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Dog Bites & Your Legal Rights
July 31, 2015
Animals will be animals. Left to our vices – we all occasionally revert to our instincts. Although your dog might be your best friend, your dog is also a domesticated animal. While he or she may be well-trained and intelligent, no dog is perfect and there can be many reasons for unpredictable behavior.
There is always a chance that your dog may attack someone. Often, these attacks happen out of a dog’s comfort zone. Maybe you took your dog sledding, and he or she attacked an individual in a ski mask. Or a man in the dog park may have been attempting to put a leash on his dog before your dog attacked.
Situations may arise, and your dog may handle a certain situation in an aggressive manner. If your dog injures another individual, especially in Minnesota, you may have to pay hefty damages to compensate the victim unless you can prove the victim was the majority at fault, e.g. the person provoked the dog in some way. In general, it is always a good idea to avoid potential liability by limiting your dog’s exposure to potentially aggressive situations.
What To Do When A Dog Injures You
On the other end of the spectrum, if you are attacked by someone else’s dog, under certain circumstances, you may have a claim against the owner or harborer of the animal. In the aftermath of an attack, you’ll want to consider a number of factors. Some initial information to gather after receiving medical attention may include: the owner of the dog, whether the dog is up to date with shots and where the dog was being kept or housed during the attack.
Another important consideration in making a dog bite claim is whether you were lawfully present in the place of the attack. If you were attacked during a time when you broke into someone’s home, you may not have a claim. You may also need to consider if you knew the dog posed any risk to you before the attack.
If you have been injured by a dog you did not provoke, in a place you were legally allowed to be – you likely have a claim for compensation for your injuries.
Dog bite laws in Minnesota are relatively favorable for victims of dog bites. Unlike in other states, it is not generally necessary to show the owner or harborer knew the dog was dangerous or had attacked someone before (sometimes referred to as the “One-Bite Rule”). To the contrary, in Minnesota, even absent awareness of a dog’s dangerous propensities, the owner or harborer may still be exposed to liability.
The strict liability scheme may allow for a relatively straightforward claim to ensure a quick and easy recovery. If a dog in Minnesota injures you, you’ll want to consult a lawyer experienced in dealing with injuries resulting from animal attacks. Call or email Martineau Leonard for a free consultation and to have all your questions answered.