Godfrey, Leibsle, Blackbourn & Howarth, S.C.
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Responding to a personal injury caused by an animal bite

There are millions of households across the country that have pets. As a result, animal bites have affected thousands of people. Even dogs, or other pets, that an owner would swear were gentle and would never cause harm have been known to attack a completely innocent person. Unfortunately, animal bites can have serious financial and physical ramifications — including infection or disease. As a result, many people in Wisconsin have sought legal recourse in form of a personal injury claim filed in a civil court.

While laws governing animal attacks vary by state, some states — such as Wisconsin — are known as strict liability states. This means that an animal owner is responsible for an attack even if they did not suspect the animal might attack unless it can be proven that the owner took reasonable action to prevent an attack. In addition to an owner, there are others who may be held liable in the event of an animal attack. These include the parent of a owner who is a minor, a person who is responsible for the care of the animal (such as a kennel owner), the owner of the property who allowed the animal on his or her land or a landlord.

A victim of an animal attack could be awarded damages to cover lost wages, medical expenses and pain and suffering, among others. In some cases, punitive damages could be awarded if it can be proven that the pet owner was more than negligent — that he or she was also reckless.  This could include, for example, an owner who knew his or her dog had violent tendencies, but still allowed the dog to roam free in an area where small children were known to be, and a child was attacked.

The ramifications of an animal attack are often severe, causing serious injuries that may result in missed work and a lifetime of fear of other animals. Fortunately, there are legal options in the form of a personal injury claim for those who have suffered in such a manner in Wisconsin. An experienced attorney can help guide an animal attack victim through the process of seeking civil justice for his or her injuries.

Source: FindLaw, “Dog Bites and Animal Attack Overview“, Nov. 11, 2014

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