Dog bites are among the most unexpected, violent, and potentially dangerous injuries that a River Falls resident might experience, especially children.
Dogs have powerful jaws that can cause severe damage. Along with the physical trauma, these wounds are notorious for getting infected with the bacteria that lives in a dog’s mouth, and that can come with its own set of serious complications. Dog attacks are also absolutely terrifying, which can leave behind serious psychological scars that will last for a very long time.
If a dog attacked you in River Falls, the team at Nicolet Law Accident and & Injury Lawyers can help. Getting bitten by a dog comes with major financial and emotional costs, and we believe you deserve fair compensation. Fortunately, Wisconsin’s laws are explicitly on your side.
Learn more about how our experienced dog bite lawyers can help you stand up for your rights.
How Wisconsin's No Free Bite Laws Protect Dog Bite Victims
Dog owners in Wisconsin must prevent their pets from attacking or harming anyone, including other dogs.
Wisconsin is a strict liability state, which means that dog bite victims have a lot of legal protections that make it easier for them to get financial compensation.
- Owners are liable for the dog’s very first attack: Some states will allow the owners of aggressive dogs to get off with a warning if their pet has never attacked anyone before, which is essentially a “free bite” doctrine. Dog bite victims in Wisconsin have the right to pursue compensation even if the dog has never shown any aggressive tendencies in the past.
- Owners are liable even if they weren’t negligent: Dog bite victims don’t have to jump through hoops to prove that the dog’s owner was careless in some way, such as not repairing a hole in the fence that allowed their dog to escape. Establishing these kinds of elements is not necessary for a successful claim because, under strict liability, owners are responsible for the actions of their pets.
- Owners may pay more for a second offense: In addition to not getting a “free bite”, dog owners in Wisconsin are subject to higher liability after the first incident of their dog attacking someone. If your attorney can establish that this dog has a history of aggressive behavior, you may be able to receive twice the compensation, which is known as double damage. This is Wisconsin’s legal mechanism to punish irresponsible dog owners for allowing their pets to become a danger to the community.
Why Dog Bites Are Taken So Seriously In Wisconsin
Dogs have strong predator instincts. When something goes wrong in an encounter, and they decide to attack, catastrophe can result. This is especially true when dogs turn aggressive with children, who are the most likely victims of severe dog bites.
A large dog’s jaws can exert over 400 pounds of pressure, which is incredibly destructive to any muscles, nerves, tendons, and even bone that get caught in the attack.
The consequences of a dog bite can include:
- Bacterial Infections: Dog bites will almost always break the skin, allowing the animal’s saliva and its germs to enter the bloodstream. Victims have an extremely high risk of developing a serious infection like MRSA or tetanus, which can spread throughout the body and cause serious complications.
- Nerve Damage: It’s common for dog bite victims to have long-term nerve pain because of the trauma caused by torn flesh.
- Facial Injuries: These injuries can be absolutely devastating, both physically and emotionally. The victim may need reconstructive surgery to recover.
- Permanent Scars: Dog bites can cause lacerations, torn ligaments, and even fractured bones. While this physical damage may eventually heal, the wounds will often leave behind deep scars.
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: The psychological harm of a dog attack is often worse than the physical injuries. Many dog bite victims deal with so much fear and anxiety that they will need counseling to get back to normal life.
The Types of Compensation You May Recover From a Dog Bite Claim
Being attacked by a dog will have a range of financial, emotional, and psychological ramifications, and some of them might even be permanent. Wisconsin recognizes that you’re in this situation through no fault of your own and that’s why you deserve to be compensated fairly for all your damages.
Under the law, the aggressive dog’s owner is considered liable for any costs associated with the injuries, including:
- Medical Expenses: Severe dog bite injuries may require extensive medical treatment or even surgery, and the hospital bills will quickly add up. Your dog bite claim would include any past, present, and future costs related to the attack, including prescribed medications, physical therapy, and psychological counseling.
- Lost Wages: If injuries from the dog bite stopped you from working, you can claim compensation for this missing income.
- Non-economic costs: Some of the damages caused by a dog attack are not tangible, but they’re still real for the victims that have to suffer them. Your claim can also pursue compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, and disfigurement.
Hiring a River Falls Dog Bite Lawyer
Wisconsin’s dog bite laws can make the claim process easier than other states. However, victims still have to prove liability and establish the extent of their damages.
Most dog bite claims will resolve in a settlement with the homeowner’s insurance company, but this process is never a walk in the park. Insurers try to pay as little as they can, and you’ll need a skilled attorney to help negotiate the maximum compensation for everything you went through.
An experienced River Falls dog bite attorney at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers can build a solid case for how these injuries have affected your life and help you get the money you deserve to put this incident behind you. Call us now at (715) 200-3626.
River Falls Office
215 S 2nd St #20
River Falls, WI 54022