Do I have a personal injury case if I was injured by a dog bite?
In America, we love dogs. We love dogs so much that we invite them into our homes, welcome them into our beds, and do everything we can to take care of them. Dogs truly are man’s best friend. But when a dog turns vicious and injures another person, things can go from fun and friendly to dangerous and life threatening. And although most dog bites are minor, a serious dog bite can be extremely dangerous, especially to children and the elderly.
In Woodbury and across Minnesota, it is up to a dog’s owners to ensure that the animal is secured and cannot hurt anyone. Because of this, if a dog attacks someone, the owner may be legally responsible, especially if they were negligent in preventing their dog from biting or attacking.
The following is some information that can help you if you were injured by a dog bite in Minnesota.
Dog Bite Statistics
- Every year, close to 4.7 million Americans are bitten by a dog.
- Of these nearly 5 million bites, half of them happen to children between the ages of 5 and 9.
- Children are more likely than adults to be injured by a dog bite.
- 1 out of every 5 of all dog bites in the US causes an injury that requires medical attention.
- Dogs who are not spayed or neutered are the most likely to bite a person.
- Dog attacks are inflicted by many different breeds.
- However, the most common breeds that bite people are:
- Labrador Retrievers: 13.3%
- Pit Bulls: 8.4%
- German Shepherds: 7.8%
- Rottweilers: 3.9%
- Chows: 3.5%
- More than $530,000,000 was paid in compensation to dog bite victims in 2014.
- Most people are bitten by a dog they know, like a friend’s dog.
Why Do Dogs Bite?
In order to understand dog bites in general, one must know why dogs bite in the first place. Some of the most common reasons dogs attack or bite people are:
- As a reaction to a stressful situation.
- They are scared or feel threatened.
- In order to protect their owners or themself.
- The dog is ill, like with rabies.
- The dog thinks they were just playing.
How to Prevent a Dog Bite in Minnesota
Once you understand why a dog bites, it is helpful to understand how to prevent a dog bite. The following is some good advice on how to prevent a dog bite:
- Start by choose a dog for a family pet that has a good temperament and has been tested around children and elderly.
- Stay away from strange dogs you don’t know. Don’t approach a random dog and expect them to react the way your dog at home does. Pass this information on to your children.
- Never leave children alone with a stranger’s dog.
- Avoid petting or playing with a dog, especially one you are not familiar with, while they are eating.
- If you do approach a strange dog, walk slowly and put on the back of your hand so the dog has a chance to see you coming and smell you.
- If a dog shows aggression toward you, do not run away or scream. Instead, try to stay calm and get out of the situation. Back away slowly while avoiding eye contact with the dog; dogs see eye contact as a form of aggression.
What should I do if I was injured by a dog bite in Minnesota?
If necessary, call 911 right away. If the wounds are less severe, wash the wound(s) with warm water and soap then arrange to see a doctor or go to the hospital, if necessary.
Certain dog bites can be serious and could result in serious illness, scarring, nerve damage, psychological trauma, or even death from blood loss.
If you or a loved one are seriously attacked by a dog, get help right away. Call 911 or rush to the ER. Treat a serious dog attack as so, and get help right away. Once you are safe and under treatment, contact an experienced Woodbury dog bite law firm.
How to Document a Minnesota Dog Bite
First, go to an ER, urgent care center, or your healthcare provider to begin the process of documenting the dog bite medically.
Next, report the dog bite to the Woodbury Police Department or Woodbury Animal Control. Your local animal control will likely document and investigate the incident, which will be helpful in later legal proceedings.
To help in the reporting, be sure to write down a description of the dog and its location. This will help your local animal control to take appropriate actions and will help to create a thorough report of the attack.
Creating documentation of the incident with different agencies will allow your attorneys to get all the records about your attack, including animal control records, medical records, police reports, and any other records for the attack.
Finally, be sure to document your injuries with video and images. Take pictures and video of your injuries so that they are well documented and indisputable.
Minnesota’s Dog Bite Laws
Minnesota has some of the most favorable dog bite laws for dog bite victims.
Unlike some other states, Minnesota law allows a victim to be compensated for both the actual dog bite and and any other resulting injuries or illness. Minnesota dog bite law also applies to not only the owner of dog, but also a person who may have just been watching or boarding the dog.
Minnesota Statutes, Section 347.22. is great place to read more about specific laws regarding dog bites.
This statute, most notably, makes clear the idea that if you own a dog you are strictly liable for any injuries it may cause to another person if that person had a right to be wherever they were attacked.
One other unique aspect of Minnesota dog bite law is the fact that owner doesn’t have to be aware that their dog may be dangerous. Whether the owner knew or not, if a dog bites someone, they can be held responsible for injuries.
Minnesota also doesn’t care if the owner restrained the dog, like with a chain or fence. If a dog attacks someone in Minnesota, the owner is liable for each and every injury the dog causes to the victim. The only exception here is if the person was trespassing r provoking the dog.
What is the Statute of Limitations on Dog Bites in Minnesota?
A victim has 6 years from the date they were bitten or attacked to file a lawsuit. Therefore, if you were bitten by a dog, do not wait to seek legal advice. Not only is there a time limit, but evidence is
How can a dog owner defend themselves if their dog bites someone?
If a Woodbury dog owner find themselves in a situation where their dog bit someone, the two circumstances that may protect them from a dog bite lawsuit are:
- if the person was trespassing on their property, or
- if the person who was bit was provoking the dog.
If a person is attacked while they are trespassing on another persons property, they more than likely will not have a viable dog attack injury claim. Dogs are commonly used as a home defense tactic; therefore, if someone breaks into your house or yard and is bit, the law considers that justifiable.
However, if you invite someone into your house or onto your property, or they are a customer at your business, then that person is considered to be lawfully on the property and may have a right to recover for their dog bite injuries.
Foe example, the following types of people would most likely have a valid Woodbury dog bite injury claim if they were attacked:
- property owner’s friends or family
- guests at a party or social gathering
- workers or contractors who were hired to work on your property
- postal work or delivery driver
- utility or city worker
- newspaper deliverer
- and anyone else who was invited onto the property.
Likewise, you, or whoever was attacked by the dog, would likely not have a case if they provoked the dog. If someone kicks or taunts a dog, then they bite or attack, the law considers this an expected outcome. However, juries have been known to struggle with what constitutes provocation, since it can be a grey area.
Potential Damages Recovery in a Dog Bite Case
If you were seriously injured by a dog attack in Woodbury or any where in Minnesota, you may be entitled to the following damages:
- Medical expenses
- Hospitals bills, surgery bills, etc.
- Reconstructive surgery expenses
- Psychological therapy
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Disability or disfigurement
- Wrongful death
If you or a loved one sustained serious injuries during a dog attack in Woodbury or anywhere in Minnesota, contact a the qualified legal team at Sand Law LLC. We can be reached by chatting with us online found on the bottom right of this screen, by emailing us with our online contact form, or by calling us at 651-291-7263.