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Dog Bites in Wisconsin: Legal Considerations and Recovery Options


Dog Bites in Wisconsin: Legal Considerations and Recovery Options

by Nathan Russell, Owner & Managing Attorney

Dog bites can cause serious injuries and legal issues for all parties involved. In Wisconsin, the law governing dog bites is strictly enforced, and dog owners are held responsible for any damages caused by their dogs, regardless of negligence. If you are the victim of a dog bite incident in Wisconsin, it’s important to understand your legal rights and options for recovery.

Wisconsin Statutory Governance

Wisconsin’s dog bite law is governed by Wisconsin Statutes Section 174.02, which holds dog owners strictly liable for any injuries caused by their dog. This means that the owner of a dog is responsible for any damages caused by their dog biting someone, even if the owner was not negligent in controlling their dog. Furthermore, if the dog has bitten a person before, the owner of the dog is liable for two times the amount of damages.

Comparative Negligence Statute

Wisconsin’s comparative negligence statute, Wisconsin Statutes Section 895.045, also affects legal recovery for dog bites. The amount of compensation an injured person can recover may be reduced if they were partially at fault for the incident. For example, if the injured person provoked the dog or was trespassing on the owner’s property, their recovery may be reduced based on their degree of fault.

Legal Considerations for the Injured Party

If you are the victim of a dog bite incident in Wisconsin, there are several legal issues to consider:

  1. Statute of Limitations: There is a statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim in Wisconsin, which is typically three years from the date of the injury. It is important to file a claim within this timeframe, or else you may lose your right to seek compensation for your injuries.
  2. Homeowner’s Insurance: In many cases, the owner of the dog will have homeowner’s insurance that covers dog bite incidents. It is important to determine if the owner has insurance coverage so that the best recovery for your injuries can happen.
  3. Medical Treatment: It is important to seek medical treatment immediately after a dog bite incident. Not only is this necessary for your health and well-being, but it will also document the extent of your injuries and may be necessary to support your claim for compensation.

Seek Legal Advice

It is crucial to seek legal advice from an experienced personal injury attorney in Wisconsin to navigate the legal process and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. If you have been bitten by a dog in Wisconsin, contact the attorneys at Russell Law Offices, SC for a consultation. Our knowledgeable and compassionate team will work tirelessly to protect your rights and ensure you receive the best recovery possible. With eight offices located throughout southern Wisconsin, we are here to serve you.


Nathan Russell

Managing Attorney and Owner

All Locations

About Nathan Russell is the founder and owner of Russell Law Offices, SC.  Born and raised on his family’s fifth generation dairy and crop farm in Shullsburg, he returned to Southwest Wisconsin to practice law in 2009.    Nathan earned a degree in Agricultural Economics and his Juris Doctorate from UW-Madison.  Prior to opening Russell […]

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