When someone is bitten by a dog, the owner is liable under Minnesota law.
Compensation can include the following:
- Hospital bills and other medical expenses;
- Lost income;
- Pain and suffering, which includes physical pain, emotional distress, disfigurement, disability, loss of quality of life, and embarrassment.
The tendency to bite is based on factors such as the dog’s early experiences, socialization, and the victim’s behavior, as well as heredity. There are situations where the owner has trained the animal in such a way as to make the dog particularly dangerous. If such a dog bites someone, the victim may make a claim for punitive damages, an amount meant to punish and/or deter behavior.
If someone dies as a result of a Minnesota attack, the next of kin have a claim against the owner under Minnesota wrongful death law.
These injuries are usually covered under homeowner’s insurance policies. This means that when an owner is sued, his or her homeowner’s insurance covers that claim. If a business is legally responsible for the injuries, that business’s insurance will probably cover the claim.
Punitive Damages Claim
In certain cases a person may bring a claim for punitive damages pursuant to Minn. Stat. §549.191 and §549.120 against the owner. Punitive damages are meant to punish behavior as a deterrent to future, similar behavior. Punitive damages are awarded where compensatory damages (money for loss of income, medical expenses, pain and suffering, disfigurement) are deemed an inadequate remedy.
Read more about punitive damages.
According to a recent report by the Minnesota Department of Health, there has been a 40% increase in hospital-treated dog attacks in Minnesota in the last few years. The largest number were those treated in emergency rooms. Most of the hospital-treated injuries in Minnesota involved young children.
In 75% of the cases, the person bitten was familiar with the animal. Because the behavior of both young children and dogs can be unpredictable, a young child should never be left alone with a dog, and parents should teach children about prevention at an early age. That said, a dog should never bite a child (or anyone else), and when this happens the owner (and possibly others) should be held accountable. A child has the right to sue for compensation through a legal guardian (usually a parent).
To contact attorney Brendan Flaherty for a free consultation, please submit our free consultation form (click here) or call 612-338-0202 or 1-888-377-8900. Brendan helps people who have been bitten by dogs throughout Minnesota
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