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A look at liability in dog bite cases

On Behalf of | Oct 23, 2023 | Dog Bites

Dog bite cases may seem straightforward, but determining liability can be more complex than it initially appears. Understanding who is responsible for the dog’s actions helps ensure that victims receive the compensation they need to cover medical expenses, lost wages and other related costs.

Several factors contribute to liability in a dog bite case.

Restraint and control

An important part of determining liability is evaluating whether the owner kept the dog under control. Dog owners have a responsibility to keep their dogs under adequate control to prevent them from posing a danger to a third party. If the dog was not leashed or fenced in, the owner may have liability.


One common tactic in dog bite cases is shifting blame onto the victim by suggesting that they provoked the dog. It is important to note that provocation may be a valid defense in some cases, but it does not absolve the dog owner of all responsibility. The burden of proof often rests on the dog owner to demonstrate that the victim’s actions directly contributed to the incident.

Prior bites

Wisconsin has a one-bite rule for dog bites. That means that dog owners face strict liability for any bite after the first one. The first bite sets the precedent that the dog is a bite risk, putting greater responsibility on the owner to take precautions.

With more than 4.5 million people suffering dog bites each year, your risk of such an injury is greater than you might think. Understanding the fundamentals of liability when it comes to dog bites will help you build a case if necessary.