You know the saying that a “dog is man’s best friend?” A dog can absolutely be a wonderful addition to any family. In 2017, there were an estimated 90 million dogs throughout the United States. While the vast majority of dogs are usually harmless, any dog can react in an aggressive manner if provoked and sometimes without provocation. Here in the United States, dog bites are incredibly common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 4.7 million dog bites occur in the U.S each year. Dog bites can result in severe and debilitating injuries and dangerous infections. If you or a family member are injured in a dog attack, you may be able to pursue compensation for your injuries.
The Implications of a Dog Bite
Every single year, an average of 800,000 Americans suffer dog bite injuries that result in hospitalization. According to the CDC, approximately 20% of all dog bites require some form of medical treatment. Dog bites can cause long-term nerve damage and infections. It is not uncommon for scars to be left behind from puncture wounds. In Wisconsin, pursuant to section 174.02 of the Wisconsin Statutes, a dog owner (or keeper) is strictly liable for injuries caused by a dog. There can also be situations where a dog owner is liable for “double damages” if the owner’s dog had previously (without provocation) bitten a person with sufficient force to break the skin and cause permanent physical scarring or disfigurement (see Wis. Stat. § 174.02(1)(b)).
It is also not uncommon to be injured by the dog of a friend or family member. Making a claim against a loved one if you have been injured can be awkward or uncomfortable. However, Wisconsin is a “direct action” state, which means you do not have to bring a claim or lawsuit against your loved one. Rather, you can deal directly with an insurance company (assuming your loved one had insurance coverage). This is another topic that should be discussed with a knowledgeable attorney who understands not only personal injury law but insurance coverage law....