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Filing a Dog Bite Lawsuit in Minnesota

by Apr 13, 2021Dea Cortney, Dog Bites, Mike Miller, Personal Injury

Spring is right around the corner, which means many of us will be spending more time outside. Our state’s four-legged residents also enjoy the warmer weather and many dog owners will be walking their dogs in the sunshine, while others will leave the dogs out in their yard to soak up the sun.

Thankfully, the majority of the pet dogs in Minnesota are not aggressive or dangerous. Unfortunately, the few that become aggressive – whether due to human neglect, a physiological issue, or for some other reason – can still do immense damage if they’re allowed to run loose.

If you have been injured by a dog attack, you know how traumatizing the situation can be. You may have new medical needs that must be addressed, not to mention fear and possibly post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the attack. Our MN dog bite attack attorneys believe a dog’s owner should be held responsible for the pain and damage they inflict. We’ll help you build a case and obtain compensation for your injuries.

Purpose of A Personal Injury Lawsuit

A personal injury lawsuit is meant to address the physical, financial, and psychological impacts of an injury caused by another person’s (or dog’s) acts. In the case of a dog bite, the lawsuit may assert that the party responsible for managing the dog failed to do so, resulting in an injury to another party. There is also a strict liability component to Minnesota’s dog bite laws. The law has been interpreted as an absolute, strict liability statute. This means that comparative fault is not permitted as a defense. It makes no difference that the dog owner may have used reasonable care; negligence is beside the point. Past good behavior of the dog is irrelevant. The only way to defeat this is to show that the dog was provoked. This can be very hard to prove and should be analyzed by your attorney to see if it may be a valid defense. More often than not, this defense is not successful in preventing the insurance company from paying for your damages. Because dog bite laws in Minnesota are favorable to the victim, you should seek guidance in seeking compensation for your injuries and other losses.

The injured party may have medical bills, lost wages, scarring, psychological turmoil, and ongoing pain or discomfort to deal with by the time the ordeal is over. The damages awarded in a personal injury case (or the settlement offered by an insurance company) are meant to address the financial implications of these factors.

Sadly, children are often the target of dog bites. Experts theorize this could be due to their smaller size, erratic movements, or simply because the attacking dog is afraid of children. When a child is attacked, they may have lasting, visible scars or disfigurements. As most of us know firsthand from childhood, looking or acting differently often means you will be teased and treated poorly. Some children and their parents decide reconstructive surgery or scar reduction would help the child feel more accepted and confident. In such cases, the damages received in a personal injury lawsuit can go toward these medical procedures.

Determining Whether You Have A Case

Some victims of dog bites believe the injury wasn’t “serious enough” to seek compensation. In reality, most anyone injured by a dog bite does have the option to pursue a lawsuit.

A dog bites personal injury case addresses a number of consequences, including:
Scarring
Infection
Disfigurement
Nerve damage
Non-bite injuries (being swept off your feet and breaking a bone, for example)
Lost wages
Medical bills
Other expenses

If you are injured by a dog, the owner of the dog is most likely liable for those injuries. This can even apply if the dog did not come into physical contact with the victim. The act of charging at someone and causing injury may qualify under the statute. However, the dog’s owner may try to defend the dog’s behavior by claiming you provoked the animal, were trespassing on private property, or if you knew the animal was dangerous and still approached. Don’t pay much heed to these accusations if they’re untrue. Experienced Minnesota dog bite injury attorneys will be able to help you debunk these accusations and prove you were not at fault.

Further, the dog does not need to come into contact with the victim to cause damages.

The pertinent law in Minnesota reads:

Minn. Stat §347.22 DAMAGES, OWNER LIABLE.
If a dog, without provocation, attacks or injures any person who is acting peaceably in any place where the person may lawfully be, the owner of the dog is liable in damages to the person so attacked or injured to the full amount of the injury sustained. The term “owner” includes any person harboring or keeping a dog but the owner shall be primarily liable. The term “dog” includes both males and females of the canine species.

Working With A Minnesota Dog Bite Lawyer

Minnesota personal injury lawyers who represent dog bite victims know the ins and outs of the process. We’ll likely begin by pursuing a legal claim against the dog owner’s insurance company; many homeowners insurance policies cover dog bites. This often ends in a settlement paid by the insurance company, so we may not need to actually file a lawsuit. However, your attorney should always be prepared to take your case to court by compiling evidence of the owner’s negligence and your resulting injuries. When you work with a dog bite lawyer in Minnesota, you’re much more likely to walk away from your injury with the compensation you deserve.

Do you need a Minnesota dog bite lawyer to file a lawsuit on your behalf? Contact our firm today to schedule your initial consultation. Sieben Edmunds Miller’s personal injury lawyers will serve as your advocates and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

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