Dog bites can lead to serious injuries. Depending on the dog breed, these injuries can even be life-altering. After a dog bite, it’s vital to reach out to an attorney who can help you pursue the compensation you deserve. 

As a personal injury attorney at Law Offices of Robert N. Edwards, my ultimate goal is to help dog bite victims move forward. I’m proud to support the community of Anoka, Minnesota, as well as throughout Anoka and Sherburne counties. Set up a simple one-on-one consultation with me as soon as possible.  

Minnesota Dog Bite Law 

Minnesota has a dog bite law that holds dog owners strictly liable for injuries caused by their dogs. This law means that the owner is responsible for any damages caused by their dog, regardless of whether or not they knew the dog was dangerous or had a history of aggressive behavior. 

Under Minnesota law, a dog owner may be held liable for damages if: 

  • The dog caused injury to a person or domestic animal. 

  • The person acted peaceably in a place where they had a right to be. 

  • The person did not provoke the dog. 

It is important to note that the law only applies to injuries caused by dog bites or attacks. If a person is injured in another way by a dog, such as by being knocked over, the owner may still be liable, but under a different legal theory. 

In addition to holding dog owners liable for damages, Minnesota law also requires that any dog that has bitten a person be reported to animal control or local law enforcement within 24 hours. The dog may be required to be quarantined or restrained during an investigation to ensure that it does not threaten public safety. 

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Liability in a Dog Bite Case in Minnesota 

In Minnesota, the liability in a dog bite case is generally placed on the dog’s owner. Please remember that pets are considered ‘objects’ that technically cannot think for themselves. Consequently, dog owners are generally liable unless the victim somehow contributed to the attack by provoking the animal. 

To establish liability in a dog bite case in Minnesota, the injured person must prove the following elements: 

  • The defendant is the owner of the dog that caused the injury. 

  • The dog caused the injury to the person. 

  • The person did not provoke the dog. 

  • The person acted peaceably in a place where they had a right to be. 

If these elements are proven, the dog’s owner will likely be liable for any damages caused by the dog, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. 

Liability may be reduced if the injured person was partially responsible for the attack. Minnesota follows a modified comparative fault system, which means that the damages awarded will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to the injured person. If the injured person is found to be 50% or more at fault for the attack, they may be barred from recovering any damages at all. 

Filing a Personal Injury Claim for a Dog Bite 

Victims of a dog bite in Minnesota can file a personal injury claim against the dog’s owner to recover damages resulting from personal injuries. 

Here are the steps to take to file a personal injury claim for a dog bite:  

Seek Medical Attention 

Health and safety should be your top priority. Seek medical attention immediately to receive appropriate treatment for injuries. Be sure to keep records of medical treatment and expenses. 

Identify the Dog Owner 

It is important to identify the attacking dog’s owner, as they will be responsible for damages. If the dog’s owner is unknown, try to get the name and contact information of any witnesses who may have seen the incident. 

Report the Incident 

In Minnesota, any dog bite that causes injury must be reported to animal control or local law enforcement within 24 hours. This report will help document the incident and ensure the dog is properly quarantined or restrained. 

Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney 

A personal injury attorney can help victims understand their legal rights and options and can help navigate the claims process. They can also help gather evidence and build a strong case to support the claim. 

File a Claim 

The attorney will help file the claim with the dog owner’s insurance company or file a lawsuit if necessary. The claim will include a demand for compensation for damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. 

Negotiate a Settlement 

The attorney will negotiate with the insurance company on victims’ behalf to try to reach a fair settlement. The case might go to trial if a settlement cannot be reached. 

Statute of Limitations 

In Minnesota, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim for a dog bite is generally two years from the date of the injury. This rule means that victims must file their claim within two years of the date of the dog bite, or they may lose their right to seek compensation for their injuries. 

Keep in mind that there are some exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations. For example, if the injured person was a minor at the time of the injury, the statute of limitations may be extended. Additionally, the statute of limitations may be paused if the injured person is under a legal disability, such as incapacitated or mentally incompetent. 

Damages for a Dog Bite Claim in Minnesota 

In a dog bite claim in Minnesota, damages may be awarded to the injured person to compensate them for their losses resulting from the attack. Damages may include: 

Medical Expenses 

This compensation includes the cost of medical treatment for the injuries caused by the dog bite, such as emergency room visits, hospitalization, surgery, medications, and rehabilitation. 

Lost Wages 

If the injured person cannot work due to their injuries, they may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, including past and future lost earnings. 

Pain and Suffering 

The injured person may be entitled to compensation for physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish resulting from the dog bite. 

Scarring and Disfigurement 

If the dog bite caused scarring or disfigurement, the injured person might be entitled to compensation for the disfigurement or loss of self-esteem. 

Property Damage 

If the dog damages the injured person’s property during the attack, such as tearing their clothing or breaking their glasses, the injured person may be entitled to compensation for repairing or replacing the damaged property. 

Dog Bite Attorney Serving Anoka, Minnesota

No one should have to go through the personal injury process alone. At the Law Offices of Robert N. Edwards, I strive to put my clients in a position to seek the compensation they truly deserve. Reach out to me to set up a consultation.