It seems that almost anywhere we go these days, we are around or near dogs.  It is not unusual to see dogs at outdoor seating areas of restaurants and bars, at sporting events, inside stores, on airplanes, and even at places of employment.  In fact, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, in 2011, there were approximately 934,000 pet dogs in Minnesota and nearly one-third of all households in Minnesota have a pet dog. 

While most dogs are friendly, lovable, companions and members of the family, it should not be forgotten that even the friendliest and well-trained dog is still an animal, with animal instincts, and therefore has the ability to bite anyone at any time.  Small children are often the most vulnerable because their faces are often at the same level as the dog.  Also children don’t always ask permission to pet strange dogs and may just reach out to the dog with innocence.  Because these bites can result in devastating injuries and substantial scarring, everyone should know their legal rights if they are a victim of a dog attack.

Minnesota Statute § 347.22 provides that, “If a dog, without provocation, attacks or injures any person who is acting peaceably in any place where the person may lawfully be, the owner of the dog is liable in damages to the person so attacked or injured to the full amount of the injury sustained.”  That means that in Minnesota, as long as there is no “provocation,” and a person is not trespassing, any and all damages sustained as a result of an attack by a dog are the legal responsibility of the owner of that dog.  These damages may include medical bills, as well as compensation for disfigurement, pain, suffering, and emotional distress experienced as a result of the attack.  If you or someone you know has been a victim of a dog bite, contact one of the attorneys at Nelson Personal Injury for a free consultation.