People adopt dogs for companionship, and many owners require animal assistance. Regardless of the reason, canines are popular pets. However, many pets have bitten people and inflicted severe injuries.
In Minneapolis, several parks allow dogs to run around without a leash. The areas have a higher accidental potential, and a couple includes Loring Park and Franklin Terrace. You face the risk when you are at the home of a dog owner as well.
If you find yourself with a dog bite wound, you may have the right to pursue compensation. We at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers are here to help ensure you have a successful claim.
Dog Owner Laws in Minneapolis
If someone owns a dog over the age of four months, they need to acquire a collar with license tags. Pet licenses help people identify the owner of the animal for a safe return. You can determine who is the liable party if an unaccompanied dog causes you injuries.
An off-leash dog area allows people to use parks recreationally with their dogs. The pets can run around and socialize with other animals. In Minneapolis, an owner cannot use an off-leash area without a permit. A person can obtain one from the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.
Owners need to meet specific requirements before they purchase a permit. A person cannot use an off-leash park if officials declare the dog to be potentially dangerous. The law defines a dangerous dog when the animal inflicts bodily harm on a person unprovoked.
Additionally, you need to attach a leash to your pet when you enter or leave the designated area.
Who Is Liable for a Dog Bite in Minneapolis?
The responsible party can depend on the circumstances of the incident. In many cases, a victim behaved lawfully when a dog bit them unprovoked. The owner is usually strictly liable if the animal causes bodily harm. They would need to pay for any damages like medical expenses.
While the owner has primary responsibility for a dog bite accident, anyone who has temporary custody can be liable as well. For example, a pet sitter could be considered an at-fault party.
Strict liability means you would not need to prove negligence. The owner may have used reasonable care, or the dog had a history of good behavior. However, the liable party usually has to pay compensation regardless of previous behavior or safety measures.
Additionally, the pet owner can be at fault even if they had not known of the dog’s aggressive behavior. Nevertheless, they do have a few defenses after an accident. They would need to prove the plaintiff voluntarily and unnecessarily provoked the dog.
The injured party’s conduct would have exposed them to the risk of bodily harm. They had to know the potential risk at the time of the accident. Another possible defense is if the victim trespassed on private property.
Why You Should Hire a Dog Bite Lawyer in Minneapolis
Minnesota’s dog bite statute favors the injured person when an accident takes place. Some people may think they do not need the help of a lawyer. In most cases, an attorney can benefit you.
One of the defendant’s arguments may be that the victim voluntarily provoked their dog. They may try to gather evidence to relieve them of liability. The case could become complex if the other party decides to gather any evidence you were on the property illegally.
A dog bite attorney from Nicolet Law Office is useful to fight against these defenses and get you compensation. Most plaintiffs are successful with their claims. However, the insurance company may offer less money than what your case is actually worth.
The insurer could hope you do not know how much you deserve. Another tactic is to downplay the seriousness of your injury. Our team can calculate an appropriate amount for compensation. We can negotiate with the insurance provider on your behalf as well.
A few people might not think they can get compensation if the injury is minor. You could discover a possible valid claim if you consult our attorneys.
What to Do After a Dog Bite Accident
The first step to take is to document your dog bite injury. Photos are a helpful way to show the extent of bodily harm. Besides puncture wounds, you can record any bruises and torn clothing as well. Some people document their injuries throughout the recovery process.
Then, you should get medical attention. Many dog bites are severe, and even minor ones can develop an infection. A doctor can help prevent the spread of bacteria, and they can identify any damaged nerves or bones. Early treatment can reduce future complications.
Additionally, you can obtain records of the severity of the injury and treatment. You can use them in case the insurer tries to devalue your claim. An attorney can inform you what documents can become beneficial.
After you see a doctor, you should identify the dog owner. You usually need their name, address, contact details, and veterinary information. Of course, you should get the name of the owner’s insurance company when you file a claim.
Find a dog bite lawyer to help you with your case. Our law firm can deal with any complications of a claim and help you navigate the legal system.
During some accidents, witnesses were present. Locate and collect the information of anyone who might have seen what happened. Your dog bite attorney can contact the witness later to discuss the incident.
Contributing Factors of a Settlement or Award in Minneapolis
The value of your claim usually depends on what damages you can recover. Medical expenses factor into the final settlement. The bills can include the diagnosis and treatment of lacerations, broken bones, nerve damage, and soft tissue damage.
Some dogs jump onto the victim and cause them to fall. Any injuries related to jumping or falling can contribute to the value of your claim.
Your attorney may look at the ambulance bill and how many days you spent at the hospital. Expenses for surgery, medication, rehabilitation, and therapy can increase compensation. Usually, attorneys wait until victims make sufficient recovery before they calculate the dollar amount.
Several people have to miss one or more days of work to recover from a dog bite. You can get reimbursement for the wages you lost. If you are unable to return to work, you can recover future lost income. You should not have to worry about a period of missed work.
A dog attack can leave a person with emotional scars along with physical ones. Several people develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result. Your settlement could increase due to the pain and suffering you faced from the accident.
Property damage can influence the final settlement as well. Torn clothing, damaged shoes, broken glasses, and a broken phone can provide some compensation.
The dog bite lawyers at Nicolet Law Office have had repeat success at recovering damages for our Minneapolis community members.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Does a Dog Bite?
In a few cases, the dog had a history of aggression. The animal was more likely to bite a person, but other offending pets were naturally peaceful. Different reasons could have led to the sudden decision to bite someone.
When dogs become playful, they tend to nip. Younger pets generally like to play more with each other and humans. A dog might bite too hard on accident. If someone runs away during playtime, the movement could prompt a bite.
A fearful dog is more likely to bite a person. If someone new enters their territory, the pet could attack to defend it. They might try to protect the area or their caregivers. A loud sound could scare them, or the dog might bite if something wakes them up suddenly.
Some pets do not want people to approach them if they have an injury or illness. Regardless of the reason, the owner is often liable for any bites a passerby sustains.
How Can You Take Care of a Bite Wound?
Victims need to go to the emergency room after a dog bite incident
for professional treatment and to prevent infections. In addition, a record of the full extent of your injuries can help your case.
How Long Do You Have to File a Dog Bite Claim?
Once you determine you have a case, you have a limited time to file a lawsuit. The deadline for dog bite accidents is two years after the date of the injury. You should act quickly to protect your right to compensation through a lawsuit.
Two years can go by quickly since you may spend a considerable amount of time in recovery. An exception could apply in a few cases. You should speak to an attorney to see if the deadline has passed. They can answer any questions you have about Minnesota’s statute of limitations.
What Actions Should You Avoid After a Dog Bite Accident?
If you suffer from a dog bite, you should avoid specific mistakes. Try not to downplay the seriousness of the accident with a statement like “it is okay.” You do not want to defuse the situation with an admission of fault.
Some victims try to take the blame, especially if they know the owner. A statement of admission can put your case at risk if you decide to file a lawsuit. Try not to discuss the case with them or their insurance company.
The insurer may try to speak with you and convince you to make a recorded statement. Avoid doing so, and you should not accept an initial offer of money. The dog owner or the insurance provider may pressure you to sign a document or discuss your injuries.
Instead, you can refer them to your dog bite attorney. Our firm can talk to the insurance company for you.
What Happens if You Get Bit While on the Job?
A few employers may bring their dogs to work on occasion. Postal workers might come into contact with a person’s pet. If you were working at the time of the accident, you likely could file a workers’ compensation claim.
If the animal did not belong to your employer, you could file a claim against the owner as well. A dog bite claim can ensure you receive full compensation if the workers’ benefits are not enough.
What Dog Breeds Are More Dangerous?
An owner in Minneapolis should not own a dangerous dog unless they register the animal. Some breeds have a reputation for mauling people. Owners must take precautions with specific dog breeds to avoid liability.
Popular breeds like pit bulls and Great Danes are more likely to bite people. Other dangerous breeds include German shepherds, Doberman pinschers, Rottweilers, and bull terriers. Many of these dogs have some of the most powerful bites among the species.
Do Not Hesitate to Consult A Lawyer
Most dogs are friendly, but they can cause serious damage when they use the full force of their jaws. You may not think you have a case, but Minneapolis and Minnesota law may recognize you as a victim. You can get the money you need to pay medical bills and recover lost income.
If you pursue a dog bite claim, then Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers has your back. We provide free case evaluations where you can learn more about your legal options.
43 SE Main St
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Phone: (612) 688-4459