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A Guide To Minnesota’s Dog Bite Laws And Owner Liability

Every year, thousands of people are injured by dog bites in the United States. Minnesota is no exception. To ensure justice for victims of dog bites, state legislators have enacted dog bite laws that impose certain obligations on dog owners and that provide remedies for those injured by dog bites.

This article provides an overview of Minnesota’s dog bite laws and owner liability. It examines the duties of dog owners, the compensation available to those injured by dog bites, and the legal process for filing a claim. Additionally, it identifies certain steps that should be taken in a Minnesota dog bite case.

This article strives to provide an understanding of the legal rights and responsibilities associated with dog bites in Minnesota and how the legal process works.

In Minnesota, the legal responsibility of a dog owner for a bite or attack is highly dependent on the circumstances of the incident. Under Minnesota law, a dog owner is strictly liable for damages if the dog bites someone on public property or while the victim is lawfully on private property. An owner may also be liable for damages if the dog behaves in a dangerous manner, regardless of whether or not it has previously bitten someone. In some cases, an owner’s higher standard of care may also be applicable.

It is important for those injured by a dog bite to understand their rights and the remedies available to them. This article provides an overview of Minnesota’s dog bite laws and owner liability.

By 1-800 ASK GARY !

Overview of Minnesota’s Dog Bite Laws

Minnesota Statutes Section 347.22 outlines the state’s dog bite laws and establishes strict liability for owners whose dogs cause injury.

According to this law, a ‘dangerous dog’ is defined as any canine that has caused physical harm to a person, killed another animal, or been used to commit a crime.

In some cases, exceptions and exemptions to strict liability may apply, such as an animal being provoked by another person or if an intruder was on the owner’s private property.

Minnesota Statutes Section 347.22 and Strict Liability

Strict liability for dog bites is imposed by Minnesota Statutes Section 347.22, making owners responsible for any damages caused by their dog’s actions. The statute states that the owner shall be liable for any damages caused by the dog, regardless of the dog’s past behavior or the owner’s knowledge of the dog’s viciousness.

The following points provide a better understanding of Minnesota Statutes Section 347.22 and strict liability:

  1. The owner of the dog is liable for any damages caused by their dog’s actions.
  2. The owner is liable regardless of their knowledge of the dog’s viciousness.
  3. The owner is liable regardless of the dog’s past behavior.
  4. Liability is limited to the actual damages caused by the dog.

Under Minnesota Statutes Section 347.22, owners are held accountable for any damages caused by their dog’s actions. This strict liability imposes responsibility on owners for their dog’s actions, and for the damages resulting from those actions.

Definition of a “Dangerous Dog”

Under state law, a dangerous dog is defined as a canine that poses a significant risk of harm or injury to humans, other animals, or property. The Minnesota Statutes Section 347.50 lays out the criteria for a dangerous dog as specified by the state. These criteria include dogs that display vicious behavior, have previously injured a person, or are used for fighting or hunting.

In addition, dogs that have a history of aggressive behavior, such as unprovoked attacks or excessive barking, may also be deemed dangerous. A dog may also be considered dangerous if it is found to be in violation of any leash or confinement laws.

This means that any dog that is not restrained on the owners property or is not under the owners control when out in public may be considered dangerous. Furthermore, any dog that has escaped its enclosure or is found to be running at large can be classified as a dangerous animal.

Exceptions and Exemptions to Strict Liability

Exceptions and exemptions to strict liability for a dangerous dog owner may be available in certain circumstances. Depending on the state, such exceptions may include scenarios in which the victim provoked or antagonized the dog, or was illegally on the owner’s property at the time the bite happened. These scenarios may also include the dog being held or used by law enforcement or a veterinarian at the time of the bite.

Additionally, some states do not impose strict liability if the dog has been previously designated as ‘dangerous’ by a state or local authority. Minnesota state law allows for a defense of contributory negligence to be used in cases of dog bites, which means that if the victim was partially responsible for the bite, the owner may not be held strictly liable.

Understanding Owner Liability in Minnesota Dog Bite Cases

Dog owners in Minnesota are responsible for controlling their dogs to ensure the safety of others. When a dog bites or causes injury to another person, the owner may be held liable for any damages.

If a dog is found to be dangerous, but the owner fails to take the necessary steps to control it, they may be subject to criminal charges or civil liability for any resulting injuries.

Minnesota's Dog Bite Laws 1

Responsibilities of Dog Owners

Failure to meet the responsibilities of dog ownership may result in severe consequences for the owner.

In Minnesota, dog owners are required to take reasonable steps to prevent their animal from injuring or threatening other people, as well as other animals. This includes keeping the animal under control and on a leash while outside the owner’s property.

Dog owners must also ensure their animals are vaccinated against rabies and licensed.

If a dog bite or injury occurs, the owner is liable for all damages that result from the incident.

Minnesota law also holds dog owners responsible for their animals behavior, even if the owner had no prior knowledge of the animals dangerous tendencies.

In some cases, a dog owner may be held strictly liable, regardless of the precautions taken or lack thereof to prevent injury. This means the owner is responsible for all damages caused by the animal, regardless of whether the owner was negligent or not.

In these cases, the injured party does not need to demonstrate negligence in order to receive compensation.

Liability for Dog Bites and Injuries to Others

In certain circumstances, a dog owner may be held liable for any damages caused by their animal, regardless of any precautions taken. Liability for dog bites and injuries to other people can depend on the circumstances of the incident and the laws in the state where the owner resides.

In Minnesota, the dog-bite statute holds owners liable for bites or injuries caused by their animal, regardless of any prior knowledge of the animal’s dangerous propensities. The statute also allows for victims to recover damages if the animal has bitten another person in the past.

In addition to the dog-bite statute, Minnesota also has laws that hold owners accountable for other injuries or damages caused by their animal. Under Minnesota law, when a dog or other animal causes injury or death, the owner may be held responsible for the full amount of damages. Depending on the specific circumstances, the owner may also be liable for punitive damages.

Furthermore, if the owner is found to have acted recklessly or negligently, they can be held liable for any damages caused by their animal.

Consequences of Failing to Control a Dangerous Dog

Neglecting to control a dangerous dog can have serious consequences for both the animal and its owner. If an owner allows a dangerous dog to cause serious injury or death to another person, they may face a criminal charge, especially if they knew the dog was dangerous and failed to take precautionary measures.

In addition, the owner may be civilly liable for any damages resulting from the attack. Such consequences can include:

  • Criminal Penalties:
    • Fines
    • Jail time
    • Probation
  • Civil Liability:
    • Medical expenses
    • Pain and suffering
    • Property damage
    • Emotional distress
    • Loss of income or wages.

Compensation and Damages for Dog Bite Victims in Minnesota

In Minnesota, dog bite victims are eligible to receive compensation and damages for the harm and losses they have suffered. These damages are divided into two main categories: economic and non-economic.

Economic damages are intended to cover the financial losses associated with the bite, such as medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.

Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are intended to compensate the victim for the physical and emotional pain and suffering caused by the bite.

Establishing the value of damages can be a complex process, and victims are advised to seek the help of a qualified attorney to ensure that they receive the compensation they deserve.

Types of Damages in Dog Bite Cases

Damages in dog bite cases can range from medical expenses and lost wages to psychological trauma and pain and suffering.

Victims of dog bites are typically entitled to compensation for medical expenses, including hospital bills, medical treatments, and medication.

Victims may also be entitled to compensation for lost wages, if their injury resulted in days or weeks of lost work.

In more serious cases, victims may also be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and psychological trauma. These types of damages are often difficult to quantify, but courts may consider factors such as the severity of the injury, the impact of the injury on the victims life, and the amount of medical treatment required.

In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded if the dog’s owner acted in a grossly negligent or reckless manner.

Finally, dog bite victims may also be entitled to compensation for property damage if the attack caused damage to their personal property.

Economic and Non-Economic Damages

Economic and non-economic damages are awarded to victims of dog bite incidents to compensate for the harm suffered. Victims can potentially recover the following:

  1. Medical expenses, such as surgeries, hospital stays, medical tests, and medications
  2. Lost wages from missed work
  3. Pain and suffering
  4. Emotional distress, such as anxiety and depression

In Minnesota, dog owners are liable for all damages resulting from a dog bite. This includes medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. However, recovery of damages is contingent upon the victim’s ability to prove the dog bite occurred and that the animal was owned by the defendant.

To be successful in a dog bite lawsuit, victims must be able to provide evidence of the dog bite. This includes medical records, witnesses, and photographs.

Establishing the Value of Damages

When it comes to establishing the value of damages in a dog bite case, the courts in Minnesota take into account a variety of factors. These factors include the severity of the injury, the pain and suffering of the victim, the degree of disfigurement, lost wages, and medical expenses.

In addition, any psychological trauma resulting from the incident may be taken into account when determining the value of damages. The courts may also consider any prior history of aggression or other inappropriate behavior on the part of the dog’s owner, which could be a factor in awarding a larger amount of compensation.

Ultimately, the court’s ruling on the value of damages will be based on the specific circumstances of the case. In determining the value of damages, courts in Minnesota are guided by the principle of compensatory damages.

This means that the court will attempt to make the victim whole again by awarding damages that are equal to the costs incurred by the victim as a result of the incident. The court may also award punitive damages in certain circumstances, which are designed to punish the dog’s owner for his or her negligence.

These punitive damages are not meant to compensate the victim for any losses; rather, they are intended to deter the offender from repeating the same behavior in the future.

Legal Process and Steps to Take in a Minnesota Dog Bite Case

If you or a loved one have been the victim of a dog bite in Minnesota, it is important to take the appropriate steps to ensure that your rights are protected.

This includes reporting the incident to the relevant authorities, seeking medical attention, collecting evidence, and building a strong case.

Additionally, it is recommended to hire a skilled personal injury attorney to represent you during the legal process.

This will ensure that all relevant information is explored and that you receive the compensation that you deserve.

Minnesota's Dog Bite Laws 2

Reporting the Incident and Seeking Medical Attention

Immediately reporting an incident involving a dog bite and seeking medical attention are important steps for any individual who has been victim to such an incident in Minnesota. According to state law, any incident involving a dog bite must be reported to the local animal control as soon as possible. This is done to ensure that the proper steps can be taken to address the incident and to protect the safety of the public. Additionally, it is important that the victim of the incident seeks medical attention as soon as possible. This is because dog bites can lead to infection and other medical conditions, and seeking medical attention can help to reduce the risk of these.

In order to ensure that the incident is properly reported and documented, it is important that the victim has all of the necessary paperwork and documentation. This includes the name and contact information of the dog’s owner, the date and time of the incident, any medical records, and any other relevant information. It is also important to keep a record of any expenses associated with the incident for potential compensation. The following table summarizes the key steps that must be taken when reporting a dog bite incident in Minnesota.

1Report the incident to local animal control
2Seek medical attention
3Gather necessary paperwork and documentation
4Record all associated expenses

Evidence Collection and Building a Strong Case

Following the incident, it is important for the victim and/or witnesses to collect evidence for the case. This evidence can be used to prove the ownership of the dog, prove the incident occurred, and prove the extent of the injuries.

The victim should collect photographic evidence of the dog itself, as well as the scene of the attack. In addition, the victim should take pictures of any wounds they sustained during the attack.

Witnesses can also provide valuable evidence for the case. It is important for the victim to get the names and contact information of all witnesses, and to obtain any statements that the witnesses can provide about the incident. Witnesses can also provide evidence of the dogs history, including any past incidents or any aggressive behavior the dog may have exhibited.

If the incident happened in a public place, it is also important to obtain any security footage that may have captured the incident. By gathering all of this evidence, the victim can build a strong case for their legal claim.

Hiring a Skilled Personal Injury Attorney to Represent You

Having experienced a dog bite incident, the necessity of hiring a skilled personal injury attorney is paramount in order to receive the justice deserved. An attorney can guide the victim through the legal process, from collecting evidence to filing the necessary paperwork with the court. Additionally, they can provide invaluable advice and knowledge of the legal system to ensure that the victim/s rights are respected and protected throughout the litigation process.

A skilled personal injury attorney should have the following qualifications:

ExperienceExperienced in handling personal injury casesKnowledge of the law
CertificationCertified as a personal injury attorneyUnderstanding of the legal system
ReputationRespected in the legal communitySkill when negotiating settlements

The best way to find a qualified personal injury attorney is to ask for referrals from family and friends who have had similar experiences. Additionally, researching the attorney’s online presence and credentials can provide further insight into their qualifications. Ultimately, the chosen attorney should be able to present a strong case in court and work towards achieving the best possible outcome for the victim.


The legal process for dog bite cases in Minnesota is complex. It is important to understand the laws and regulations, as well as the potential liabilities of the owner, in order to have a successful outcome.

Dog bite victims may be eligible for compensation and damages if they can prove their case. Legal counsel can be a valuable asset in such cases, as they can assist in navigating the complexities of the law, and ensure that the victims rights and interests are protected.

It is important to take the appropriate steps to ensure that justice is served. With the proper understanding of the law and the support of an experienced legal advisor, victims may be able to obtain the compensation they deserve.

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