Emergency Law Inventory | Full Law Text

Law Number

Wis. Stat. 895.484

Summary Title

Liability: Entering a Vehicle to Provide Assistance


An individual who believes, in good faith, that a person or pet animal is in danger and forcibly enters a vehicle to prevent harm will not be held legally responsible for damage to the vehicle or injury to the person or animal if: the individual determined that forcible entry was required, contacted emergency service personnel before entering, did not use more force than necessary, and the individual remained with the person or pet animal until emergency service personnel arrived or the individual otherwise left written notice for the vehicle owner regarding the forcible entry.

Full Title

Civil liability exemption; entering a vehicle to render assistance

Full Text

(1) In this section: (a) “Domestic animal” means a dog, cat, or other animal that is domesticated and kept as a household pet, but does not include a farm animal, as defined in s. 951.01 (3). (b) “Vehicle” means a motor vehicle, or any other vehicle, that is used to transport persons or cargo and that is enclosed. (2) A person is immune from civil liability for property damage or injury that results from his or her forcible entry into a vehicle if all of the following are true: (a) A person or a domestic animal was present in the vehicle and the actor had a good faith belief that the person or domestic animal was in imminent danger of suffering bodily harm unless he or she exited or was removed from the vehicle. (b) The actor determined that the vehicle was locked and that forcible entry was necessary to enable the actor to enter the vehicle or to enable the person or domestic animal to be removed from or to exit the vehicle. (c) The actor dialed the telephone number “911” or otherwise contacted law enforcement, emergency medical services, or animal control before he or she forcibly entered the vehicle. (d) The actor remained with the person or domestic animal until a law enforcement officer, emergency medical service provider, animal control officer, or other first responder arrived at the scene. (e) The actor used no more force than he or she reasonably believed necessary to enter the vehicle in order to remove the person or domestic animal or to allow the person or domestic animal to exit the vehicle. (f) If the actor left the scene before the owner or operator of the vehicle returned to the scene, the actor placed a notice on the windshield of the vehicle that included his or her name, telephone number, and mailing address, the reason he or she entered the vehicle, and the location, if known, of the person or domestic animal when the actor left the scene.