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Dog Bite Injury

Minnetonka Dog Bite Injury Lawyer

Dogs may be man’s best friend, but when they attack, they can cause serious, disfiguring, and sometimes deadly injuries. The emotional impact can be just as crippling.

Dog bites can require emergency treatment, hospitalization, and rehabilitation. If an injured person can’t work due to their injuries, it could cause financial strain. If someone’s negligence contributed to your dog bite injuries, you may recover compensation for your injuries.

Contact a Minnetonka dog bite lawyer with Fields Injury Law to learn your legal options. 

Why Choose Fields Injury Law?

The personal injury lawyers at Fields Injury Law have over 20 years of experience representing injured accident victims and helping them secure compensation for their medical bills and other losses.

We understand the difficulties caused by dog bite injuries, and we want to help you in your time of need. Contact the Minnetonka dog bite lawyers at Fields Injury Law, and let us use our resources and experience to help you seek justice.

How Common are Dog Bites?

dog biting person's hand

Dogs are the most popular pets in the United States. Dogs take up residence in over 65 million households across the country. These loyal companions can fiercely protect their families.

But when a dog acts out aggressively against someone, people get hurt. Each year in the U.S., approximately 45 million dog attacks occur. Nearly 20 percent of dog bite injuries become infected. Nearly 1,000 people seek emergency medical treatment for non-fatal dog bite injuries, and another 12,500 are hospitalized. Dogs kill about 20 to 50 people a year.

According to the U.S. Postal Service, dogs attacked over 5,300 postal workers last year while they were delivering mail, which was actually down 100 reports from the previous year. USPS called out major cities where dog bites were most often reported. Minnetonka didn’t make the list, but neighboring Minneapolis tied with Milwaukee and Cincinnati at number 14. 

Dog bite injuries can result in staggering medical bills. The average cost to treat someone who has been hospitalized due to their injury rings in at $18,200, which is roughly 50 percent higher than the average injury-related hospitalization.

Dog bite victims incur about $2 billion in combined monetary losses annually. Dog owners' homeowner's insurance carriers paid $882 million in liability claims to compensate dog bite victims. 

What are Some Common Dog Bite Injuries?

Dog attacks can result in serious injuries.

Some common injuries our Minnetonka dog bite attorneys have seen include:

What are Some Common Dog Bite Injuries
  • Deep bruises
  • Punctured skin
  • Lacerations
  • Scarring
  • Disfigurement
  • Fractured bones
  • Nerve damage
  • Infections
  • Rabies
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Death

What are the Six Levels of Dog Bites?

The Dunbar Bite Scale, created by Dr. Ian Dunbar, is a classification system used to categorize the severity of dog bites. It consists of six levels, ranging from least severe to most severe. The scale takes into account the level of injury and aggression displayed by the dog.

Here are the six levels:

Level 1: Mild nipping — No broken skin, might be accompanied by growling or snapping. It's more of a warning bite with minimal or no damage.

Level 2: Moderate nipping — Skin is broken, but injuries are relatively minor. Bruising might occur, and bleeding is generally limited.

Level 3: Inhibited bite — A deeper bite with puncture wounds. The dog might show signs of intention to harm, but it's still somewhat inhibited, resulting in relatively moderate damage.

Level 4: Uninhibited bite — A more severe bite with significant tissue damage, often causing deep punctures and tears. The dog shows less inhibition and is more willing to cause harm.

Level 5: Multiple bite attack — Multiple bites are delivered in succession. This can indicate a higher level of aggression and can cause severe injuries.

Level 6: Killing bite — A highly aggressive and often lethal bite that is intended to kill. This level is fortunately rare and involves extreme aggression and intent to cause fatal harm.

What Laws Affect My Minnetonka Dog Bite Claim?

Dog bite laws vary from state to state. In Minnesota, strict liability applies in dog bite cases. Strict liability is a standard of liability that does not depend on actual negligence or intent to harm to hold dog owners responsible for covering the all damages when their dog bites or attacks another person on public property or private property when the injured person is lawfully on private property. 

Minnetonka laws also come into play in a dog bite incident.  Minnetonka requires all dog owners to keep their dogs on a six-foot leash or directly at their heels when walking in a neighborhood outside their property. Dog owners or handlers must also keep dogs leashed while in parks unless they are in unmaintained areas of parks. 

Minnetonka also prohibits excessive noise from pets, including barking dogs. This is defined as repeated noise that lasts five minutes or more. Households with more than two dogs, five cats, or five dogs and cats combined older than six months also must apply for and new a multiple animal location permit annually

Finally, Minnetonka Animal Control can declare a dog potentially dangerous based on reports of aggressive incidents. Owners must keep dangerous dogs on a six-foot or less leash at all times when outdoors, or in a fenced enclosure on the dog owner’s property.

Other Factors that Affect Liability in a Dog Bite Accident

You may bear responsibility for your dog bite injuries in some situations.


However, if you provoke the dog prior to the attack by taunting, kicking, or throwing something at the dog, the dog owner and their insurance company can claim that you caused the dog to attack you and thus are at fault for your own injuries.


If you enter someone’s private property without the owner’s expressed or implied consent — in other words, trespassing — and their dog bites you, you usually cannot sue the property owner. 

Who Can I Hold Liable in a Dog Bite Claim?

You can hold the dog’s owner liable when their dog attacks you. However, other parties might share liability or responsibility for a dog bite incident.

For example:

  • Negligent security: If someone other than the owner supervises the dog at the time of the bite, and their negligence or failure to control the dog directly contributes to the bite incident, they might also share liability. 
  • Property owners: In some cases, if a property owner (who may not be the dog's owner) knows or should have known that a dangerous dog was present on their property and fails to take reasonable steps to prevent harm, you could hold them partially liable.
  • Third parties: If someone else's actions directly contribute to the dog bite, you can hold them liable. For example, if a dog walker improperly restrains a dog who then loses control of the dog, the dog walker's actions could contribute to the bite incident.
  • Dog care professionals: If a dog is in the care of a professional (such as a dog trainer or a dog boarding facility) and their negligence or actions lead to a dog bite, they might also share liability. 

What Compensation is Available in a Dog Bite Case?

In a dog bite case in Minnesota, various types of damages may be available to the victim, depending on the circumstances of the attack and the extent of the injuries.

Here are some potential types of compensation you could seek in a dog bite case:

  • Medical expenses: This includes costs for immediate medical treatment, hospitalization, surgery, medications, physical therapy, and any ongoing medical care related to the dog bite injuries.
  • Lost wages and income: If the injured person cannot work due to their injuries, they may recover compensation for lost income, including both current and future lost earnings. 
  • Loss of earning capacity: In cases where the injuries result in a long-term or permanent disability that affects the victim's ability to work and earn a living, damages might account for the reduced earning capacity.
  • Pain and suffering: Compensation for physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish caused by the dog bite and its aftermath. 
  • Disfigurement and scarring: If the dog bite results in permanent scarring or disfigurement, the injured person may recover compensation to account for the aesthetic and psychological impact.
  • Property damage: If the dog bite incident damaged personal property (such as torn clothing or personal belongings), you can recover compensation for these losses.
  • Loss of consortium: If the injuries affect the victim's relationship with their spouse, damages might compensate for the loss of companionship, support, and affection. 
  • Wrongful death damages: If a dog bite results in the death of the victim, the victim's family may seek compensation for funeral expenses, loss of financial support, and loss of companionship through a wrongful death claim.

What Steps Should I Take After a Dog Bite Attack?

If a dog bites you, take appropriate steps to ensure your health and safety.

Here's what you should do after a dog bite: 

  • Seek medical attention: Even if the bite seems minor, get medical attention. Dog bites can introduce bacteria into the wound, leading to infection. A medical professional can assess the severity of the bite and provide appropriate treatment, such as cleaning the wound, prescribing antibiotics, and administering tetanus shots if necessary.
  • Identify the dog and owner: If possible, identify the dog that bit you and get the owner's contact information and the dog's vaccination status. Do this for medical reasons and legal actions. 
  • Clean the wound: If you cannot see a medical professional immediately, clean the wound as thoroughly as possible. Use warm water and soap to wash the area gently. Apply an antiseptic ointment and cover the wound with a clean, sterile bandage.
  • Report the incident: Report the incident to local animal control or law enforcement, especially if the dog's behavior was aggressive or if the dog is not known to you. 
  • Document the incident: Take photos of the wound as well as any visible injuries. This documentation can help if you decide to pursue legal action or if you need to show the extent of the injury. 
  • Get information from witnesses:  If there were any witnesses to the dog bite, get their contact information. You need their statements to provide evidence of what happened. 
  • Follow up with your doctor: Even if you received initial medical attention, follow up with your doctor. They can monitor the wound for signs of infection and provide further guidance.
  • Take care of your emotional well-being: Reach out to friends, family, or a counselor for emotional support if needed. 
  • Consult a lawyer: Seek legal advice, especially for a severe bite. Consulting a personal injury attorney who focuses on dog bite cases can help you understand your rights and options.

Contact a Minnetonka Dog Bite Attorney from Fields Injury Law Today

Attorney Steve Fields
Minnetonka Dog Bite Accident Attorney, Steve Fields

If you or your child suffered injuries from a dog bite, you face mounting medical bills. Minnesota laws allow dog bite victims to hold dog owners responsible for the harm their dogs cause. Minnetonka also has laws that may affect a dog bite claim.

The Minnetonka personal injury attorney at Fields Injury Law have years of experience handling injury claims. Contact us today at (612) 206-3495 or through our online form for a free and confidential consultation.