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Can I pursue a dog bite claim if I was partially at fault?

| Feb 10, 2021 | Dog Bites |

If you have recently suffered a dog bite in Minnesota, you may be able to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, potential future wages and even pain and suffering.

As the Research Department of the Minnesota House of Representatives explains, the circumstances of the dog bite incident and the strength of your case will determine whether you are able to receive damages.

Minnesota is a modified comparative negligence state

Minnesota is a modified comparative negligence state, meaning that an injured party may still seek damages even if he or she was partially at fault, as long as the other party was primarily at fault.

Additionally, Minnesota case law prevents dog owners from using comparative fault as a defense to negligence and dictates that their liability is absolute. State courts have ruled that any person currently responsible for a dog is legally its owner, that the dog’s past behavior does not matter and that the owner’s reasonable care is no defense to liability.

This makes Minnesota one of the most favorable states for plaintiffs in civil dog bite cases.

Circumstances of a dog bite may mitigate recovery

Statutory law does explicitly require that the victim of a dog bite is behaving peacefully at the time in question and does not provoke the incident. If the defendant can show in court that you were aggressing on the dog or defendant, committing a crime at the time of the incident or otherwise provoking an attack, you may have a difficult time proving liability.

Similarly, if you were trespassing at the time in question, a court may consider this when deciding whether to order damages. According to statutory law, trespassing may bar recovery in some cases.

Eyewitness testimony may be important in proving your case, as well as medical reports and photos of the scene of the attack and your wounds.