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Who’s Responsible for a Dog Bite?

Who's Responsible for a Dog Bite?

Many dogs are friendly members of your family, but even friendly dogs might bite when they’re scared or protecting their food, puppies, or owners. More than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States, and more than 800,000 receive medical attention for dog bites, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). If you or a loved one has recently been injured due to a dog bite, you may have the right to recover damages and compensation from the insurance company of the dog’s owner.

Dog Owner Liability

There are three kinds of instances that impose liability on dog owners: 

1. “One-bite” Rule
In some states, the dog owner is not liable for the first dog bite. After the dog demonstrates vicious behavior, the owner can be held liable. Some states however, including Minnesota, do not enforce this rule, and the dog owner is responsible for any injury the dog inflicts.

2. Dog Bite Statute
Even without provocation, the dog owner is liable for any damages or injury the dog causes. 

3. Negligence Laws
The dog owner is liable if they were careless in controlling or training their dog.  

Dog owners may not be liable for injuries their dogs cause if it was a trespasser who was injured by their dog. Dog owners are liable for injuries their dogs cause in the following situations:
1. If the owner knew the dog has an inclination towards this kind of injury.
2. If the injury was caused by unreasonable carelessness on the part of the owner.

If the dog owner is found liable for the dog bite, they may be responsible for reimbursing the injured person for lost wages, pain, anxiety, medical bills, and property damage. 

Minnesota Dog Bite Laws

Minnesota Statute §347.22 states that, “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.”  

That means that in Minnesota, as long as there is no “provocation,” and a person is not trespassing, any and all damages sustained as a result of an attack by a dog are the legal responsibility of the owner of that dog. These damages may include medical bills, as well as compensation for disfigurement, pain, suffering, and emotional distress experienced as a result of the attack. 

Nelson Personal Injury

If you’ve been injured by a dog bite, the attorneys at Nelson Personal Injury are here to help protect you. We know that you will have many questions about your rights and the claim process, and we always take the time to explain the process and your rights to you. Contact us today by filling out our form on our website , or calling us at (320) 252-1200. All consultations with our experienced attorneys are free and there is no obligation.

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