Does the Minnesota dog bite statute require a bite to recover?
Dogs play an important role as companions and protectors. However, a dog that is not properly trained or cared for can become dangerous, especially to people who are not their owner. Many dog owners do not know how to properly train their dogs, or how to prevent their dogs from becoming a danger to others. The most common type of injury caused by dogs are bites. When a dog bites someone, this is the legal responsibility of the dog owner or current caretaker. If you have been recently injured by a dog, you may have a viable personal injury claim so that the costs of recovery do not impact you financially.
Dog Bite and Dog Injury Law in Minnesota
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. The term “owner” includes any person harboring or keeping a dog but the owner shall be primarily liable. The term “dog” includes both male and female of the canine species.
Here in Minnesota, liability extends beyond just dog bites. In legal terms, “dog bite law” refers to the group of laws surrounding dog owner responsibilities regarding injuries caused by the dog. Minnesota liability for dog injuries include all injuries caused by the dog, not just bites.
If you have been
- Knocked down and injured by a dog
- Scratched by a dog’s claws
- Bitten by a dog
- Other injuries by a dog’s actions
Then the dog owner is liable for the cost of your medical recovery. As the statute makes clear, a dog owner is anyone who either officially owns the dog or is currently keeping or caring for the dog whether or not they have ownership paperwork.
What to Do After a Dog-Related Injury
Most of us do not expect a neighborhood dog to suddenly become dangerous. Whether the dog was happy, angry, or frightened; it’s important to take the right steps after an injury to both take care of yourself and hold the dog’s owner responsible for their pet’s behavior. We’re here to offer a helpful guide on what to do in Minnesota after you have experienced a dog-related injury.
Get a Safe Distance from the Dog
The first step is always to make sure that you are safe after the incident. Get yourself a safe distance from the dog as soon as possible. If you can, make sure the dog is subdued and leashed so that they do not have a chance to continue the injuring actions or to hurt anyone else. However, if the dog is out of control and/or unleashed, your first priority is to get away.
Do not run, as dogs instinctively chase. Instead, move steadily away from the dog until you have created distance.
Call for Emergency Medical Attention
Always place your safety and medical treatment first after a personal injury. If you are bleeding or badly injured, call for emergency services as soon as you are safely away from the animal. If necessary, ask another person on the scene to dial and do the talking. You may want to call 911 or arrange for a ride to the nearest emergency room, depending on your local situation.
Collect Information From the Dog Owner
It is very important to get the name and contact information of the dog’s owner. If the owner is a stranger to you, this must be done at the scene when the dog injures you, or collected from information on the dog’s collar tags. If the owner is a neighbor and you know their address, this information can be found or collected later.
If necessary, ask someone else at the scene to get the information while you attend to your injury first.
Get Medical Treatment for Your Injuries
Make sure you seek complete medical treatment. Beyond your initial trip to the emergency room or doctor, get a full diagnosis of your injuries and your roadmap for recovery. Make plans for your future medical needs and get in touch with your insurance to make sure that the initial expenses will be covered. Get an idea of the potential total cost for your recovery and any time you will need to take off work.
Document Your Injuries with Photos and Doctor Reports
Work with your doctor to fully document the extent of your injuries. Your doctor’s records will provide exact proof. In addition, you should take photographs of the injuries before they begin to heal to make a strong case for your injury liability.
Write Down What Happened and How the Dog Injured You
It will also help to fully record the events leading up to and during the dog-related injuries. As you can see from the statute quoted, the primary exception to liability is whether the dog was provoked and the attacked was acting peacefully. Your account of what happened along with the account of any other witnesses will establish whether the law sees the dog and its owner as responsible for the injury.
So sit down and write out how it happened, as best as you remember from the moment when you and the dog were in the same area.
Call a Minnesota Personal Injury Attorney
When your injuries are cared for and you have collected information, it’s time to get in touch with a personal injury attorney. The right lawyer with experience in Minnesota dog related injuries can help you build a case for liability, which can ensure that the dog owner or their insurance helps pay for the medical costs of your recovery. You should not have to bear the financial burden for an injury caused by someone else’s dangerous or poorly trained pet. Together, you can take steps to cover your costs and ensure that the owner never consider’s their dog’s misbehavior to be an issue of non-concern again.
Contact us to get in touch with a personal injury attorney and hold the dog owner liable for the recover costs of your dog-related injuries.