Victims of dog attacks and bites suffer trauma and emotional strain that may fester into a long-lasting experience for them and their families.
Minnesota’s laws regarding dog bite victims are some of the nation’s most favorable. The owner of a dog that attacks or injures a person without provocation is liable to the victim for the full amount of damages.
If you are attacked or injured by a dog, the liability extends to both the owner and the person who is harboring or taking care of the pet at the time of the incident. For example, if your daughter’s babysitter is also caring for a friend’s husky, and your child is attacked by the dog, both the babysitter and the dog’s owner could be liable for the injuries.
What Provocation Means
Minnesota courts have held that a dog owner has absolute liability when the dog attacks or injures someone. The owner’s negligence is beside the point. It does not matter even if the owner used reasonable care and the dog had never demonstrated aggressive tendencies. The only defense the dog owner has is that the attack was provoked.
For a victim’s conduct to be a provocation, it must be voluntary and unnecessarily incites the dog to attack and injure the victim. For the conduct to be voluntary, the victim must know the danger involved. In the example above, if your child merely puts her arms around the husky without knowing there is a danger of doing so, there is no provocation, even though the dog owner may claim otherwise.
When It Gets Complicated
Many victims of dog bites are attacked by a pet owned by neighbors, friends, or relatives. If you or a family member is bitten by a dog owned by someone you know, you may hesitate to act. But seemingly minor bites can result in significant medical bills and other harmful consequences.
Interactions between children and dogs can be particularly problematic. Many children who are accustomed to playing with friendly dogs are attacked when they encounter an aggressive or poorly trained dog. Owners should know their pet’s temperament and accommodate their needs. This is often not done, though. More than 60 percent of all dog bite injuries happen to children, and almost all people killed by dogs are under the age of 15.
If you are attacked by a dog, immediately try to identify the owner or the person with custody of the dog. Get names and addresses and ask for proof of rabies vaccination.
Then, follow these steps:
If you, your child, or another family member is injured by a dog, you may suffer from rabies, lacerations, mental or emotional trauma, or head injuries. An experienced attorney can help you claim compensation for your pain, suffering, medical expenses, and more. Your questions and concerns can be addressed in a free consultation by contacting the skilled personal injury lawyers of Bolt Hoffer Boyd Law Firm at (763) 406-7000.