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Most people think of dogs as man’s best friend: our loyal companions that accompany us on walks, make us laugh, and comfort us in times of need. That’s why it’s shocking when we hear about dog bite attacks. Unfortunately, they do happen, and they happen often. Most of the time, it’s not the dog who’s responsible for the attack, but rather how he or she has been raised.
Whether the dog has been bred to fight, left unattended and neglected in a front yard, or raised in poor conditions, there are many outside factors that can foster an aggressive disposition. Understandably, victims of dog attacks are often angry and seeking a way to make the pup’s owner pay. Minnesota state laws allow dog bite victims to do just that.
Across the United States, people are bitten or otherwise injured by dogs almost daily. In fact, dog attacks are on the rise. Last year, there were 42 fatalities from dog bites, up from 32 in 2013. This number doesn’t account for the millions of non-fatal bites and other injuries that occur every year. Pit bulls are largely responsible for the majority of dog bites each year; 27 of last year’s victims were attacked by pit bulls.
This could be because pit bulls are often raised to be fighting dogs, as they’re prized for their muscular build and powerful jaws. In reality, pit bulls are extremely loyal and affectionate, but any animal raised to recognize only violence and neglect will know no other way to behave. Not all dog-related injuries are strictly violent in nature; an excited dog may jump on a visitor and knock him or her to the ground. A frightened dog may bite out of fear. Whatever the cause, there are laws in place that allow you to seek compensation for medical bills and other expenses associated with the injury.
The states are almost evenly divided in how they handle dog bite laws. While some allow a “one bite” rule, Minnesota follows a strict liability statute. This statute states that an owner must take responsibility when his or her dog injures another person, regardless of evidence. Essentially, if you’re bitten by a dog, you don’t have to prove the dog or its owner did anything wrong. If the canine injured you, you have the right to compensation. You do, however, have to demonstrate a few other things:
Injuries other than dog bites are covered under this law. For example, if you were visiting a friend and the dog jumped on you, knocking you down and hurting you, you have the right to litigation. If you were walking down the street and a dog ran at you, scared you, and caused you to fall and injure yourself, you also have the right to sue.
Minnesota allows you to seek compensation either through a strict liability rule or a negligence-based claim. A claim based on negligence states that the owner had a duty to act with reasonable care. For example, if the dog had bitten someone before or was known to be aggressive, the owner is required to use reasonable care and prevent the pup from injuring anyone. In some cases, dog owners may be susceptible to criminal charges – for example, if a dog causes substantial bodily harm or even kills someone. Either way, Minnesota laws allow you to recover the costs associated with your injuries.
You have two years from the date of injury to file a claim within the state of Minnesota, but you should file as soon as possible to build a stronger case. The team at Knutson+Casey Law Firm in Mankato, Minnesota, is experienced across a wide spectrum of personal injury law, including dog bites. We’ll help you get the most compensation possible to pay for your medical bills, time lost from work, and other expenses. Contact us today for a free consultation.