Category Archives: Dog Attack Information

dog bite lawyer in Wisconsin

Dog Bites in Wisconsin

Dogs are one of the most common household pets in Wisconsin. While many owners train their dogs to be obedient and not violent, the same is not true of all dog owners. Even well behaved dogs act out at times, and it can sometimes be difficult to ascertain what is going to provoke a dog to attack. Regardless of the care a dog owner takes to train his or her dog, Wisconsin law dictates that the owner is ultimately responsible for the full amount of damages caused by the dog when it injuries another person, domestic animal or property. (Wis. Stat. § 174.02).

In certain cases, a dog owner may be on the hook for double damages if their dog attacks another person. The law in Wisconsin states that if a dog bites someone with enough force to break the skin and cause permanent physical scarring or disfigurement, the dog owner would be liable for two times the full amount of damages caused when that owner knew that his or her dog had previously bitten another person with force sufficient to break the skin and cause permanent physical scarring or disfigurement without any provocation. (Wis. Stat. § 174.02(1)(b)).

There may be monetary penalties imposed by statute, which are in addition to the damages caused to the person, animal or property discussed above. If a dog has not bitten or attacked in the past, the owner could be liable for a monetary penalty of not less than $50 but not more than $2,500 depending upon the extent of the damages. If an owner has notice that his or her dog has injured someone in the past, that monetary penalty could range from not less than $200 to not more than $5,000 depending upon the extent of the damages caused by the dog.

In some circumstances, a court may order that a dog be killed when a civil action has been filed by a person who was injured by a dog, or by a person whose minor child or animal was injured by a dog. According to Wis. Stat. § 174.02(3)(a), the court must find that two criteria are met before granting an order to kill a dog. First, the court must find that the dog caused “serious injury” to either a person or a domestic animal on two separate occasions off of the owner’s property and without reasonable cause. (Wis. Stat. § 174.02(3)(a)(1)). Second, the court must find that the owner was aware that the dog caused the first injury prior to the time when the dog caused the second serious injury. (Wis. Stat. s. 174.02(3)(a)(2)). The statute requires that the officer tasked with enforcing the judgment of killing the dog shall do so “in a proper and humane manner.” (Wis. Stat. § 174.02(3)(b)).

There is an exception in the statute for dogs used by law enforcement agencies. The exception states that an owner of a dog used by a law enforcement agency is not liable for damages that may be caused by the dog to a suspect while the dog is performing “law enforcement functions.” (Wis. Stat. § 174.02(4)).

On Sunday, March 3, 2019, a four-year-old boy in Layton, Utah was attempting to play with some dogs in the yard next door to his house. When he reached through the fence, a husky-breed dog bit his hand. The dog bit the hand so hard that it was ultimately severed from the little boy’s arm. While a severed limb can sometimes be reattached, the article states that unfortunately that will not be an option for the boy. Authorities searched the area for several hours, but the hand could not be found. They believe the hand may have been eaten by the dog.

While severed limbs are not all that common following a dog bite, victims often do sustain permanent scarring on the parts of their body that were bitten. This can be especially traumatic in young children who are forced to grow up with permanent marks often on parts of their body that are visible to their peers, such as the face. The medical field has come a long way in what can be done cosmetically for these scars, but they typically will never be fully healed. The victim is almost always left with a constant reminder of the attack, which often results in emotional and psychological issues in addition to the physical injuries.

It is important to note that dog bites are not always cut and dry on liability. If the person who was bit did something to provoke the dog, the law in Wisconsin recognizes that there may have been some contributory negligence on the victim. In those types of cases, the dog owner would not necessarily be held 100% responsible for the damages. As long as the dog owner’s negligence was more than the victim’s, however, the dog owner is still responsible for compensating the victim for the portion of the damages caused by the dog.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a dog bite in Wisconsin, the attorneys at Groth Law Firm may be able to help. When a dog bite occurs, it is crucial to take the appropriate steps to ensure that the injury is documented by the proper authorities. Investigation must also be done to determine whether or not this is a dog’s “second offense” thus exposing the owner to liability for double damages.

Time is of the essence in these types of cases. You will want to have a skilled, dedicated and experienced dog bite attorney fighting for you every step of the way. That is where the team at Groth Law Firm comes in. We walk with you through every step of the process ensuring that your rights are protected and your recovery is maximized. Our attorneys are available seven days per week to discuss the facts surrounding your injury and to answer any questions you might have. The Groth Law Firm offers free consultations and does not charge you unless they recover compensation on your behalf. Call the attorneys of Groth Law Firm today at (414) 375-2030.


WI Dog Bite Attorney

Supervised Or Not: Do You Really Know

With the Warm Weather Comes Dog Bite Season

It’s every parents fear: leaving their child in the care of someone else, only to have them severely injured while being “supervised.” This nightmare recently became a reality for a half-dozen families in North Carolina. On March 20th, a stray male pit bull managed to make his way into a Charlotte elementary school. Upon entering the school, the children (many of them understandably frightened) reacted by running and screaming. The dog became overstimulated by this reaction and began to chase after, jump on, and bite no fewer than seven children before a teacher was able to confine the canine. Fortunately, all seven children suffered “minor” injuries.

Nonetheless, with winter coming to an end it is important to note that the number of reported dog bites increases dramatically. With warmer weather, and the end of the school year, more children are outside. The same goes for dogs. Not surprisingly, this combination means that the summer season tends to be the peak season for dog bites.

The attorneys at Groth Law Firm, SC are highly experienced when it comes to representing clients who have been bitten by a dog. Whether the injuries are minor or catastrophic, Groth Law Firm handles every case diligently and aggressively. From the very beginning, the attorneys and investigators work together to determine the dog’s owner, the owner’s insurance policy, and whether the dog has previously attacked someone. This latter fact is especially important when considering that Wisconsin has a law specifically designed to hold dog owners accountable when their dog has attacked more than once.

Wisconsin Statute §895.045 states that the owner of a dog is liable for 2 times the full amount of damages caused by the dog biting a person with sufficient force to break the skin and cause permanent physical scarring or disfigurement if the owner was notified or knew that the dog had previously done so. That is, if the dog owner was previously made aware that their dog had bitten someone else, and the dog does it again, they are liable for twice the amount of damages.

The attorneys at Groth Law Firm are not only aware of this law, but also investigate every case extensively to determine if the statute applies. In cases where the law does, in fact, apply client settlements can increase tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is this attention to detail, as well as a comprehensive understanding of Wisconsin’s dog bite laws, that separates Groth Law Firm from other firms in the state.

If you or someone you know has been bitten by a dog, call Groth Law Firm, SC today. The staff is experienced and knows exactly what it takes to win a dog bite case and maximize your settlement. We are here to make sure that our clients are represented, protected, and compensated.

Attorneys are standing by 24/7 to answer all questions that you might have, and can help navigate you through an undoubtedly difficult time.

For a free consultation, please call (414) 375-2030. You can also visit our website at and live chat with someone who is eager to assist you.


It's important that victims of serious animal attacks report the attack and hire an attorney to compensate your pain and loss.

Treatment After a Dog Bite

We’ve seen a great number of dog attacks in Milwaukee, Racine and West Allis.  I’m not sure whether it is kids walking for Halloween or the moderate weather and everyone is just taking advantage of clear sidewalks before the snow comes.  But, there is a definite uptick in calls about injuries from vicious dogs.

We’ve asked a doctor to give some thoughts about treatments after a dog bite.  Certainly, the best practice is to call 911 and ask for an ambulance or just go the ER or urgent care.  Here is some interesting, and useful info, about treatment after a dog bite and attack:

Dog Bites

Domestic animals, like dogs, are responsible for most animal bites. Injuries from a dog bite make up 85 to 90 percent of animal bites. There are more than 4.5 million dog bites that occur each year in the U.S, half of them children between ages 5 and 9 and are more likely to be injured than adults. Approximately 900,000 dog bite victims seek emergency medical care at hospitals in the U.S. every year. One out of every five of those bites causes an injury that requires medical attention, according to the Centers for Disease Control and more than 25,000 victims require reconstructive surgery.

Bites that don’t break the skin are not at risk for infection. Injuries often occur on the fingers or hands. These may involve structures deep beneath the skin including muscles, bones, nerves, and blood vessels. Infection from dog bites is caused by bacteria. They can be found in the mouth or saliva of the dog. The bacteria then enter the wound after being on the skin or from the environment. Infections like tetanus and rabies need to be considered because these are fatal diseases affecting the nervous system if left untreated. Tetanus and rabies are caused by bacteria and virus respectively.

What to do If Bitten by a Dog

The dog bite victim should go to a safe place away from the assailant dog to prevent further attack. Dog bites may cause laceration or puncture of skin, muscles or bones. Medical care should be accessed by a healthcare practitioner if there is a pain at or near the injury site as well. If there is only a minimal abrasion/bruise present, it is reasonable to watch for signs of infection (pain, redness, warmth, swelling, and drainage of pus or fluid) if the victim elects not to seek medical care.

The immunization status of the dog must be determined immediately by asking the owner that the vaccination is up to date or not including rabies and find out if the dog was provoked or not. Anyone who is bitten by a dog is at risk of getting rabies. Exposure to a rabid animal does not always result in rabies if treatment is initiated promptly following a rabies exposure, rabies can be prevented. If a rabies exposure is not treated and a person develops clinical signs of rabies, the diseased almost always results in death.

First Aid for Dog Bites

Although we can provide first aid for a dog bite at home, it’s very important to see a doctor, especially if the dog is unfamiliar, the bite is deep,  you can’t stop the bleeding, or there are any signs of infection. The first step with a dog bite is to properly clean and assess the wound. The following steps could help prevent infection:

Wounds should be kept elevated and, if possible, wash the wound with soap and tap water.Don’t use cotton to prevent bleeding, apply a sterile bandage instead.Use betadine or another antibiotic ointments to prevent infection from external environment.If the wound is deep, apply pressure with a clean, dry cloth to stop the bleeding.Dog bites can cause infections that need to be treated with antibiotics.


These are some good thoughts about care after a dog bite.   We can’t stress enough the important of getting immediate medical  care.  Better safe than sorry.

As always, please call Groth Law Firm, S.C. with any questions.  We are happy to discuss your situation and will give you and honest answer if there is a case or if there is no need to hire an attorney.  Our initial consultations are always free.

Wisconsin’s New Dog Bite Law and Double Damages

Wisconsin has long held that if a dog has a history of “dangerous” behavior the owner will be liable for any damages AND get penalized for not taking extra precaution.  Knowing a dog is dangerous and letting it off leash or able to roam free and cause ANOTHER injury is worthy of double damages.

In the past “dangerous” dogs were those that caused injury to property or person. The NEW law is much more detailed and requires specific proof of permanent injury.  The new law as of November 2015 is as follows:

On Wednesday, November 11, the Governor signed legislation altering the double damages provision of Wisconsin’s ‘dog bite’ statute, Wis. Stat. § 174.02. Specifically, the legislature altered Wis. Stat. § 174.02 (1)(b) to make it far more difficult to win double damages. Double Damages will now be available only in situations where a dog has bitten a person “with sufficient force to break the skin and cause permanent physical scarring or disfigurement” and where the owner knew that the dog had previously “bitten a person with sufficient force to break the skin and cause permanent physical scarring or disfigurement.”

If a dog in Wisconsin causes injury to someone you love please call our law firm so we can help.   Much more investigation will need to be conducted right away given this new law.   Call us for assistance at 414-375-2030

More on Dog Bites and Homeowner’s Insurance

Recently, I was walking my dog through my neighborhood, and a particularly fierce-looking doberman barked and barked at us as we walked by.  The dog was restrained by only a chicken-wire fence and a baby gate.  He really looked like he wanted to rip us apart, and given the shoddy fence situation, I was hoping he wouldn’t.

Later on when I got home (because I am a nerd, and this is my job), I thought about whether or not the underlying homeowner’s policy would cover my personal injuries and injuries to my corgi puppy, Millie,  had the dog, God-forbid, gotten through the “fence” and attacked us. This is the inspiration for today’s post. Every now and again, this happens. Dog is man’s best friend, yet some dogs can be pretty dangerous if they aren’t socialized and trained adequately.

We have talked about why and how dog owners are liable for the injuries their dogs can cause here.  This post will focus on the insurance policies in this unfortunate situation.

I made an assumption that the folks who owned the doberman were likely renters because it was a multi-unit facility, and I worried about whether or not they had insurance to cover the liability their dog could cause.  If we assume that they did not, I also wondered whether the landlord’s underlying homeowner’s policy could cover the potential injuries.

The answer is that it depends, and that is precisely why you should contact a personal injury attorney to examine any injurious situation.  If you come across a hazard that causes you an injury on rental property, a personal injury attorney can look to the underlying insurance coverage to determine how to proceed with your claim.  If the renter had renter’s insurance with liability coverage, you can recover.  If the underlying property owner’s insurance includes this type of language, you can recover against the policy, and in certain other instances where the landlord was on notice of an unsafe condition, you can recover against the landlord.

You won’t know for sure until you contact a lawyer and have him or her examine your potential claim.

What To Do If You Suffer A Dog Bite

In one of our past posts, we discussed Wisconsin’s Dog Bite Statute. Today, we will focus more on the practical aspects of dealing with a dog bite. Following these tips and tactics can help ensure that you preserve your claim and are able to recover for your injury.

Identify the Dog, Dog Owner, and Potential Witnesses

The moments immediately following the bite could be your only opportunity to identify the dog and its owner. Just as if you were the victim of a criminal assault, it is critical to identify your assailant, and in this case, the dog. Determine the breed if possible, and try to identify and remember other identifying characteristics of the dog like color, face shape, eye color, length of hair, and the like.

More importantly, try to identify the owner of the dog. If the owner is nearby, then get their name, contact information, and insurance information.

If there are any people nearby who may have witnesses the attack, try to get their information as well because their observations will strengthen your case.

I reiterate: this could be the only opportunity that you have to get the owner’s information, the witnesses’ information, and identify the dog. Without this information, it will be difficult to recover on your claim.

Seek Medical Attention

Go to the hospital. Get treatment. Follow up with the treating physicians as they recommend. Do what is necessary to take care of yourself.  Not only is this important for your health and safety, but it is also important to your case.

Do not make statements regarding your Case

This is a blanket rule that will be hard to follow.  It is natural and human for people to want to talk about their case, but you should talk to your case with as few people as possible.  Of course, it is okay to talk with close friends and family.  You will likely have to tell coworkers and your employer if you have to miss work, but try to keep it to a small group.

Avoid posting about your injury to social media, and avoid discussing your case with the insurance company and the defense attorney.  Discussing your case with the other side or posting to social media could jeopardize your claim.

Retain a Dog Bite Attorney

To assist you in not talking with anyone about your case, make sure to hire a dog bite attorney in Brookfield or Milwaukee. An attorney will help you in every portion of your case, from discussing your case with the defense counsel and insurance company, to gaining and interpreting medical records, to settlement, lawsuit, and trial.

A good attorney is the expert that gives you that certain expertise and credibility to make sure that you get the settlement or verdict you deserve.

Double Damages for Dog Bite Cases

Last week a Wauwatosa woman was attacked by a dog with a violent history. The dog caused serious injury to the woman’s ankle. In May of 2009 the same dog attacked a toddler, biting him in the face. The story can be found here.

In a personal injury cases involving a dog bite, evidence of prior incidents regarding the same dog can not only be one of the most important pieces of evidence to prove that the owner is liable for the victims injuries, but according to Wisconsin law, it can mean that the victim is entitled to twice the amount of actual damages. Wisconsin Statute 174.02 states that an owner of a dog who was notified or knew that the dog had previously injured a person is liable for two times the amount of damages.

Feel free to contact Groth Law Firm, S.C.  if you have any questions or would like to discuss your need for a personal injury attorney.  Groth Law Firm, S.C. has offices to meet with clients in Brookfield, Milwaukee, Green Bay and Marinette.

Milwaukee 3 Year Old Attacked By Dog

I don’t quite understand this story.  I get that the dog attacked the little 3 year old.  It sounds serious.  Luckily, we have one of the best Children’s Hospitals in the nation.

I don’t understand the part that talks about how the dog owners told the 3 year old to put the dog back in the kennel.  I assume the dog owners are adults.  Shouldn’t they put the dog back in the kennel.   Here is the quote from the story:

The boy was at a home in the 1500 block of S. Pearl St. and had let the American Bulldog out of its kennel. He was told by the dog’s owner to put the dog back into the kennel, and that’s when the animal bit the boy, police said.

Maybe I’m just confused by the story.  But don’t you agree?

Timely Payment of Claims

There are a ton of laws.  That may be the biggest understatement I’ve ever written.

I mention this because it’s a reason to hire an attorney.  How many people have heard of the “Timely Payment of Claims” Statute.  It’s Section 628.46 of Wisconsin’s Statutes.  It applies to first party insurance payments and also third party insurance payments.  So, if you are injured by someone without insurance and you file an uninsured motorist claim this statute applies.   Because of the “recent” Kontowicz case it applies to claims against an at fault insurance company also.

Attorneys for injured people can push insurance companies to review and make offers to settle cases within 30 days of receiving all of the documents related to an injury.  If the insurance company drags its feet it may be subject to 12% interest.  Or, if the insurance company agrees to that a portion of an injury is definitely related to an accident that insurance company, under the statute, should pay the undisputed amount asap.

For your information the statutes says:

(1) Unless otherwise provided by law, an insurer shall promptly pay every insurance claim. A claim shall be overdue if not paid within 30 days after the insurer is furnished written notice of the fact of a covered loss and of the amount of the loss. If such written notice is not furnished to the insurer as to the entire claim, any partial amount supported by written notice is overdue if not paid within 30 days after such written notice is furnished to the insurer. Any part or all of the remainder of the claim that is subsequently supported by written notice is overdue if not paid within 30 days after written notice is furnished to the insurer. Any payment shall not be deemed overdue when the insurer has reasonable proof to establish that the insurer is not responsible for the payment, notwithstanding that written notice has been furnished to the insurer… All overdue payments shall bear simple interest at the rate of 12% per year.

Chippewa Falls Dog Attack

According to reports a 68 year old woman was attacked by a pack of dogs near her home.  From the report it appears that the dogs acted with a pack mentality.  The four dogs attacked her as she walked along the road.  They then dragged her into a ditch.  She is in critical condition after surgery.

The dogs were a mix of the Labrador and German Shepherd breeds.

This is a good time to review Wisconsin’s dog bite law.   I’ve linked to and posted Wisconsin’s Dog Bite Law (Sec. 174 Wis. Stats.)

When a dog causes injury to a person for the first time (”without notice”):

“the owner of a dog is liable for the full amount of damages caused by the dog injuring or causing injury to a person, domestic animal or property.”

When a dog owner knows that a dog has caused injury in the past and the dog causes injury again (”after notice”):

“the owner of a dog is liable for 2 times the full amount of damages caused by the dog injuring or causing injury to a person, domestic animal or property if the owner was notified or knew that the dog previously injured or caused injury to a person, domestic animal or property.”

If you have questions about the Dog Bite Law in Wisconsin feel free to contact me at 800-950-9882.  I’d be happy to discuss your situation.

Jon Groth is a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney handling cases throughout Wisconsin and most recently in Cascade, Lomira, Janesville and Wauwatosa.