Injured By A Dog Bite In Minnesota? Take These Steps Next
If you’re injured by a dog bite in Minnesota, pain and fear can creep into your life long after the physical wounds have healed. Victims of dog bites have protections under the law in Minnesota, so it’s important to understand what these laws mean for you if you ever fall victim to a dog bite.
Here’s what you need to know about your rights and what you can do if you’re bitten by a dog.
Dog Bites in Minnesota: The Law
The dog bite law in Minnesota is under Minnesota Statute Section 347.22. It states that an injured person may hold the owner of a dog liable for injuries caused by the animal if these things are true:
- The victim was lawfully in the place where the dog bite occurred, whether that’s public property or private property
- The dog was not provoked into biting
- The victim was “acting peaceably” when the bite occurred
The dog bite laws in Minnesota not only apply to the owner of the dog but also any person who may keep or harbor the dog. However, the dog’s owner always takes the primary liability.
What Is Meant By “Strict Liability” in Minnesota?
In Minnesota, there is a “strict liability” rule regarding dog bites. This rule allows dog owners to be held liable even if they didn’t know the dog would bite, attack, or otherwise act aggressively. The dog owner can be held responsible for any injuries sustained by the victim as the result of the dog as long as the requirements of the state statute are met.
Since Minnesota has adopted a strict liability rule, it does not have a “one bite rule,” something found in several other states. The “one bite rule” requires that responsibility for the dog bite can only be imposed if the owner had reason to believe or knew the dog was dangerous. That does not apply in Minnesota dog bite cases.
It is important for the dog bite victim to show that the owner of the dog was negligent, but the past good behavior of the dog does not apply in proving that in Minnesota.
MN Dog Bites: Proving Negligence
In Minnesota, the victim of a dog bite can recover damages based on the grounds of negligence on the part of the owner. Negligence is defined legally as the lack of care that a reasonably careful and prudent person would exercise in the situation.
The victim must prove the owner of the dog did not use reasonable care in working to control the animal if they wish to recover compensation.
Injuries Covered by Minnesota’s Dog Bite Law
Here in Minnesota, damages caused by a dog attack are covered by the law. The injuries covered include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder that results from the attack
- Bite injuries
- Injuries related to being knocked to the ground
- Injuries related to being jumped on
For children especially, these injuries can be severe and take a while to heal – and the fear may never go away.
What to Do If You’re Bitten By a Dog in Minnesota
If you or someone you love is bitten by a dog in Minnesota, it’s important to follow a few simple steps. If you want to take legal action down the road in order to seek compensation for medical expenses and damages, then it’s important that you:
- Get the contact information and name for the owner of the dog as well as the dog’s vaccination records
- Get the contact information for anyone who may have witnessed the attack
- Contact animal control or the police to report the incident
- Record the circumstances of the attack as well as the place it occurred
- Never negotiate your own settlement with the owner of the dog
- Get medical attention as soon as you can for any injuries you obtain, even if the bite does not appear to be serious. Animal bites can cause infections that can take days to make themselves known and cause even more damage.
- Meet with an experienced attorney to help you understand your rights and how to obtain compensation for injuries you suffered
What Injured Minnesotans Can Seek Compensation For
For those injured by dog bites, you may be entitled to compensation such as:
- Coverage of wage loss or loss of future earnings
- Coverage of medical bills
- Pain and suffering
Dog bites are serious events that can stick with a person long after the event is over. That’s why if you’ve been bitten and injured by a dog, you shouldn’t simply sweep it under the rug and hope you recover. Know your rights and what you’re entitled to under the law so you can heal both physically and economically.
About the Author:
A lifelong Minnesotan, founding partner Ronald R. Envall has spent his entire legal career fighting for the little guy, focusing on workers’ compensation, Social Security, and personal injury cases. He has been recognized by SuperLawyers as a Top Rated attorney in Duluth, placing him in the top 5 percent of all workers comp lawyers across the state. In his free time, Mr. Envall serves on the boards of several area government and nonprofit organizations and is a member of the Minnesota Association for Justice, which supports consumer rights.