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Minnesota Dog Bite Lawyers

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Award-Winning Minnesota Dog Bite Attorneys 

Many public places involve a chance of dog attack if the property owners or managers allow owners to bring their pets. Dog parks have a high potential for bite accidents due to the high number of off-leash dogs. Popular locations in our area include Lake of the Isles Dog Park and Jean Duluth Dog Park.

A dog can even bite you on private property. No matter the location, Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers can help you pursue compensation for your injuries. Our firm has the skills needed to fight for your rights as a victim of a dog bite. Call us today to see how we can help you.

You can never be sure how an encounter with a dog will turn out. Depending on the dog and the circumstances, you could get a bark, a kiss, or a bite. While no one expects the worst, the reality is that some encounters will result in puncture wounds, infections, nerve damage, and other disfiguring injuries.

If you or a loved one have been hurt by a dog, it is in your best interest to seek the advice of a trusted personal injury lawyer who can assert your rights and help you navigate the claims process. A successful dog bite claim can provide you with financial compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, physical rehabilitation, and other damages.

At Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers, we are committed to pursuing maximum compensation for dog bite victims. With over 100 years of combined legal experience, our passionate Minnesota dog bite attorneys are ready to leverage our knowledge and resources on your behalf so that you can focus on your recovery.  

Dog Bite Injuries

In Minnesota, roughly 370 dog bite injuries occur every year. Bite wounds commonly take place on the legs, hands, and around the head. A bite can harm the soft tissue and cause nerve damage.

A dog’s teeth can break through the skin and leave you with a puncture wound. Some puncture wounds appear minor, but they have a high risk of infection. The bite could lead to other serious medical conditions as well.

Some victims sustain eye injuries after a dog bite. Victims may have scratches or bleeding. In a few cases, an injured person experiences the loss of an eye. The force of a bite could fracture a bone. A person can fall over and break a bone when the dog attacks.

Many injuries heal quickly, but scarring is common. Someone can experience lasting emotional effects after a dog bite accident. They might feel anxious around dogs or suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

License and Leash Laws in Minnesota

Many cities in Minnesota require individuals to purchase a license if they own a dog. Usually, you need to have the pet wear a collar with licensed tags as well. Minnesota does not have a statewide leash law. However, various cities might have rules regarding leashes.

For dangerous dogs, an owner must obtain registration for the animal. Additionally, they have to renew the registration every year. The dog should remain in a proper enclosure when on the owner’s property. When off the property, the owner has to use a leash and a muzzle for the pet.

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Dog Bite Laws in Minnesota

Award-Winning Minnesota Dog Bite Attorneys 

Minnesota law states that the owner of a dog bears liability if the animal bit a person without provocation. The injured person had to have entered the premises lawfully as well. The owner constitutes the primary negligent party, but a temporary caretaker could bear liability as well.

Dog bite laws show favor toward a victim. If a dog injured you, you do not need to work hard to prove negligence like in other personal injury cases. Minnesota has a strict liability rule; thus, the owner has to pay for damages even if he or she did not know the dog would attack.

Another dog bite law has to do with the statute of limitations. You need to make a claim no later than two years after the incident. Otherwise, you most likely cannot get compensation.

Why You Need a Dog Bite Lawyer

Some people sue the at-fault party for injuries without a lawyer. Individuals who pursue a claim without legal representation are pro se litigants, and around 76,512 people do not hire someone to represent them. You might believe that you do not need a lawyer since Minnesota has strict liability regarding dog bite accidents.

However, the dog owner or the at-fault insurance company may argue that you provoked the animal. If the at-fault party can present a successful defense, that party may escape a settlement payment. The defendant may even try to claim you were not a guest on private property.

Get a lawyer to fight against any defenses the at-fault owner or insurance company makes. Additionally, a firm negotiates a settlement for you.

A dog bite attorney at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers can run the numbers related to the damages to determine the value of your case. You do not need to risk a low offer.

Compassionate Legal Representation After a Dog Bite

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At Nicolet Law, our personal injury lawyers assert the rights of dog bite and attack victims throughout Minnesota. We have helped our clients navigate the legal system to make sure they receive the compensation they deserve, and we are committed to supporting our clients every step of the way. 

The skilled injury attorneys at Nicolet Law are prepared to help victims suffering from:

  • Lacerations or scarring 
  • Fractures
  • Emotional trauma 
  • Head injuries 

In addition to offering free initial consultations, Nicolet Law Office provides legal representation for victims of dog bites on a contingency fee basis. We have experience obtaining results for people in a wide range of circumstances and have office locations in Woodbury, Minneapolis, Duluth, and Hibbing.

Summary of Dog Bite Laws in Minnesota 

Minnesota law favors dog bite victims. While many of our clients are under the impression that dogs receive a pass for their first bite, this is not true in the land of 10,000 lakes. 

According to Minnesota Statutes 347.22, a dog’s owner or caretaker is liable for almost any injury that results from an encounter with their dog. As long as the victim was in an area where they were allowed to be and did not do anything to provoke the dog, he or she may be entitled to receive compensation for their medical bills, physical rehabilitation, and emotional trauma. 

It is also important to note that not all animal-related injuries are the result of bites. A personal injury claim can be made anytime someone’s pet causes an injury, including incidents like a dog running into the street and causing a motor vehicle accident, or a dog startling someone into a slip-and-fall accident. Moreover, Minnesota law does not require victims to prove negligence in order to receive compensation. 

In Minnesota, the statute of limitations on dog bite cases is two years. If a victim fails to file a claim before the deadline, he or she may lose their right to bring their dog bite case to court. 

At Nicolet Law Office, our skilled injury attorneys are familiar with Minnesota’s laws and deadlines. We are prepared to help you navigate the claims process and receive the compensation you deserve. 

Who Pays for a Dog Bite?

It is common for people, especially children, to sustain injuries in an accident involving the dog of a friend, loved one, or neighbor. Sadly, this means that many of these victims hesitate to pursue legal action because they don’t want to impose financial hardship on someone they care about. 

However, it is important to realize that dog bite and attack claims are typically paid for by a dog owner’s homeowners insurance policy, rather than by the pet’s owner. Incidents like this are why people carry insurance, and there is no reason to feel guilty for using it to cover the costs of:

The trusted injury attorneys at Nicolet Law Firm also understand that many victims worry about making life harder for an animal owner by filing a claim. However, we believe in respecting our clients and their relationships. If our client wants us to pursue their claim gently out of respect for the dog owner, we will do so.   

What to Do After a Dog Bite or Attack

In the United States, approximately 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs every year. When a dog attacks, many victims are left wondering what to do. If you have been bitten or attacked by an animal, there are a number of steps that should be taken. 

  1. Confine the animal. When a dog attacks or bites someone, the dog should be brought to a safe and controlled location. The victim should obtain the contact information for the animal’s owner or caretaker, if they are not already acquainted.   
  2. Seek medical care. It is crucial that dog bite victims seek appropriate medical treatment as soon as possible. If the skin has been pierced by a bite, the victim may be at risk of developing an infection or rabies. 
  3. File a report. Even if the injuries are not serious, the victim of an attack should file a dog bite report. Completing this step will potentially help others who may be injured or attacked by the same dog.     
  4. Contact a local attorney. The claims process following a dog bite or attack is difficult for a victim to navigate on their own. A trusted, local attorney will be able to help protect the rights of those who have been injured. 

Minnesota Dog Bite Lawyer FAQ

If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a dog attack, you probably have questions about what to do next. Minnesota law may permit you to take legal action for damages, but you’ll probably need a lawyer’s help.

Below you’ll find answers to some commonly asked questions about dog bite cases in Minnesota. To speak for free with a legal professional who can answer more detailed questions about your specific case, contact our experienced Minnesota dog bite law firm today.

What are my rights in Minnesota if a dog bit me?

Under Minnesota law, there’s a good chance you have the right to seek damages from the dog’s owner for the full amount of the injury you sustained. The dog’s owner which includes “any person harboring or keeping a dog,” such as a kennel or dog walker must pay you damages so long as the dog bit you without provocation and the attack occurred in a place where you had the lawful right to be.

How long do I have to seek damages for a dog bite in Minnesota?

Minnesota’s statute of limitations for dog bite injury lawsuits is six years, in most cases. If you fail to take action within that window, you risk losing your rights to receive compensation for your dog bite injuries.

Importantly, however, six years can sometimes be far too much time to wait to take legal action. If you want to secure the maximum compensation available for your dog bite, chances are you’ll likely need to get started far sooner. A delay in enforcing your rights could make it difficult to collect important evidence your lawyer may need to prove your claim. In addition, the longer a claim goes un-made, the less value the dog owner’s liability insurance carrier (who will most likely pay your damages) is likely to assign to it.

Minnesota courts sometimes make exceptions to and/or pause the statute of limitations. But those are rare cases. Contact an experienced Minnesota dog bite lawyer as soon as possible to give yourself the best chance of securing the money you need to pay for medical care and to move on from your dog bite injury.

Should I report a dog bite to the authorities?

It’s usually a good idea. Reporting a bite to animal control authorities puts them on alert to potentially dangerous animals and helps to control the spread of rabies, a neurological illness that is fatal in humans if not promptly treated.

In some Minnesota cities and towns, you may also have a legal obligation to report a bite. For example, the Minneapolis rabies control ordinance requires reporting of bites that require medical treatment to the Minnesota Department of Health or Minneapolis Animal Care & Control. Check the ordinances in your town, or call your local animal control center, for guidance.

If I report a bite, will the dog that bit me get put down?

Probably not, unless it is found to have rabies or it has previously been designated as a dangerous dog under Minnesota statutes or local ordinances.

Typically, after you notify your local animal control authorities of a dog bite, they will investigate to determine if the dog poses a risk to the public. The procedure of this investigation may differ from place to place, but the goal of the investigation is to make sure the dog doesn’t have rabies and is not otherwise a threat to the health and safety of humans, other domestic animals, or livestock. In some cases, the city or town might hold the dog at a local shelter until completing the investigation.

Minnesota‘s administrative code and many local ordinances require dogs that bite to quarantine for ten days as a rabies control measure. Ordinarily, animal control will return a dog found not to have rabies to its owner.

I might have provoked the dog that bit me. Can I still sue?

It’s possible, depending on the circumstances. As we mentioned above, Minnesota law makes a dog owner automatically liable for an unprovoked bite in most cases. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have no options if you somehow acccidentally provoked the dog that bit you. You may still have the right to claim damages if, for example, the owner knew the dog was easily provoked and dangerous, and failed to take reasonable steps to stop an attack from occurring.

Consult an experienced Minnesota dog bite lawyer today to find out if you may seek compensation for your injuries.

Can I take legal action on behalf of my child who suffered a dog bite injury?

In most cases, yes, you can. If your child suffered a dog bite injury in Minnesota, you likely have the right to seek damages on your child’s behalf from the dog’s owner. Unfortunately, young children often suffer severe injuries in dog attacks. Their small stature and unfamiliarity with the warning signs of an agitated dog make them especially vulnerable to being bitten in the face and upper body.

The law generally seeks to protect child victims of dog attacks. For example, courts tend to favor holding owners liable when a child unintentionally provokes a dog or trespasses on property guarded by an aggressive dog, even if those same actions could prevent an adult from recovering damages.

Speak with an experienced Minnesota dog bite lawyer today to learn about your and your child’s rights to seek compensation after a dog attack.

Can I take legal action for a dog bite if the owner posted a “Beware of Dog” sign?

You probably can. Minnesota law holds dog owners responsible for damages when their dog bites someone without provocation in most cases, unless the victim was trespassing. Posting a “Beware of Dog” sign generally does not absolve dog owners of that legal liability. In fact, some courts might interpret the sign as evidence the dog owner knew their canine posed a danger to others.

Is the owner the only person I can sue for my dog bite in Minnesota?

Not necessarily. Minnesota law makes dog owners automatically liable for most unprovoked bites by their dogs, but that doesn’t mean an owner is the only party who may owe damages for a dog attack. Others may share responsibility for a dog bite if their unreasonably dangerous decisions or actions caused the attack to occur.

For example, someone who gets bitten by a stray dog running loose at a shopping center may have a case to make against the shopping center’s owner for failing to keep the property safe for the public.

To find out who else may owe you money damages for the injuries you suffered from a dog bite, contact our experienced Minnesota dog bite injury lawyers today.

How much compensation can I receive for my dog bite injury?

Every dog bite claim has distinctive facts and circumstances that determine how much compensation a victim may hope to receive. The most reliable way to find out how much money a dog owner or other party may owe you is to speak with an experienced dog bite attorney right away.

Generally speaking, the amount of financial compensation a victim can seek will depend on factors such as:

  • The nature and severity of the dog bite injury, especially when a dog bite leaves permanent scars or disfigures someone;
  • How much time a dog bite victim or their parent has to spend away from a job for treatment and healing;
  • The costs of medical treatment, including ambulance service, emergency room treatment, hospitalization, pain medication, cosmetic surgery, and follow-up care;
  • The costs for mental health treatment, especially common when young children need to work through the trauma of a dog bite injury;
  • The extent to which a dog bite victim suffered mental trauma and physical pain due to a dog bite injury;
  • The ability of the owner or other at-fault party to pay compensation, such as the amount of insurance the owner carries.

Experienced dog bite lawyers scrutinize their clients’ cases to determine the full extent of the harm suffered in a dog attack and identify as many potential sources of payment for their clients’ injuries as possible.

How long will it take to get paid for my dog bite injuries?

It’s difficult to predict the exact amount of time you may need to wait to resolve your Minnesota dog bite injury claim. Sometimes a case can settle within weeks or a month or two. Sometimes, a claim for damages can take a year or more to resolve.

Factors affecting the timeline of a dog bite case in Minnesota usually include:

  • How soon after your bite you contact an experienced dog bite injury lawyer;
  • The availability of evidence to support your claim;
  • The strength of the case the lawyer can build on your behalf; and
  • The amount of dispute between you and the at-fault party over liability and the amount of financial damages you deserve.

The sooner you connect with a dog bite lawyer to discuss your case, the faster you can hope to resolve it.

How do I win my dog bite injury case?

Prevailing in your dog bite case starts with reporting the dog attack and contacting an attorney right away.

In addition, you can often improve your chances of winning your case and getting the maximum compensation to pay for your injuries by:

  • Seeking medical attention immediately. Dog bites can cause severe blood loss and potentially fatal infections. Do not try to treat them at home. Seek medical attention immediately after suffering any dog bite injury. In addition to protecting your health, going to the doctor ensures that you will have medical records documenting your injuries, which can help in a future legal claim for damages.
  • Gathering information. At some point after the accident the sooner, the better try to get contact information from anyone who witnessed the dog attack. Also, try to get photos of the dog that bit you and your injuries. Any information you gather may help support your claim and can improve your odds of winning your case.
  • Keeping records and evidence. Keep all receipts, medical bills, pay stubs, and other documents that your lawyer might use to show evidence of the economic loss you’ve suffered. Also, hold onto any items of personal property, including clothing, damaged in the dog attack.

What should I do if the dog owner’s insurance company offers to settle my claim?

Never agree to a settlement or sign any documents from someone else’s insurance company without first consulting with an experienced dog bite injury lawyer.

Insurance carriers who know their policyholders are liable for damages from a dog bite may try to make a direct settlement offer to a victim like you, to tempt you into taking what seems like quick, easy money. But these offers often fall far short of the true value of your dog bite injury claim, and accepting them can leave you without adequate compensation for your medical expenses and other losses.

Agreeing to a settlement almost always means giving up your right to seek further compensation for your injuries in the future. Never trust someone else’s insurance company to protect those rights for you. Instead, leave the negotiation of a settlement of your claim to an experienced dog bite injury lawyer who represents your interests and can get you the maximum settlement available.
To learn more about your rights after a dog bite injury in Minnesota, and to get answers to questions specific to your case, contact our Minnesota dog bite attorneys today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

What Happens if a Stray Dog Bites You?

In some cases, a person sustains an injury from a stray dog. Since the animal does not have a keeper, you might not think that you can receive compensation for the accident. However, you should consult Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers to confirm if you still have a valid case.

If you sustained your injuries on public property, you could sue the municipality for its neglect to maintain a safe area. Someone may have reported the stray dog, but the animal control officer did not react in a reasonable amount of time.

A private landowner could bear liability as well. The landowner should have been aware of the stray dog near the premises, and if the landowner failed to warn the victim or use appropriate precautions, the landowner may bear liability.

Can You Receive Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages work to punish the negligent party to prevent similar actions in the future. According to Minnesota law, punitive damages apply if the defendant had clearly and purposely disregarded the safety of others.

A judge rarely allows a claim for punitive damages for personal injury cases in Minnesota. However, a judge might if the owner’s misconduct posed a serious hazard to the public. Another reason as to why the damages could apply is the degree of the person’s awareness of the dog’s dangerous behavior.

What Should You Not Do After a Dog Bite Accident?

After an accident, you should not give the insurance company a statement or any type of permission to record your conversations. Try not to discuss the details of the case with the dog bite bite owner as the insurance company may try to use what you say against you.

The insurance company may offer you money for your injury. However, you must not accept it without speaking to a lawyer. Once you agree to a settlement, you could lose your right to further legal action.

While you can photograph your bite wound, you should not let the insurance company take pictures. The insurer may find a way to use the image to downplay the severity of the damage.

Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers Can Help You

We know you want to pursue the highest reimbursement possible for your injuries. At Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers, we work hard to maximize the value of your case. Our firm can speak with the opposing side’s insurance company and lawyer for you, so you can focus on your recovery.

For a free case review, contact us at (612) 446-3999 at your earliest convenience.

Call Nicolet Law for a Free Consultation Today

Hibbing Social Security Disability Attorney
Minnesota Dog Bite Lawyers, Russell Nicolet

At Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers, our firm handles dog bite and attack claims on a contingency fee basis. That means we do not charge a fee unless we collect compensation for you. Call 1-855-NICOLET or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation at one of our four Minnesota locations (WoodburyMinneapolisDuluth, and Hibbing).

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225 South 6th Street
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“Russell Nicolet represented me for a personal injury case. He was kind, compassionate, and professional. He made my concerns his concerns. He was quick to respond to my calls and emails. He kept me up to date on the progress of the case. Every interaction with Russel and his staff was a positive experience. If you are looking for a personal injury attorney, I highly recommend Russell, or his colleagues at Nicolet Law.”
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Wisconsin Locations:

EAU CLAIRE:
402 Graham Ave.
Suite 305
Eau Claire, WI 54701

Phone: (715) 835-5959
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GREEN BAY:
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Suite 105
Green Bay, WI 54301
Phone: (920)-504-3655
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HUDSON:
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Hudson, WI 54016

Phone: 715-226-6158
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La Crosse, WI 54601

Phone: 608-527-0876
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Suite 220
New Richmond, WI 54017

Phone: 715-226-6164
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Rice Lake, WI 54868

Phone: (715) 790-1114
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RIVER FALLS:
215 S 2nd St #20
River Falls, WI 54022

Phone: (715) 716-5869
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Superior, WI 54880

Phone: (715) 718-2969
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Wausau, WI 54403

Phone: (715) 716-5092
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Minnesota Locations:

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Suite 606 West
Duluth, MN 55802

Phone: (218) 729-0628
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Hibbing, MN 55746

Phone: 218-217-0659
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Woodbury, MN 55125

Phone: (651) 815-0017
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If we do not get you a recovery in your case, you will not be responsible for any attorney fees, but you still may be responsible for costs expended on your behalf, such as filing fees, medical records, etc.
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