Understanding Minnesota Dog Bite Law
October 15, 2023 – Paul W. Schroepfer & Robert A. Correia
In the United States, the odds of experiencing a dog bite might surprise you. While the idea of getting into a car accident is familiar to many, the prevalence of dog bites often flies under the radar. The Canine Journal indicates that 1 in 74 Americans will suffer a dog bite at some point in their lives. In contrast, the probability of being in a car crash stands at 1 in 63. Despite these striking statistics, dog bites often don’t receive the attention they warrant.
Unfortunately, about 20% of these incidents lead to significant injuries, which means you might be eligible to seek compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, and other related damages.
If you’re dealing with the aftermath of a dog bite, Robichaud, Schroepfer & Correia can help. Contact us at (612) 333-3343. We’re here to provide compassionate, knowledgeable support and help you secure a fair settlement for your injuries according to Minnesota dog bite law.
Minnesota’s Dog Bite Law
Minnesota stands out when it comes to dog bite regulations. Unlike states that adhere to the “one bite” rule, Minnesota enforces strict liability for dog bites.
Minnesota’s dog bite statute states:
“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.”
Minnesota follows the principle of strict liability when it comes to dog bites. This means that the dog owner is liable for damages even if they had no prior knowledge of the dog being dangerous or had not shown aggressive tendencies before.
Full Amount of Injury
The statute specifically states that the owner is liable for damages “to the full amount of the injury sustained.” This includes all direct and indirect costs associated with the injury, encompassing medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages related to the injury.
You are entitled to damages only if you did not provoke the dog. If it’s proven that you teased, tormented, or abused the dog, or trespassed onto the owner’s property, the owner may not be held liable.
The statute protects individuals who were behaving peaceably and lawfully at the time of the dog attack. If someone was breaking the law or behaving aggressively when bitten, they may not be entitled to damages.
While the statute addresses injuries from dog bites specifically, other Minnesota laws permit you to claim additional damages if the circumstances justify them, such as in cases of gross negligence on the part of the owner or if the dog had been previously designated as dangerous.
This is a departure from the handling of other personal injury cases, where you must prove negligence. In the case of a dog bite in Minnesota, if the attack is unprovoked, the onus is on the owner, making it less challenging for you to claim compensation.
Injuries Resulting from Dog Bites
Every day in the U.S., approximately 1,000 individuals require emergency care due to dog bite-related injuries. Injuries commonly associated with dog bites include:
- Scratches and superficial wounds
- Puncture wounds and deep lacerations
- Bruises and potential internal injuries
- Nerve damage implications
- Broken or fractured bones
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Risks of rabies or bacterial infections
Pursuing Legal Action for Dog Bite Injuries in Minnesota
Taking legal action after a dog bite can be a delicate matter, especially when the dog owner is a neighbor, relative, or close friend. You may worry about straining personal relationships by seeking compensation.
However, it’s essential to understand that most dog bite claims are settled through the dog owner’s insurance, such as their homeowner’s or renter’s policy.
But what if the dog owner doesn’t have insurance or if their insurance doesn’t cover the injury? In such instances:
If the dog owner lacks insurance or adequate coverage, you might need to seek compensation directly from the dog owner’s personal assets. This could include any savings, property, or other assets the owner possesses.
In situations where the dog owner agrees to the liability but lacks immediate funds, both parties can sometimes agree upon a structured payment plan to compensate you over time.
If the case proceeds to court and you are awarded a judgment, the dog owner is legally obligated to pay the amount specified. If the owner fails to pay, various legal mechanisms, like wage garnishments or property liens, can be employed to ensure you receive your due compensation.
Upholding Victim’s Rights
It’s essential for victims to remember that your health and well-being are paramount. Medical bills and trauma from a dog bite can be significant, and you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries. While the dog owner’s insurance status can influence the compensation process, it shouldn’t deter you from seeking your rightful claim.
However, it’s always advisable to consult with a dog attack lawyer experienced in dog bite cases. An attorney can offer guidance tailored to your specific situation and help navigate the complexities that arise when insurance is not available.
The Need for a Personal Injury Attorney for Dog Bite Claims
Even if the dog owner has insurance, dealing directly with insurance companies can be a daunting task. They frequently look for reasons to minimize or deny claims. They might contend that:
- You provoked the dog
- You were negligent or ignored warning signs
- You trespassed or were not lawfully on the property
Engaging an experienced Minneapolis personal injury lawyer can negate these challenges. An attorney can methodically investigate the circumstances, negotiate with insurance adjusters, and secure the maximum compensation you are entitled to receive.
Robichaud, Schroepfer & Correia: Your Trusted Dog Bite Attorneys in Minneapolis, Minnesota
The legal team at Robichaud, Schroepfer & Correia brings extensive experience to the table, representing individuals who have experienced dog bites with dedication and thoroughness. We are not only well-versed in Minnesota’s strict liability laws but also deeply empathetic to the physical and emotional aftermath you may be going through.
Prioritizing client well-being, we ensure each case is meticulously handled. Our goal is a favorable resolution, whether that means negotiating a settlement or representing you in court.
If you, or someone you know, has been impacted by a dog bite, reach out to us for professional guidance. To schedule your free consultation with a Minneapolis dog bite lawyer, contact us at (612) 333-3343 or complete our online form. We’re committed to delivering individualized attention and vital support when you need it the most.
Copyright © 2023. Robichaud, Schroepfer & Correia, P.A. All rights reserved.
The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
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