DOG PROVOKED BY VICTIM STILL SUE? – MN LAWYERS
Our attorneys represent many people each year who were bitten by a dog or injured by a dog. Minnesota’s dog bite statute 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. Our top Minnesota dog bite lawyers often hear the dog owner claim that the person injured provoked the dog. This is a defense we also hear from an insurance company several times every year when they try to avoid be sued.
Minnesota’s dog bite dog attack statute does not specifically define what “provoked the dog” means. However, MN’s appellate courts have interpreted the statute to mean that a victim who voluntarily and unnecessarily provokes a dog in a manner than invites a dog attack is not entitled to recover. Knowledge of the danger is an element of the voluntariness necessary for the victim’s conduct to constitute provocation under the statute and bar recovery. This means the focus is on the victim’s conduct and requires both the direct knowledge of the danger and that the victim voluntarily exposed herself to that danger. It is not necessary that the victim intend to provoke the dog; rather, provocation involves voluntary conduct that exposes the person to a risk of harm from the dog 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 considered provoking it. But petting a dog that is in pain is not provocation where there is no warning and the victim had petted the dog before and been assured it wouldn’t bite. Similarly, inadvertently stepping on the dog’s tail does not constitute provoking the dog. Each case depends on its facts, and when you speak with a lawyer for a free consultation about your dog bite, we will go into your case in detail with you.
A dog bite attorney in our office is working on a MN case now where a young child was visiting a friend’s house. The homeowners insurance company denied the claim and we had to sue. The dog was 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 and there were no witnesses to the attack. We’ll see what the jury says about this one when our dog bite lawyer presents the actual facts of the case.
If you or a loved one are injured in a dog bite or dog attack in Minnesota, call us and speak with a top lawyer for a free consultation. A dog bite dog attack attorney will discuss the situation with you, explain your rights, and make sure you get the compensation you are entitled to. We have offices in Minneapolis, Woodbury, St. Louis Park, and Edina where you can meet a lawyer to discuss your dog bite or dog attack case. Our attorneys also make house calls and will come to the dog bite victim’s home anywhere in MN.