If you or somebody you know has been the victim of a pit bull bite, you’re probably wondering what your rights are. Minnesota residents can take heart that there are laws that help empower and compensate dog bite victims fairly. A pit bull bite lawyer can help you navigate the laws and get compensation for your pain and suffering.
Minnesota law covers not only dog bites, but other injuries as well. Even more important, the law holds a variety of parties liable for injuries, depending on the situation. For example, when other people such as kennel workers or a dog walker takes possession of the dog, the law holds them responsible for how they handle it. If they are negligent with an aggressive dog or keep it off-leash, it’s very possible that they, too, are liable for damages.
Minnesota is what lawyers call a “strict liability” state. In short, this means that Minnesota’s dog bite laws impose liability on dog owners and handlers in a wide range of circumstances if their pet causes an injury to others.
Minnesota’s Filing Deadlines
If a dangerous dog such as a pit bull has injured you, you’ll want to make sure you document your injuries carefully. This will include any hospital bills, physical therapy, or counseling you need as a result of your injuries.
Keep in mind that the law can sometimes cover more than just a dog bite. Document any services you need as a result of an injury caused by a dog. If you have to take time off from work, make sure this is easy to see via the paper trail. Keep a folder with expenses you incur on a regular basis and take notes on what each expense is for.
Be aware there is a statute of limitations in Minnesota for injuries such as pit bull bites or attacks. You must file your lawsuit paperwork within two years of the injury.
It sometimes takes a while to recover from something as traumatic as a dog bite or attack, but you cannot do anything if the statute of limitations has run out. Mark your calendar, and make sure you find yourself a competent attorney to help you a few months prior to the statute of limitations date.
What Does Minnesota Law Say About Pit Bull Bites?
The laws that pertain to dog bites and other injuries appear in Section 347.22 of the Minnesota Statutes. Minnesota law dictates an injured person can hold a dog owner liable for injuries caused by the dog if:
- The dog bite victim was lawfully in the location where he or she was injured. For example, if you are trespassing through a neighbor’s backyard on your way home, you cannot expect a pit bull to be friendly with you. Being bit by a pit bull is a risk you have taken by illegally trespassing. However, if you’re in a public park, or visiting a friend’s house, “acting peaceably,” and a pit bull bites you, the owner may be liable for damage.
- The dog bite victim did not provoke the dog. If you get into a fight with somebody, jump at the dog, strike it with an object or otherwise do something to “provoke” the pit bull, the owner isn’t liable for the damage their dog does to you. Animals have an instinct in some cases to protect their owners. So, it goes to reason that a dog makes react poorly to a loud, belligerent, or violent guest.
- Dog bite laws apply to any damages caused when a dog “attacks or injures” another person. This includes both dog bite injuries and other injuries caused by aggressive dog-related behaviors. A large pit bull, for example, may try to tackle a person by jumping on them. If you’re standing on an incline, you could easily fall and hurt your head, arms, or even legs. These injuries will still be covered by Minnesota’s dog bite laws.
- The victim does not have to prove that the dog owner was negligent. They only need to prove that the pit bull caused the injury, and the person did not provoke the dog into the injury.
More About Minnesota’s Strict Liability Laws
It the requirements contained in the statute is met, then you will likely have a strong case when you go to court. Minnesota’s liability laws hold the owner accountable for a pit bull bite, even if the owner had no idea that their dog would attack, bite or hurt a person. Unlike other states, Minnesota does not follow the “one bite” rule that only holds a person responsible if their dog has bitten somebody in the past.
Defenses the Pit Bull Owner May Use
A pit bull owner whose dog has injured a person only has a few possible defenses to this accusation. They will have to prove the injured party provoked the dog into the behavior that caused the injury, or they will need to prove that the injured person trespassed illegally. A person whose dog has bitten you may lie or hire an attorney to try to prove these defenses. They may accuse you of things to make it seem as if the dog bite was your fault.
A pit bull bite lawyer is prepared to help you get the compensation that you’re entitled to, and help you navigate your options.
If you’ve been injured by a pit bull or another aggressive dog, you should make sure you have a lawyer who vigorously defends your rights and holds all parties accountable for your injury. A professional and ethical lawyer can help you get the compensation you need to make a full recovery from a bite or attack. Please contact us to learn more about how we can help you.