INJURED BY DOG – PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEYS
The law in Minnesota holds a dog owner strictly liable for any personal injury caused by his dog. The injury does not even have to be a dog bite or dog attack. At the Rochlin Law Firm, our top Minnesota personal injury lawyers have represented people who have been pushed off their bike by a dog or where the dog got loose and caused a car accident.
In one case where a person was injured by a dog, our best MN personal injury attorney represented a woman who was unintentionally pushed down the stairs by a dog at her niece’s house. The claim was technically against the niece, but is really against the niece’s homeowners insurance. Homeowners insurance usually covers injuries caused by the homeowner’s dog if the dog injures a person even if the dog did it by accident, and in this case they paid all the medical bills plus fair compensation to our client for her injuries.
The incident happened on a Sunday, at about 3:30 p.m. Our attorney’s elderly client had been invited by her niece to their house for their daughter’s high school graduation party. Our client arrived at the party at about 1:00 p.m. with her sister and brother-in-law. Over the course of the afternoon there were about 30 people at the party, which was held in the back-yard of the house.
When our client arrived at the house, the niece’s dog was outside. Our client went into the house and set her purse in a bedroom. At around 3:30 p.m. our client went back into the house to get her purse, because she had a card and check in her purse she wanted to give to graduation girl (great-niece).
When our client started to go into the house, the niece’s two dogs were at the back door anxiously trying to get out and join the party. The door opens into the house and the hinges are on the right side, so our client was pushing in from the left. The steps leading down to the basement are on the immediate left of the back-door, and the door to the basement was open. After our client got into the house, she tried to close the back-door behind her without letting the dogs out. As she was closing the door, both dogs were trying to get out and unintentionally pushed against her, pushing her backwards so she fell down the stairs. She immediately reached out to grab the railing, but there was no railing for those stairs. The stairs lead to a cement floor in the basement, where she landed and hit her head against a sump pump.
Our personal injury accident lawyer explained to the homeowners insurance company that negligence was based on three factors:
- the dogs should have been confined to the basement or one of the rooms in the house.
- the basement door should have been closed during the party because the basement stairs are so close to the back-door and people are coming and going through the house. The niece said that she told her husband and daughters to keep that door closed because she knew it was dangerous to keep the door open during the party, but they forgot to do it.
- Minnesota law holds the owner strictly liable for injury caused by the dog, without regard to negligence, and the only defenses are trespass and provocation. Minn.Stat. §347.22 provides, “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.” This statute does not require that the dog bite the victim, it does not require that the dog be intentionally vicious, and it does not even require that the dog actually come in contact with the person. For example, there is a Minnesota case, Morris v. Weatherly, where the court of appeals held the dog owner liable because a dog ran toward a bicycle rider resulting in the rider becoming off balance and falling. There is another case, Boitz v. Preblich, where a dog bumped into a person causing the person to fall and become injured.
Our client in that case could have been severely injured or killed in this personal injury accident caused by a dog. As it turns out, she luckily “only” suffered a compression fracture in her neck that required treatment and healing for about six months before she was back to normal. However, her medical bills as a result of being injured by these dogs were about $70,000. The insurance company initially denied the claim and our injured by a dog personal injury attorney had to initially sue the dog owner (the niece’s family). Fortunately, our dog attack lawyer was able to get the homeowner’s insurance company to eventually accept its responsibility and they paid the medical bills, plus additional compensation to our client for her pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one are ever injured in an accident because of a dog, please call our office and speak to a personal injury lawyer for a free consultation. Pam Rochlin and David Rochlin are personal injury lawyers in MN with 25 years’ experience successfully helping hundreds of people get full and fair compensation for their injuries. Our MN personal injury lawyers handle many dog injury and dog bite cases each year for children, workers bitten by a dog, and others injured by a dog or bitten by a dog. An experienced dog bite personal injury lawyer is important to help deal with complicated insurance issues and to make sure you are fully compensated for the injury, including scars and future treatment. If you have been injured in an accident by a dog and would like to speak with a personal injury lawyer, you can meet us at our offices in Edina Minnesota, Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, or Woodbury. If a dog accidentally injured you, our lawyers can also meet you at your home in St. Paul Minnesota, Roseville, Forest Lake, Roseville MN, Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Lino Lakes, Anoka MN, Maple Grove, Plymouth, Rogers, Chanhassen, Chaska, Apple Valley, Richfield MN, Bloomington Minnesota, Lakeville, Burnsville, and other cities throughout Minnesota. A personal injury lawyer with experience representing people injured by a dog will provide you with a free consultation and will answer your questions, and we never charge anything unless you are compensated for your injuries.