call first responders. If a friend is with you, they can call. Ask your friend to take photos of the dog and obtain the owner’s contact information for you.
The information will help your Green Bay dog bite attorney locate the dog owner and determine whether the dog “has a record.”
Even for minor bites, you should seek medical attention. Should the dog transfer a disease or your bite become infected, you will have documented the bite.
Recovering Damages After a Dog Bite
Many factors factor into the amount of compensation you could receive for a dog bite, including age, the severity of the bite, additional damage, such as broken bones, and whether the injuries might cause permanent physical and emotional damage.
Our Green Bay dog bite attorneys work with medical professionals to review your medical records and determine the severity of the injuries and possible disabilities. Part of looking at possible disabilities includes determining how your injuries or disabilities will affect your ability to work.
We submit an offer based on the compensation you deserve to the defendant or their insurance company. If the insurance company or defendant does not agree, we don’t hesitate to pursue a court case.
Damages you recover could include economic damages and non-economic damages. Both types are compensatory damages, which the court orders in an attempt to make you whole again.
Sometimes referred to as special damages, economic damages have a monetary value.
After a dog bite, you will most likely have medical expenses, even if the bite is minor. Medical expenses include doctors’ appointments, prescriptions, surgeries, follow-up appointments, ambulatory aids, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and cognitive therapy.
If doctors expect your injuries to become long-term or permanent disabilities that affect your ability to walk, the defendant is also liable for hand controls for your vehicle and updates to your home to make it more accessible, including but not limited to handrails, grab bars, widened doorways, and wheelchair ramps.
You will most likely be out of work for a minor bite for at least a few days. However, a severe bite could keep you out of work for months or even permanently. The defendant is responsible for paying for lost wages. If your injuries cause long-term or permanent disabilities, the defendant is also responsible for paying the loss of future earning capacity until the time you would typically retire.
In some cases, a dog bite or attack can kill someone, especially a smaller adult or a child. If you lost a loved one because of a dog bite incident, you could recover funeral and burial expenses, cremation expenses, and certain probate expenses.
You could also recover non-economic damages, which do not have a monetary value.
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress.
- Loss of quality of life.
- Loss of companionship and consortium.
- Loss of use of a body part or bodily function.
- Amputation of a limb or digit.
- Inconvenience if you have to hire someone to do your regular chores.
- Excessive scarring and disfigurement.
Dog Bite FAQ
What Happens if the Dog’s Owner Leaves the Scene of a Dog Bite Incident?
If a person knows their dog bit someone, they must provide the victim with his name, address, phone number, license number, pet’s name, and insurance information. If the person leaves the scene, the police could charge her with a crime.
Where Do I File a Case if a Dog Bit Me While I Was Out-of-State?
You must generally file a claim in the County Court of the community where the incident took place. In addition to our Green Bay office we have several other Wisconsin offices. Contact one of our offices if you are unsure where you should file the claim.
What if the Dog’s Owner Called the Insurance Company and They Call Me With a Lowball Offer?
Do not accept any offer by an insurance company without talking to an attorney first. If the insurance company mails you documents, do not sign them until you have a Green Bay dog bite lawyer review the records. Contact our office with the insurance company’s information, and we call the insurance company to discuss your injuries and the compensation you deserve.
The insurance company has several tricks up its sleeve, including telling that they only have the “authority to settle” for a certain amount and only for that amount. They use this tactic to intimidate you into signing the lowball offer.
How Long Do I Have to File a Dog Bite Case?
You have up to three years-in most cases-to file a dog bite accident case in Wisconsin. However, never wait that long. Instead, contact a Green Bay dog bite lawyer as soon as possible. It takes some time to investigate a case and conduct settlement negotiations with the defendant or insurance company.
Additionally, evidence could disappear within days or weeks of the accident, and the weather could erode the proof, or the dog owner might inadvertently or purposely destroy any evidence.
How Do I Pay Medical Expenses Until I Receive My Settlement?
You can use your medical insurance to cover most medical expenses. Depending on the circumstances, you might be able to use your homeowner’s insurance to cover some medical costs. Once you receive your settlement, we reimburse your insurance for you.
We can also ask your medical professionals to extend credit to you pending your settlement or trial award.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Check Once We Reach a Settlement?
Once you reach a verbal or written (email, letter) settlement, one attorney drafts a settlement agreement and forwards it to the other attorney for review. When both attorneys agree that the settlement agreement represents the agreement, they forward a copy of the settlement agreement to the plaintiff and defendant to review.
Once you review the settlement agreement, you can:
- Agree that it is correct.
- Disagree and ask for changes.
If you ask for changes, your attorney will forward your changes to the defendant’s attorney for review. If the defendant’s attorney agrees, the attorneys amend the settlement agreement. If the defendant’s attorney does not agree to your changes, the attorneys will review the correspondence to determine who is correct.
After both parties sign the settlement agreement, the insurance company or defendant’s attorney processes the document and cuts a check to your attorney.
Once your attorney receives the check, he deposits it into trust account. He must wait until it clears the bank before taking the next steps.
After the check clears the bank, your attorney will:
- Pay any outstanding medical expenses you have.
- Reimburse your insurance companies, if applicable.
- Review the contingency agreement and your account, then deduct his attorney’s fees and costs.
- Cut you a check for the balance.
Once you receive the check, you can deposit it and use it as you please.
Working with a Green Bay Dog Bite Lawyer at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers
A dog bite can be devastating, and the attack could cause severe emotional distress and physical injuries. If the injuries are bad enough, they could lead to long-term or permanent disabilities and loss of work.
To ensure you receive the compensation you deserve, contact a Green Bay dog bite lawyer at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers at (920) 504-3655 for a free case evaluation.