Attorney Katherine Brown Holmen recently settled a claim based on Minnesota Statute §347.22 for a client who was severely injured in a bicycle accident caused by a dog. The accident was not due to a direct dog bite, but by a dog on dog attack in the road. The settlement was accomplished outside of court and resulted in a payment of $175,000 in the client’s favor.
Minnesota Statute §347.22 imposes strict liability on the owner of a dog who, “without provocation, attacks or injures any person who is acting peaceably in any place where the person may lawfully be.” Minn. Stat. §347.22. This means that dog owners are responsible for injuries that their dogs cause. This statute extends beyond just dog bites or violent attacks; even nonaggressive behavior by dogs can lead to injuries. The inclusion of the more general word “injures” in the statute covers “affirmative but nonattacking behavior which injures a person who is immediately implicated by such nonhostile behavior.” Anderson v. Christopherson, 816 N.W.2d 626, 631 (Minn. 2012).
In Anderson v. Chirstopherson a man fell and broke his hip trying to separate his small dog from an attacking large dog. Liability was imposed on the large dog’s owner, even though the large dog did not direct any actions at the injured man. Id at 629. Not only does the injury not have to result from a direct attack, it is not even necessary for there to be physical contact between the dog and the injured person for the dog’s owner to be liable. Morris v. Weatherly, 488 N.W.2d 508 (Minn. Ct. App. 1992).
There are many ways in which dogs can cause injuries, even if they do not bite or attack. If you have been injured by an unprovoked dog, you may want to consider consulting an attorney regarding the liability of the dog’s owner for your injuries. For the full text of the Minnesota Law on Dog Injuries , see Minnesota Statute §347.22.
This post was created by Katherine A. Brown Holmen, a personal injury, wrongful death, and worker’s compensation attorney at Dudley and Smith, P.A. If you are looking for legal guidance, or other issues involving injuries related to a dog, please contact me at 651-291-1717 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have practiced exclusively personal injury, worker’s compensation, and wrongful death claims for over 20 years and would be happy discuss the intricacies of this cause of action with you. Dudley and Smith, P.A. is a full service law firm with offices in St. Paul, Blaine, Bloomington, Burnsville, Chanhassen, White Bear Lake, and Woodbury.