Your Well-Being Is Our Priority

Who pays the bills when a neighbor’s dog attacks?

On Behalf of Bennerotte & Associates, P.A.

Apr 23, 2023

Premises Liability/Dog Bites

There are hundreds of thousands of dogs in Minnesota that serve as companion animals and sometimes even working animals. Animals provide companionship, security and entertainment, as well as support for those with working farms or disabling medical conditions.

For as much benefit as dogs often provide their owners, they do also generate some degree of risk for society as a whole. Sometimes, dogs become aggressive toward people or other animals. They can cause major injuries when they attack someone unprovoked.

It is quite common for those attacked by an aggressive dog to know the owner of the animal. It could be a neighbor or a friend. Although they may not want to start a dispute, the person who has sustained harm also doesn’t deserve to absorb all the costs that result when a dog becomes aggressive.

Liability laws in Minnesota hold owners accountable

The state statutes about dog bite scenarios in Minnesota are relatively clear. Provided that the person attacked was not in the act of breaking the law and did not intentionally provoke the animal, the animal’s owner almost always has strict liability for the damages the animal inflicts on others.

Thankfully for those who know the owner of the animal that attacked them or a family member, most of the time homeowner’s insurance can cover the expenses generated by a vicious pet or working animal. In fact, even renter’s insurance may provide premises liability coverage that will pay for medical bills, lost wages and property damage expenses related to an act of aggression from a canine.

There are some limitations to insurance coverage. Some people do not have appropriate liability coverage. Others may have lied about whether they had an animal or the breed of the dog in the home. Barring these unusual and more complicated situations, most people affected by a dog bite attack in Minnesota can file an insurance claim or potentially a lawsuit.

Even if they do need to pursue a personal injury claim in court, it will frequently be the insurance policy that pays for the judgment. Understanding who can be financially responsible will help those affected by a dog bite attack take effective steps to secure rightful compensation with the assistance of an experienced legal professional.