Spring is here and with warmer temperatures, many people get out and about for bike rides, walks or runs on trails. A lot of us enjoy these and other activities with our dog and allow our dogs to spend time enjoying the nice weather in our yards. But what happens if you get injured by a dog? Does it matter if you are in a public or private space? How do the circumstances of the incident impact the case?
Minnesota has a dog bite statute that allows for a recovery even if no bite actually occurs. Minnesota Statute §347.22 is called, simply, "Damages, Owner Liability." A dog owner (or anyone harboring the dog on the owner’s behalf) is strictly liable if a dog attacks or injures a person.
If you are on your bike and a dog runs at you, striking you or otherwise causing you to fall, you have a claim against the dog’s owner or the person harboring it. If you are standing at an event or visiting someone and a dog is running around and smashes into your knee, you have a claim against the dog’s owner or the person harboring it. You are not required to prove the dog's intent. Seems obvious, but some insurance companies have suggested that as a defense and lost. The only defense dog’s owner or the person harboring it has is if you provoke the dog. This defense does not apply to small children. Although these types of statutes involving dogs are commonly referred to as "dog bite" statutes, they are often interpreted much more broadly to allow for recovery. Finally, a commonly asked question is, “Does this apply to cats?” The answer: No.
If you have been injured by a dog and would like to know what your rights are, please contact our office at 651-493-0426 for a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.