Get an Experienced St. Paul Dog Bite Lawyer to Help You Protect Your Rights and Get Compensation
A dog attack can leave you, your child, or another loved one with serious injuries that require extensive medical treatment. Minnesota’s strict liability rule for dog bites obligates the dog owner to pay for damages and injuries their dog causes, but establishing liability and pursuing compensation requires complex and challenging legal work.
To improve your chances of getting the full financial recovery you need for your dog bite injuries, you need an attorney on your side with the skills and experience to handle your claim expeditiously.
The St. Paul dog bite attorneys at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers have many years of experience helping people throughout the greater St. Paul Metro and across Minnesota who suffered severe injuries from dog attacks.
Contact us today to request a free consultation concerning your dog bite injury claim so we can get the compensation you deserve.
Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers Can Help with Your St. Paul Dog Bite Injury Claim
Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers has helped injured clients throughout Minnesota for more than 16 years. During that time, we have recovered more than $55 million in settlements and verdicts for our clients, and you can trust we will do all we can to maximize your financial recovery.
When you work with our firm, you will work with a dedicated legal team that has your best interests at heart, and we will provide the advice, support, and guidance you need throughout the process by:
- Collecting evidence to support your claim
- Filing your claim with the insurance company and handling all the paperwork
- Negotiating with the insurance company to get the best settlement possible
- Taking your case to court, if necessary, and fighting for you to help you get the money you deserve
Our lawyers have earned nationwide recognition as some of the top personal injury attorneys in the country, and we have received many awards and honors for our outstanding professionalism and client service. Our firm’s website also proudly displays some of the many client testimonials we have received.
We are fully committed to your case and want to get the full and fair compensation you need to cover all your injuries and losses. Do not delay in contacting us to discuss your options for pursuing compensation and getting the help and support you need along the way.
Minnesota Dog Bite Statistics
On average, Minnesota residents report around 370 dog bites each year. The average cost of medical treatment and other expenses related to dog bites is just over $32,000, which equates to nearly $12 million dollars insurers pay in dog bite injury claims.
St. Paul requires dog owners to register their dogs and obtain a license for any dog over three months old. Additionally, Minnesota requires owners of dangerous dogs to register their dogs with an animal control authority.
Minnesota currently has around 633,000 registered dogs in the state, so there’s always the risk of suffering a dog bite or dog attack anywhere in St. Paul or the surrounding areas.
Why Do Dogs Bite People?
Dogs may attack or bite for various reasons. Biting is a natural response for them. That’s not to diminish the seriousness of a dog bite, though. Some breeds have worse reputations for aggression and viciousness than others, but any breed of dog can bite under the wrong circumstances, regardless of how tame or docile it appears.
The most common reasons dogs bite include:
- Fear or perceived threat: When a dog feels scared, threatened, or cornered, it may bite. This can happen if someone approaches the dog too quickly or the dog feels trapped in a stressful situation.
- Illness or pain: Dogs that are ill or in pain may bite a person to protect themselves from further harm, even if the person poses no threat. An abused or recently injured dog may react more aggressively.
- Guarding behavior: Some dogs may bite or exhibit aggressive behavior to protect their food, toys, or any valuable items they perceive as theirs.
- Lack of socialization: Dogs are social animals, but they can also develop aggressive tendencies if the owner does not adequately socialize them with people and other dogs. This can lead to biting as a defensive response.
- Protective instincts: Dogs naturally protect their owners and their territory. They may bite if they perceive a threat to their family or their immediate environment.
- Predatory drive: Certain dog breeds have a strong prey drive, so they may chase and bite moving objects, such as small animals or children on bicycles. Dogs and their owners cannot always control this instinctual behavior.
Dog owners should properly train and socialize their pets and take measures to keep others safe, using veterinarians or certified dog trainers for help and support. Regardless, Minnesota law holds dog owners liable for the damages their pets cause, so reach out to our attorneys as soon as possible following a dog bite for advice and guidance in getting compensation.
What Are Minnesota’s Dog Bite Liability Laws?
Minnesota’s Statute 347.22 establishes strict liability for dog owners. It makes the dog owner liable for any damages to the person their dog attacked or injured. To hold the dog owner liable, you do not need to establish negligence or show the dog was vicious or aggressive. It also doesn’t matter if the dog had ever bitten anyone before.
However, the dog owner does have several options for defense:
- Provocation: If the dog owner can show you provoked or antagonized the dog prior to the attack, you may not recover compensation.
- Trespassing: If you entered the dog owner’s property illegally when the dog bit or attacked you, the dog owner may challenge your claim.
- Law enforcement: In general, the strict liability rule immunizes law enforcement agencies that use dogs, such as K-9 units. However, in certain circumstances, your attorney can argue against sovereign immunity and hold the law enforcement agency accountable.
If the dog owner can use any of these defenses, their insurance company and legal counsel may refute your claim and deny you compensation. Therefore, contact our experienced St. Paul dog bite attorneys right away to learn of your rights and safeguard your chances of getting the compensation you need.
St. Paul Dog Bite Injury FAQ
What Injuries Can Dog Bites Cause?
Dog bite injuries can range in severity depending on the size and breed of the dog, the location of the bite, the strength of the bite, and the viciousness of the attack.
Some common types of dog bite injuries include:
- Puncture wounds: The dog’s teeth can create deep, narrow wounds that penetrate the skin. Puncture wounds are prone to infection as they can trap bacteria deep inside the tissues.
- Lacerations: Lacerations are more extensive, jagged cuts that can result from a dog's bite or a forceful shake. They may require stitches or surgical intervention to repair the damaged tissues.
- Avulsion injuries: Avulsion injuries occur when the dog tears the skin and underlying tissues away from the body. These injuries often leave flaps of skin hanging or expose muscles, tendons, or bones.
- Crush injuries: A dog's powerful jaws can cause crushing injuries that can damage bones, muscles, and other tissues. These injuries may cause fractures, severe bruising, and tissue damage.
- Nerve damage: A dog bite can injure or compress nerves, leading to temporary or permanent nerve damage. Nerve injuries may result in pain, loss of sensation, or difficulty moving the affected area.
- Infections: Dog bites can introduce bacteria into the wound, increasing the risk of infection. Common bacterial infections associated with dog bites include cellulitis and abscesses. If not properly treated, infections can spread and cause systemic complications.
- Emotional trauma: In addition to physical injuries, dog bites can cause emotional trauma, especially in cases of severe or traumatic incidents. Individuals who have experienced a dog bite may develop anxiety, phobias, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Additionally, dogs can injure you without biting you. A dog could knock you to the ground, or you could trip over the dog, causing you to suffer head injuries, traumatic brain injuries, neck injuries, or spinal cord injuries.
Seek immediate medical attention for any dog bite. Proper evaluation and treatment can help prevent complications, reduce the risk of infection, and ensure appropriate wound care. Additionally, consulting a healthcare professional can assess and address any emotional or psychological impact resulting from the incident.
What Should I Do if Someone’s Dog Bites Me?
If someone else’s dog bites you or your child:
- Ensure your safety: Move away from the dog to a safe location to prevent further bites or injuries.
- Determine the extent of the injury. Go to the doctor no matter how serious the bite appears to rule out any underlying damage and get proper treatment to reduce the risk of infection. Moreover, you will need documentation that you sustained injury and received treatment to file an injury claim.
- Identify the owner: Try to identify the dog’s owner. If the incident occurred in a public place or on someone's property, ask for the owner's contact information. You will need this information to document the incident and obtain the dog's vaccination history.
- Report the incident: Contact your local animal control or non-emergency police line to report the dog bite. Provide them with all the necessary details, including the dog owner's information if available. Reporting the incident ensures that authorities take proper measures to prevent future bites, and you can check on the dog's vaccination status.
- Document the incident: Take photos of your injuries, note the location and time of the incident, and gather any witness statements if possible. These records may help if you need to pursue legal action or file an insurance claim.
Contact Our St. Paul Dog Bite Lawyers
Contact our experienced St. Paul dog bite attorneys for advice and assistance with your claim. A lawyer can gather the necessary evidence, report the incident, and investigate the matter to hold the responsible parties liable. An attorney can also handle the necessary paperwork and file your claim for you, and they can handle the entire process and advocate for you along the way to protect your rights and improve your odds of getting the favorable results you seek.
What Is Minnesota’s Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Injury Claims?
Minnesota’s statute of limitations for most personal injury claims, including dog bites, is six years from the incident. Certain exceptions may affect the time you have to file, so contact our attorneys immediately to discuss your options. If you do not have an attorney file a lawsuit in court regarding your dog bite injury within that deadline, you may forfeit any right you have to obtain compensation.
What Types of Compensation Can I Get for My Dog Bite Injury?
Through successful settlement negotiations or a court award at trial, our dog bite attorneys can recover damages to compensate you for all the costs and adverse effects resulting from your injury, including:
- Medical bills and treatment costs, including future medical care
- Lost income, wages, and benefits
- Loss of future earning capacity if your dog bite injuries result in a permanent disability
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Scarring and disfigurement
You may recover other forms of compensation, and our attorneys can carefully assess your claim and accurately calculate the types and amounts of compensation you need to recover as fully as possible.
Reach Out to Our Experienced St. Paul Dog Bite Lawyers Today
The trauma from the dog attack likely goes beyond the physical injuries you suffered. You may have had to miss work or school to recover, and the whole ordeal has likely caused you considerable emotional distress and mental anguish.
You deserve full compensation for the impact the dog bite injury had on your life, and you need an attorney to get all the compensation you need.