In Wisconsin, just like any other state in the country, a dog owner whose dog causes injury is responsible for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, disfigurement and emotional injury.
To prevail in a dog bite case in Wisconsin you only need to prove that the dog that caused injury was owned or under the control of a person and the dog caused injury. If the dog has injured someone before you are entitled to double damages. In some states, you are entitled to punitive damages if you can prove that the dog owner’s conduct was particularly outrageous like letting a knowingly dangerous dog run loose. However, in Wisconsin, you cannot recover punitive damages and double damages as the law pertaining to double damages supersedes any punitive damage claim.
Medical Expenses. If you or a loved one have been bitten by a dog one of the biggest expenses is for medical treatment. There was probably an emergency room visit, follow-up care and in some cases plastic surgery to correct scars. The medical expenses can also cover physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychologist or psychiatrist treatment as well as the more standard hospital and doctor services.
In some cases, the dog attack can aggravate the injured victim’s pre-existing condition. For example, if the dog attacks and injures an elderly person and because of the attack the injuries are more severe as opposed to a younger, more healthier person you are still entitled to payment of all of your medical expenses that results from the attack regardless of your physical condition at the time of the attack.
Lost Wages. In addition to medical expenses, if you are injured by a dog attack and lose time from work you are entitled to reimbursement of those lost wages. Further, if you have to miss work for medical treatment or appointments you are also entitled to reimbursement for that lost income. If you are the parent of a minor and you have to lose work for these same reasons because of your child’s injury you are entitled to compensation. In addition, if the injuries are permanent in nature you may be entitled to what is referenced to as a loss of earning capacity for lost income into the future.
Pain, Suffering and Emotional Damages. Both the physical as well as the emotional pain caused the injured person because of the dog attack is extremely important to the injured victim but very difficult on which to put a monetary value. There are no formulas to calculate damages for pain and suffering. Medical expenses and lost income are relatively easy as you simply get copies of the medical bills or copies of wage loss statements and your damage is proven. With respect to pain and suffering and emotional damages it sometimes requires both expert witnesses as well as other witnesses to testify to the impact that this injury has had on the victim’s life.
In some cases, the emotional trauma caused by a dog attack to a child can be much more severe than to an adult. A child may suffer permanent psychological issues causing constant fear whenever they see a dog and in some situations nightmares.
In addition, there can be emotional as well as painful suffering if the dog was not rabies vaccinated. In some situations a series of rabies shot must be endured because of either not knowing or worse knowing the dog was not vaccinated. This can cause both anxiety as well as pain.
As indicated, in Wisconsin, you are entitled to double damages if the dog has bitten or injured someone before. Of course, proof of prior injury must be shown to be entitled to multiple damages. Searching copies of police reports and other incident reports from the surrounding community can establish that the dog has in fact previously attacked and/or been involved in an injury to another person.
Generally, a dog owner’s home owner’s insurance policy or a general umbrella liability policy provides coverage. Sometimes, certain breeds of dogs or in some situations the actual dog itself are excluded from coverage. In these situations, you have to proceed directly against the dog owner to obtain compensation. Unfortunately, in these situations, there may be no ability to pay the substantial damages one is entitled because of the injuries caused by a dog attack.
If you, a loved one or friend have been injured by a dog please do not hesitate to contact me for a free, no cost, no obligation consultation. I have been representing injured victims for more than 27 years and have successful represented many dog bite victims. You can contact me by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (608) 356-3961.