Minnesota Dog Bite Laws
There have been several publicized dog bite incidents in Minnesota in recent years. While dogs are generally harmless companions, a dog can cause severe injuries if it attacks. Dog bite victims may spend weeks in the hospital after a serious attack. Dog owners are responsible for the actions of their pets, so if you have been the victim of a dog bite attack, you may have a claim.
Minnesota statute provides 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. 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.”
This law basically creates strict liability for dog owners. You may be liable if your dog bites someone even if it has never shown signs of aggression before.
Defenses for Dog Owners
The primary defenses for dog owners are provocation and trespass. Provocation means that the victim of the attack did something to cause the dog to attack. You cannot mistreat a dog and then sue if the dog responds by attacking you. The statute reflects common sense reasoning, but the application can be more difficult. What constitutes provocation is a difficult question.
If you are attacked while trespassing or while you are someplace that you cannot lawfully be, you may also be barred from suing. Dogs often serve as protectors of the home. This defense recognizes that if someone tries to break into your house, for example, the person should not be allowed to sue if your dog bites him.
Victims of Dog Bites
If you or someone you know has been injured by a dog bite or attack, you may consider contacting an attorney. An experienced lawyer can help you bring a claim against the owner of the dog to recover for the damages you have sustained.