MN Dog Bite Lawyers – Dog Provoked


Our lawyers represent people bitten by a dog or injured by a dog.  Minnesota law provides strict liability against the dog owner if their dog attacks or injures someone without provocation.  If you were acting peaceably in a place where you may lawfully be, the owner of the dog is liable. The dog owner must compensate the person injured. Not surprisingly, a dog owner will sometimes tell their insurance company the person injured provoked the dog.  This is a defense our MN dog bite attorneys hear from an insurance company several times every year in our cases.

Dog Bite Injury Attorneys
Dog Bite Injury Attorneys

The MN dog bite statute does not define the meaning of provocation. However, courts interpret it to mean that a victim voluntarily and unnecessarily provoked a dog in a manner that invites a dog attack. In that situation, the victim is not entitled to recover. Knowledge of the danger from the engagement with the dog is required. Consequently, provocation focuses on the victim’s conduct. It requires both the direct knowledge of the danger and that the victim voluntarily exposed herself to that danger from the dog.


It is not necessary that the dog bite victim intended to provoke the dog. Rather, provocation involves voluntary conduct that exposes the person to a risk of harm from the dog. In other words, where the person had knowledge of the risk at the time of the incident. For example, petting a growling dog after being warned that it had just had puppies can be provocation of the dog bite. But accidentally stepping on the dog’s tail does not constitute provocation. Petting a dog that is in pain is not provoking a dog attack or bite where there is no warning. Especially if the victim had petted the dog before and been assured it wouldn’t bite.

A lawyer in our office is working on a dog bite case now where a young child was visiting a friend’s house in southern Minnesota.  The dog was initially locked in another room. But when the dog owner went outside, another child let the dog out of the locked room and it bit our young client in the face. The dog owner is claiming our client provoked the dog, even though the owner was outside at the time. Also, there were no witnesses to the attack.  We’ll see what the jury says about this one.