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Home » Top 5 Reasons Why You Need A Minnesota Personal Injury Lawyer After A Dog Bite 

Top 5 Reasons Why You Need A Minnesota Personal Injury Lawyer After A Dog Bite 

The Most Common Dog Bite Scenarios and How to Avoid Them  

Dogs have become a common part of many families in Minnesota.  It has also become more and more common to see dogs in public in places that you may not have used to see them.  Many restaurants, bars, breweries, and other business now hold themselves out to be “dog friendly” businesses.  Along with more interactions between dogs and strangers have come more dog bites.

Dog bites are often traumatic experiences, that can cause not only physical injuries and scarring, but emotional trauma as well.  Dog attack victims often experience financial hardship resulting from the injuries, including medical expenses and lost wages.

Unfortunately, the most common victim of dog bites in Minnesota is children.  Attacks often leave physical and emotional scars that can last the child’s lifetime.  If you or a family member have been attacked or injured by a dog, you don’t have to face the situation alone.

In Minnesota, victims of dog bites have legal rights.  Navigating the legal process can be complex, however, especially when dealing with unscrupulous insurance companies, who’s motivation is to pay you as little as possible for your injuries and damages.

In this guide, we’ll explore the top five reasons why dog bite victims should seek legal counsel in Minnesota with an experienced Minnesota dog bite lawyer.

Understanding Minnesota’s Dog Bite Laws

Minnesota has specific laws in place to address dog bites and hold dog owners accountable if their dog attacks or injuries someone. Under Minnesota Statute § 347.22, dog owners are strictly liable for damages resulting from their dog biting or attacking someone, regardless of the dog’s prior behavior or the owner’s knowledge of aggression.

This means that victims do not need to prove negligence on the part of the dog owner to recover compensation for their injuries.  All that needs to be proven under the statute is that the injured person was in a place they were legally allowed to be (that is, they were not trespassing), and they did not provoke the dog.  If this can be shown, the dog owner will be automatically responsible for the dog bite victim’s damages.

However, understanding the nuances of these laws and how they apply to your case requires the expertise of an experienced Minnesota personal injury lawyer. An experienced personal injury lawyer can gather the necessary information and apply the facts of the case to the law to determine what your rights are under Minnesota’s dog bite law.

An experienced Minnesota dog bite lawyer will also make sure to determine what, if any, defenses the insurance company may raise, and take necessary steps to address those possible defenses.  For example, an insurance company may raise a defense claiming that the victim provoked the attack through their actions.  Your lawyer will investigate the claim, including interviewing any witnesses, to determine whether such a defense applies and its likelihood of success.

An experienced Minnesota dog bite lawyer will also recognize that the dog bite statute extends behind just “bites,” and may extend to other situations where a dog injures someone, such as by scratching them, or knocking them to the ground causing injury.

Finding All Applicable Insurance Coverages

Dog bites are often covered under the liability portion of the dog owner’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policies.  An experienced Minnesota personal injury attorney will also seek to identify other possible sources of insurance coverage, including through umbrella policies.  They will also determine if there are any other parties who are not the owner, but who may be considered a “harborer” or “keeper” of the dog under the dog bite statute.

Dealing with Insurance Companies:

After a dog bite incident, victims often need to deal with the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance companies.  Unfortunately, these insurance companies often try to take advantage of people before they have hired a lawyer.  They may do so by trying to get recorded or written statements from the dog bite victim that may be against their interest, or by trying to offer them an inadequate sum of money to try to settle the case early on before the full nature and extent of the injury is known.  They may also try to take advantage of the fact that the injured party may not understand what amounts are fair and reasonable to compensate the dog bite victim for their injury.

These are all typical insurance company tactics that they use in an effort to protect their bottom line. They may use tactics such as questioning the severity of the injuries, disputing liability, or offering lowball settlement offers.

Having an experienced Minnesota personal injury lawyer on your side can level the playing field when dealing with and negotiating with insurance companies. Your attorney will handle all communications and negotiations with the insurance adjusters, protecting your rights and ensuring that you receive a fair settlement that fully compensates you for your losses.

Maximizing Compensation

Dog bites can result in significant injuries, especially if the victim is a young child.  Often, the bites cause lacerations or puncture wounds which often get infected.  Severe bites may also result in nerve damages, tendon and ligament damage, and in extreme cases, broken bones.

These injuries can result in significant financial losses to the victim.  These losses can come in the form of medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and disfigurement.  By seeking legal counsel after a dog bite, you can work with a skilled and experienced personal injury attorney to pursue the maximum compensation possible for your damages from the insurance company.

An experienced Minnesota dog bite lawyer will assess the full extent of your injuries and losses, and build your case through the use of your medical records and bills, doctor’s reports, and expert witnesses.  They will also work with you to be able to communicate to the insurance company the impact that the dog bite and resulting injuries have had on your life.  They will assist you in trying to resolve your claims through settlement negotiations, and be able to provide you with an honest assessment on the value and merits of your claim.

If the insurance company is unwilling to offer a fair and reasonable settlement for your injuries, the lawyer will be there to start a lawsuit to try to force the insurance company to pay more, and if they still won’t, then ultimately take your case to trial. 

Protecting Your Legal Rights:

In Minnesota, periods of time under which a claim must be either settled or a lawsuit started, or the claim is forever barred.  These time periods are known as the statute of limitations.   If you fail to settle your claim or file a lawsuit within this timeframe, you will lose your right to seek compensation for your injuries.

By seeking legal counsel promptly after a dog bite incident, you can ensure that your rights are protected and that you take the necessary legal steps within the required timeframe. Your attorney will guide you through the legal process, handle all aspects of your case, and work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome for your claim.


Dog bite injuries can have serious consequences for victims, both physically and emotionally. If you’ve been bit or attacked by a dog in Minnesota, seeking legal counsel is essential to protect your rights. An experienced Minnesota personal injury lawyer can provide guidance, advocacy, and support throughout the legal process, helping you achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a trusted attorney to discuss your situation and explore your legal options.

Matthew Nelson has been practicing personal injury law in Minnesota since 2010.  He focuses his entire practice on representing individuals in Minnesota who have been injured or killed in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, dog bites, slip and falls, and other types of personal injury claims.  He has taught continuing legal education classes to other Minnesota lawyers on personal injury topics.  His firm, Nelson Personal Injury, represents individuals and families across the state of Minnesota, and provides free consultations.

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