Wisconsin Dog Bite Injury Guide
The Wisconsin Dog Bite Injury Guide was created by Keberle, Patrykus & Laufenberg, LLP to help residents who have been injured in an accident obtain maximum compensation for their claim.
Dogs are one of the most popular household pets in Wisconsin, but it can be very traumatic to get attacked by a vicious dog. It may ruin your relationship with dogs for the rest of your life. If you were harmed in a dog attack, you are likely seeking the help of our Washington County dog bite attorneys. You are a priority to us and we want to ensure that your case is handled properly. After you learn about dog bites in Washington County, please do not hesitate to give our office a call to set up a free initial consultation.
Most Common Washington County Dog Bite Injuries
When a dog attacks, it can be a serious act of aggression. Maybe they attacked because they felt cornered, they were abused, or they are a defensive animal. Regardless of the reason why they attack, it is likely that the injuries you sustained are substantial.
The most common types of dog bite injuries are as follow:
- Bite puncture wounds
- Broken or fractured bones
- Slip and fall injuries
- Rabies infection
- Scarring and disfigurement
Some dogs can clamp down when they attack which has the potential to cause nerve and tendon damage. The bite punctures are deep and that makes them harder to clean, which increases your risk for infection. These infections can be long-lasting and cause a host of issues that will be included in your list of damages.
The most important thing is that you get your injuries tended to as soon as possible. You should not wait to seek medical attention because you are at a high risk of severe infection, as well as significant scarring if they are not treated properly right away.
When you wait to seek medical treatment, you are putting your health at risk and you are also hindering the success of your case. The liable party’s insurance company will take any excuse to get their responsibility to your case lowered to save themselves money. It is important that you do not give them an excuse to be suspicious of your injuries.
The Liable Party in a Washington County Dog Bite
The first step in any dog bite case is identifying who the liable party is against whom you are going to be bringing your claim. This is likely going to be the owner of the dog or the person who was responsible for the dog. You then are going to have to prove that, because of the actions or inactions of this person, the dog got loose and attacked you, which caused you serious injury.
Wisconsin holds dog owners particularly responsible if their animal is responsible for harming an individual. Some states have a one bite rule where the animal is allowed to bite one person before the owner is held liable for the damage. Wisconsin law states that a dog doesn’t have to have an aggressive incident in the past for the owner to be held liable.
The Laws for a Dog Bite in Wisconsin
When you bring in a dog bite case seeking compensation, you should already be aware of the rules that affect a case in Wisconsin. The sooner you know some of these things, the better off your case will be and the likelier it will be that you are compensated in full. You want to avoid making mistakes that could ruin your case.
Something that would undoubtably ruin your case is if you do not get it brought within the statute of limitations. You are allowed three years from the date of the dog attack to bring your case. If you are delayed in doing so, that can also harm your chance of being fully compensated. Your evidence might disappear and your witnesses might forget the important details of the case that could prove the other party was liable for the incident.
Beware of Dog Sign
A question that often comes up is this: In Wisconsin, in a dog bite case, if an owner puts a “Beware of Dog” sign in the front yard, can you recover damages? The answer is almost certainly yes. Here’s why. If there is a sign there, they’re advertising the dog is dangerous— and yet they arguably let him off of a leash. That sounds like negligence. Every case is different, every fact pattern is different, but putting up a “Beware of Dog” sign in a front yard isn’t likely to help the owner of the dog.
Determining the Value of a Dog Bite Claim
We are often asked, “What is the value of a dog bite case in Wisconsin?” There’s no quick answer to this question, but we can look at some different scenarios and make some estimations. For instance, if a child has been bitten, it’s likely to be in the face. The child is going to have to see any number of doctors, including possibly a psychiatrist and a plastic surgeon. The value of that case is significant. The value of a case can change when we get all the facts and all the liability and the law, but until we put that into writing to the insurance company, that’s going to be our value. If it’s a lesser bite that will not amount to a physical deformity, those cases are obviously in the lower end.
Dog Bite Insurance Adjuster
After you or someone you loved has suffered a dog bite, should you talk to an insurance adjuster? The answer is unequivocally no. Why is that? They’re not your friend. They may pretend to be, but they are not. They are there to save money for their company. They get trained in how to get you to say things that may implicate you, in terms of negligence. That’s what they do. Frankly, most of my clients – probably 70% – talk to them before they come and see me, and that’s a mistake.
Whether you come to our firm where we have experienced trial lawyers or another firm, make sure you do not talk to the insurance company. It’s just a huge mistake. If you have that type of a case, give us a call. We can help.
How Long Does It Take to Settle a Dog Bite Claim?
Another questions we often get is how long a dog bite case takes to settle. It can take a very short period of time or it can take a longer period of time, dependent upon insurance limits and the type of injury. What we do, as we do in all cases, is we investigate thoroughly. We investigate the facts and the law. Assume, for example, it’s a child injury. A child is likely going to have to go for some psychological counseling, which would take some time. The child is also probably going to have to go see some type of plastic surgeon that’s going to look at the scar and give you an estimate of what it’s going to take to treat it.
When we have all of those pieces in the puzzle, we then go the insurance company, and we tell them what the price of the case is. They can say yes or no. We can tell them that this is the result we see in other verdicts similar to your case; if they say no, don’t worry. When you work with us, you know that you’ve hired a trial lawyer. We will try the case. Frequently, when we do this, it can result in more money for you and your child.
Selecting a Dog Bite Attorney
If you’re looking for a dog bite lawyer, you may be looking for success, you may be looking for professionalism, and you look for a trial lawyer, someone that actually goes to a courtroom and makes an argument to a jury. That’s what we do. Dog bites can be a little bit touchy, particularly if there is a child involved. Parents are often incredibly worried about their child. What we do is tell them to do what the doctor tells you to and leave everything else to us, particularly when it comes to investigation. We get someone out there investigating as soon as you walk in the door. Frequently, I’ll get my investigator in the initial conference, so he can get an idea of exactly what happened, where he’s going to go and who he’s going to interview.
Dog bite cases involving a child often involve facial injuries, as well. We’ve had success in these cases. We like these cases because we can prevent a dog from ever doing something like this again. Give us a call.
Treating Dog Bite Injuries
The question is, after being bitten by a dog or having your child been bitten by a dog, what do you do? What do you not do? Number one, go to a doctor as soon as possible and tell the doctor the entire story, particularly with regards to the breed of the dog. Get that information if you can. The doctor will likely test you for infections. What shouldn’t you do? If a doctor tells you to do something, you do it. You unequivocally have to do it because it can come back to hurt you down the road. If you embellish something, that’s even worse. You don’t ever embellish anything to a doctor. It doesn’t help them, and it doesn’t help your case down the road. If I find out that one of my clients told a boldface lie to a doctor, they are no longer my clients.
The primary things to do are to give the doctor all the information and do everything they say; you’ll be fine. If you have a case like this, give us a call. We can help.
What to Do After a Dog Bite Injury
In Wisconsin, what should you immediately do following a dog bite? Number one, get medical treatment. This is especially important in dog bite cases because dogs can create infections in wounds. It happens, and it can be significant, so get yourself some medical treatment or your son or daughter medical treatment right away.
Number two, the insurance company will be in touch with you. I tell my clients to confirm your name, that’s fine. Ask them what their name is, get their phone number, and, finally, get the claim number. The reason is because when you find a lawyer to take the case, that lawyer is going to need all those details. At the end of the conversation with them, you say, immediately, “Now, I will call you. You don’t call me. I will call you. You don’t call me.” Why? Because you don’t want them to call you. They’re just trying to protect their company. They are of no help to you.
The last thing is to hire a lawyer, and not just any lawyer. Hire a trial lawyer. Trial lawyers are known by the insurance companies; when the insurance company gets your lawyer’s name, they ask themselves, “Does this firm try cases?” Settlements can go up if they know that. These insurance companies know how many types of cases they try as well. They’re going to know, if they do their research on my firm, that we try dog bite cases, as well.
In summary, number one, get medical treatment. Number two, don’t talk to insurance companies. Number three, find yourself a good trial lawyer. Ask he or she how many cases they try a year. Ask them how many cases they’ve tried over their career. If you need us, give us a call. We can help.
Will My Dog Bite Case Go to Trial?
In Wisconsin, if you have a dog bite, how do you know the case is going to go to trial? Short answer is you already know. This is your case. You make that call. About 70% of our clients come in with a notion that there’s no way in heck they’re going to trial. They’ve heard too many stories and are afraid. Those are all legitimate emotions. What happens during litigation is we prep you as long as it takes for you to feel comfortable. When you walk into the deposition room and the insurance defense lawyer is about ready to start asking you questions, you’re going to be at peace because you’re going to be bulletproof. That’s a guarantee. Same thing with trial; we’ll prepare you again and it won’t take nearly as long.
Once our clients go through that process, a lot of them decide that, yeah, especially if the insurance company is not being fair with us in providing full and fair compensation, it’s time to put them to trial; let’s go. At the end of the day, it’s your call. If you have a case like this, give us a call. We can help.
Call Our Washington County Dog Bite Attorneys Today
Getting injured in a dog bite can have a huge impact on your life. We understand what you might be feeling following this incident. You are most likely in a lot of pain and we are sincerely sorry that you are going through this difficult time.
Our Washington County dog bite lawyers are here to help guide you through the necessary steps to get you a full and fair compensation award. We will work with you against the insurance company of the liable party to get you a result that you deserve.
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