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Owner liability for dog bite injuries in Wisconsin

On Behalf of | Oct 10, 2022 | Dog Bites

Dog bites could require emergency medical care, and you may hold the animal’s owner responsible for injuries. The Wisconsin State Legislature’s website notes that owners have strict liability for damages their dogs cause. If a canine bit you, a loved one or your animal, you may file a claim to recover.

Wisconsin’s laws allow you to retrieve the full costs of damages. If a dog’s teeth broke through the skin, you may hold the owner responsible for twice the costs of your damages. Medical records could show how a bite resulted in scars or permanent disfigurement.

Dog owners may raise a comparative negligence defense

To avoid assuming full liability, a dog owner may counter your claim by alleging provocation. Children over the age of seven, for example, may have displayed comparative negligence through actions that caused a dog to react.

Wisconsin courts may apply the rule of comparative negligence when a judge assigns a percentage of fault to each party. Defendants, for example, may attempt to show plaintiffs contributed to their injuries by unnecessarily provoking a dog. In some cases, a judge may reduce the damages by the percentage of the plaintiff’s fault.

Prior dog bites may hold owners strictly liable

If a dog has a prior bite record, its owner could have strict liability for subsequent bites. Even in situations in which a child over the age of seven provoked the animal, you may recover because the owner knew of the dog’s tendency to attack. An owner has a duty of care to prevent a dog from repeating harmful actions.

Wisconsin dog owners could also incur responsibility for an attack that occurred while a caretaker handled the animal. In cases in which a dog caused damage to property, a claim may include expenses for its needed repair or replacement.