The average payout for a dog bite claim in Minnesota in 2018 was $32,198. However, the amount will vary depending on the unique circumstances of each case. Dog bite law is a matter of strict liability in Minnesota, meaning you do not need to prove the dog’s owner was at fault. However, a Minneapolis dog bite lawyer can investigate what happened so you do not miss out on compensation. As one of Minnesota’s top personal injury law firms, Milavetz Injury Law, P.A., advocates for adults and children who have been injured in a dog attack.
Dog bites can cause serious injury and personal trauma. Minnesota law holds owners responsible if their dog bites anyone, whether an adult or a child. When a dog bites a child, they might need ongoing medical attention complicated by the fact that they are still growing, and they could also live with significant ongoing distress and a lifelong fear of dogs. Adults also might be badly hurt, especially if they have a medical condition or are physically frail.
In 2018, one-third of all money paid out by insurance companies in homeowners liability claims was from dog bites. Minnesota residents reported 370 dog bites to insurers that year. That figure does not include dog bite attacks that were not reported to insurance companies.
You do not have to handle the aftermath of a dog bite alone. Milavetz Injury Law, P.A., has deep roots in Minnesota. We have offices across the state and have helped people here since 1963. If you or a loved one experienced a dog bite attack, talk to us to discuss issues such as average dog bite settlement amounts and how we can help.
How Does a Dog Bite Settlement Work in Minnesota?
Under Section 347.22 of the Minnesota Statutes, an owner is liable if their dog attacks a “person who is acting peaceably in any place where the person may lawfully be.” The extent of the liability is for the full amount of the injury sustained. The law also says the owner is liable if the dog attacks “without provocation.”
Liability extends to anyone harboring or keeping a dog. That can include a veterinarian, groomer, or temporary caretaker of the animal. However, the statute also says the owner primarily holds liability. An owner does not escape liability just because their dog was being cared for at a boarding facility or by a neighbor.
Minnesota’s law imposes strict liability on dog owners, meaning they are liable regardless of fault or mental state. Even if an owner tried to keep their dog away from you or apologized profusely for the dog bite, they can still be held responsible financially and legally for the injuries their dog caused.
Therefore, an injured person only needs to prove the dog bit them to recover damages. However, to recover, the following must also be true:
- They did not provoke the dog.
- They were acting peacefully.
- They were lawfully on the property.
Thus, a person might not recover damages if they trespassed or deliberately provoked the dog. In Minnesota, dog bite laws do not follow contributory or comparative negligence rules, in which liability and damages are split between parties if the victim holds some responsibility.
Minnesota also does not follow the so-called “one free bite” rule. In some states, an owner is not automatically liable for their dog’s bite if the owner had never known them to bite before. In Minnesota, you can still sue even if you were the dog’s first bite victim.
What Can You Recover in a Dog Bite Settlement?
A dog bite settlement should include all expenses you have incurred because of the incident. It also can cover less tangible things such as pain and suffering. The damages a Minnesota dog bite lawyer might help you recover include:
- Medical expenses, including doctor’s visits, medical supplies, and equipment
- Lost wages
- Psychological counseling and other mental health support
- Pain and suffering
Your own dog might also experience injury during a dog bite attack. If so, you might be able to recover veterinary bills directly related to the incident. For example, if you were walking your dog when another dog bit you, and in the confrontation, your own dog suffered an injury and needed veterinary care, this might be payable as part of a dog bite settlement.
What Factors Impact Dog Bite Settlement Amounts in Minnesota?
Average dog bite settlement amounts are hard to calculate. Various factors contribute to the amount of money you might receive. In 2018, the average payout from an insurer for a dog bite claim in Minnesota was $32,198. However, an owner can still be liable even if they do not hold insurance coverage.
Your settlement depends on several factors:
- The extent of your injuries: More serious injuries generally result in larger payouts. You might have to attend to a great deal of healing, including reconstructive surgery in more serious cases. This usually leads to greater compensation.
- The amount of your financial losses: If you miss work because of the dog bite, your settlement might include your lost wages. You will not be able to access greater compensation than what you normally earn.
In addition, the owner’s insurance policy might have limits. If a fair settlement is more than what insurance covers, the owner is responsible to pay the rest. If they do not have the means to do so, it might be hard for you to recover all of your losses even if they are part of the settlement.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, liability limits for homeowners or renters insurance typically range from $100,000 to $300,000. The average cost per dog bite claim across the U.S. in 2022 was $64,555 according to III.
How Can a Dog Bite Injury Lawyer Help?
Although dog bites are a matter of strict liability in Minnesota, getting compensation still relies on complicated legal principles. You still have to present a solid case to get a settlement. The owner of a dog who bites you might claim you provoked the dog or were in a place you shouldn’t have been. A lawyer can establish what happened during the incident and counter the owner’s defenses.
While healing from an injury suffered in a traumatic event, it can be challenging to stand up for yourself and articulate your needs. A personal injury attorney can help make your case for compensation. With their knowledge and experience, they can help you to fully assess your losses so you know what to ask for in your dog bite injury case. While they handle your legal case, you can focus on healing.
Milavetz Injury Law, P.A., has won large settlements for our clients. We stand up for people when they need it the most. We take cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not owe us any money unless we win your case.