A dog bite can cause serious and sometimes permanent damage. When this is the case, a lawsuit may be necessary to compensate for damages caused by a dog bite.
Millions of people are injured by dog bites in the United States every year, with a majority of victims being children. Injuries caused by dog bites can range in severity. Oftentimes, the injury may be more extensive than what is visible on the surface of the skin. A dog bite can damage tendons or muscles under the skin. In some cases, it may even break bones – especially in cases involving children. Stitches are often required and after a puncture wound or laceration has healed, permanent scarring can remain. For some, cosmetic surgery may be required to prevent or lessen the permanent disfiguration caused by a dog bite.
Who Pays The Victim In A Dog Bite Injury Case?
To be clear, we are not seeking to take the dog owner’s house or their personal assets. We are going after the insurance policy on the house. Homeowners are required by state law to carry homeowner’s insurance. The reason for this requirement is for when unfortunate incidents like a dog bite occur. With proper insurance, a victim is ensured compensation for their losses and injuries. That way, a dog owner does not have to pay out any of their personal money to the injured party.
This is important because often times the dog owner is a relative, neighbor, or family friend of the victim. Another reason is that the dog owner may not have sufficient funds stowed away for incidents like this. Fortunately, there is insurance to make sure the victim gets compensated.
Dog Bite Injuries and Minnesota Law
The law in Minnesota states that the owner of a dog who causes an injury is liable for the full amount of the injury (Minn. Stat. 347.21). Minneapolis and St. Paul each have similar city ordinances. The law treats dog bites differently than those caused by other types of accidents (i.e. motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall injuries, etc.). In those instances, the injured party must prove that the wrongdoer was legally negligent, that is, that he or she failed to observe reasonable care in their actions. However, this is not the case in dog bite matters.
If a dog attack occurs without provocation, the law assumes that the owner was responsible and requires that the owner pays for the injuries. This is a strict liability tort. That means it is more difficult for the dog owner’s insurance company to deny liability for the accident. In strict liability cases, like dog bites, the experienced dog bite injury attorneys at Sand Law will fight so that the responsible party and their insurer will meet their legal responsibility to pay the full amount of the injury.
Dog Bites in Public
Dog bites can happen at the homes of friends, neighbors, and family members. However, they can also happen in public places like a dog park or on the sidewalk. Sometimes, dealing with a bite case that involves a friend or family member can be very difficult for resulting in a strife between the victim and the dog owner. Sand Law’s personal injury lawyers can take the stress away from the victim by dealing directly with the insurance company. That way, the victim receives adequate compensation to cover costs and damages.
Dog attacks that occur in public present their own challenges as well. The parks and lakes throughout the Saint Paul and Minneapolis area are especially busy in the summer and fall months. This results in crowded conditions that put dogs and pedestrians in close contact. A dog owner with no personal connection to the victim may try to avoid responsibility by refusing to answer the victim’s phone calls, despite having promised at the scene of the attack to cooperate. An attorney can help the victim in a case like this by filing a lawsuit that legally requires a response within a set time frame.
When is a Lawsuit Not Feasible
In some cases, it will not be possible to sue over a dog bite. For instance, in Minnesota, a dog bite victim cannot sue if they provoked the accident. A dog bite may be considered provoked when a victim did not act with appropriate caution around a dog. Another reason a victim cannot sue in a dog bite case if when that victim was trespassing on private property. For example, if a burglar trespasses into a home and is hurt by a dog in the home, they cannot sue. Finally, Minnesota generally has a statute of limitation of six years to file suit for a dog bite. Following the statutory period, it is not possible to sue due to a dog bite unless under specific circumstances.
Who to Call
Our top-rated Minnesota personal injury attorneys have extensive experience in a wide variety of personal injury cases, including dog bites. We work with the best medical experts in the field. Furthermore, we have built a reputation as dedicated and determined attorneys that obtain outstanding results for our clients. If you or a family member have been attacked by a dog, Sand Law’s professional dog bite injury lawyers can help you receive the compensation you deserve. With offices in Saint Paul and White Bear Lake, we offer in-person meetings as well as over the phone consultations free of charge. Call us at (651) 291-7263 or schedule an appointment online to speak with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers today.