Minnesota has a statute that makes a dog owner or person caring for the dog strictly liable for the injuries caused by a dog. If you or a loved one are attacked or bitten by someone else’s dog, you have an absolute right to compensation. There is no need to prove that the dog owner was in any way negligent. You need only prove that the dog caused the injury. Moreover, the dog does not have to be acting in a vicious manner. Many dog bite claims result from a dog nipping.
If you get bit or scratched by a dog, it is important that you contact the dog owner and make sure that they identify that the dog belongs to them. Ask them for their homeowner’s insurance information immediately. It is often very difficult to get the information later. Immediately contact the police or county sheriff’s office, so a report can be made. They will likely have animal control come out and verify that the dog has been vaccinated, which is very important. Go to urgent care or your family physician to have the wound cleaned and antibiotic ointment applied. If possible, take photographs of the wound, the dog and the dog owner’s home, including the house number. If anyone witnessed the incident get their name and contact information.
It is important to get legal representation to make sure that your rights are fully protected. Often times a dog owner will not cooperate with someone who was injured by their pet. They are afraid that their dog will be quarantined or otherwise taken away. Having a lawyer will assist you in getting the information required to present your case.
Also, the homeowner’s insurance may have “medical pay” coverage to pay for medical treatment. Usually the medical pay coverage is $1,000, but can be higher.
Ongoing photographs of the healing wound can be helpful in proving that a remaining scar was the result of the bite. It is often difficult to show a scar from puncture wounds unless there is a progression of pictures that show how the wound healed.