Recently, I received a call from a person asking if I thought he would have responsibility for his dog if it injured a passerby if he had a “beware of dog” sign in the window and he left the window open a crack. He was concerned that somebody may come by and get close enough to the window where his dog could cause injury. He also was convinced that he should have no responsibility under those circumstances if the dog bit and injured a passerby, because of the “sign.”
I explained that, in Wisconsin, a dog owner has strict liability for injuries caused by his or her dog to either another person or a domestic animal or property. I told him that under certain circumstances a judge or jury may assess some responsibility on the injured victim but that his “beware of dog” sign may actually do him more harm than good. I explained that most people would interpret a “beware of dog” sign to imply that the owner had knowledge that his dog could be dangerous. This knowledge might impose a higher duty on an owner and require more than simply placing a sign. It might mean keeping a dog in a pen, in the house without a window open to allow people to get close to the dog, etc.
Fortunately, I do not believe this dog has caused any injury but it did remind me that dog owners must take extra precaution to make sure that people are not injured by their dog regardless of the circumstance. It is always best to avoid an injury. It is especially true if the owner has knowledge that the dog had injured another in the past. In those situations, the second injury can result in the dog owner paying twice the full amount of the damages. This means that the dog owner could be responsible for twice the medical expenses, any disfigurement as well as pain and suffering!
If you are a dog owner, take reasonable steps to make sure your dog does not cause injury to another. If you or a loved one have been injured by a dog please contact me for a no cost, no obligation consultation to explore all of your legal options. Often times, insurance companies will immediately contact you after notice of a dog bite and try to get you to settle the case without being fully compensated. We take these cases on a contingency fee basis which means you do not owe us for our fees unless and until there is a recovery. We have been representing injured victims of dog bites as well as accidents from all kinds for 30 years.
To answer questions or schedule a no cost, no obligation appointment in the Madison area call me at (608) 824-9540, in the Baraboo area call me at (608) 356-3961, statewide at (866) 455-2993, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our website at https://khtlawyers.com.