Bit By Friend’s Dog Homeowners Insurance Claim MN Lawyer


A dog bite can happen anywhere, but most often happens in the home where the dog is staying.  When you call our office regarding a Minnesota dog bite, an experienced lawyer will advise you of your rights and make sure you get the compensation you are entitled to.

In one recent case, our attorney represented a five year old boy bit in the face by a dog.  The dog owner’s daughter and the 5 year old boy’s older sister were friends from school. April 25 was the night of the high school prom, and several families had been invited to the dog owner’s home to take photographs before the dinner and dance.

Bitten By Friends Dog Homeowners Insurance MN Lawyer
Bitten By Friends Dog Homeowners Insurance MN Lawyer


When the young boy’s family arrived at the dog owner’s home, they were invited inside the house as the girls got ready.  Apparently, the friend’s mother had two dogs in the house, and the dog owner confined the dogs to a bedroom as the girls got ready. The door to the room with the dogs was shut, so that they would not get in the way. Eventually, the group moved outside to take the pictures.  However, our client stayed in the house with another young neighbor boy, the owner’s grandson. The owner admitted that at that point the dogs were still confined to a room in the house.

One of the dogs “Callie” began scratching at the bedroom door to get out.  The dog owner’s grandson decided to open the door to tell Callie to stop scratching. Callie then ran out of the room.  Callie ran into the living room and jumped onto the couch next to where our five year old client was sitting.  It then bit him in the face. This child had scarring on his fact because of the dog bite at a friend’s house, Our dog bite lawyers were retained to get compensation to pay the medical bills, plastic surgery and whatever else was needed.


Minnesota dog bite statute, Minn. Stat. § 347.22, provides in pertinent part:

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.

When its elements are established, this statute imposes absolute liability upon the dog owner. Seim v. Garavalia, 306 N.W.2d 806, 812 (Minn. 1981). Neither common-law affirmative defenses nor statutory comparative fault are available to a dog owner or keeper under the statute. It makes no difference that the dog owner may have used reasonable care; negligence is irrelevant.


The dog owner and her attorney suggested three potential defenses they may raise at trial:

  • They seemed to indicate there could be comparative fault on the part of our client’s parents for leaving him in the house. However the clear language of the statute does not allow this as a defense. Further, they didn’t say how our five year-old would even have done anything wrong.
  • They have indicated they could raise a provocation defense because our client “put his face too close to Callie.” The police report states that the other boy told the officer that after Callie jumped on the couch, our client leaned down and was near an area dogs wouldn’t like. However, there are many cases holding that this scenario does not rise to the level of provocation. Our top dog bite lawyer ultimately prevailed on this issue on summary judgment. Although, it was tempting to let them raise this argument to a jury and have them try to explain how a very cute five year old boy sitting peacefully on a couch is at fault for having his face too close to the dog that jumped up next to him and then bit him.
  • They also indicated that the friend dog owner is not negligent because she did not know that our client stayed in the house when everyone else went outside. We were not sure if this was a trespass defense against the five year old boy who was invited into the house. However, neither he nor his parents were ever told he had to leave.  The court dismissed that defense as well.


In most cases when a person suffers a dog bite at a friend’s house or because of a friend’s dog, the dog owner will have homeowners insurance to compensate the victim.  No one wants to sue their friend, but a dog bite can be serious and most of the time (especially with children) the bite is to the face and leaves a scar that may need future treatment or will affect the person for the rest of their lives.  The dog owner should be happy and relieved to compensate their friend in any way possible.

If you or a family member have been bitten or attacked by a friend’s dog please call us and speak with a lawyer for a free consultation.  Our best dog bite attorneys have more than 25 years’ experience successfully representing hundreds of people who have been bitten or attacked by a dog throughout Minnesota. We have offices where you can discuss your dog bite case with a lawyer in Minneapolis, Woodbury, Edina, and St. Louis Park.  A top dog bite lawyer will also meet you at your home in Maple Grove, Plymouth, Chaska, Chanhassen, Rogers, Hopkins, Apple Valley, Lakeville, St. Paul, Roseville, Forest Lake, and other cities throughout Minnesota.