We’re trial lawyers. Our core competency – above everything else – is trying cases to juries. And we specialize in beating giants.
We’re trial lawyers. Our core competency – above everything else – is trying cases to juries. And we specialize in beating giants.
Many people have dogs so that they have a companion. However, many people don’t understand the commitment that caring for a living animal requires. As a dog owner, you are responsible for caring for them, making sure they are healthy, and something that many people neglect to do—training them. When a dog is not properly trained, socialized, or looked after, then they could lash out and attack other people.
The city of Minneapolis, MN is no stranger to dog bite incidents. In 2020, the city government of Minneapolis mandated that all dogs must be on a leash outdoors or contained on the person’s own property per city ordinance, and owners who choose to take their dogs to an off-leash dog park must first possess an Off-Leash Dog Park Permit. City officials began to pay closer attention to this serious issue after a shocking 80% increase in incidents of dog bites or aggression from 2019 to 2020, according to Minneapolis Animal Care & Control.
When you’ve been bitten by a dog, there are probably many things going through your mind. You’re wondering if they’ve had their shots, where their owner is, and how badly you’re hurt. At Madia Newville, we understand how stressful this situation can be. That’s why our Minneapolis dog bite lawyers are dedicated to helping you and getting you the justice you deserve for your injuries.
When you own a dog in Minnesota, no matter how well they’re trained, you should know the state’s dog bite laws in case your dog ever attacks someone. According to Minnesota statutes, if your dog, unprovoked, attacks a person acting peacefully in a place where they are lawfully allowed to be, then you are liable for the damages your dog caused as their owner.
If you are not the owner of the dog and are just responsible for their care at the time, you are still partly liable. However, the owner is the person who is predominantly responsible for their dog’s behavior and paying for the full extent of damages and injuries that the victim of their dog suffered.
What’s important to note about this dog bite law, though, is that it specifically mentioned that the dog must be unprovoked, and the victim must be lawfully on the property. But when the dog is unprovoked and you were legally allowed on the property, Minnesota is a state that does the most for the victims of dog bites.
Since our state holds this statute with strict liability, a dog owner can’t argue comparative negligence against the victim of a dog bite. A dog owner can’t argue that a dog has had past good behavior, or that they were practicing reasonable care. If another person was looking after the dog, since they can also be held fully liable for the actions of the dog, the attack is less likely to go without repercussions.
The main verbiage that does the most work for victims in the statute is that the owner is liable for the damages of “the person so attacked or injured to the full amount of the injury sustained.” This means that as a victim, you’re entitled to recover the full amount of damages that you suffered from the attack, like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Your Minneapolis dog bite lawyer can help you determine how much you’re owed and exactly who is at fault for your dog attack injuries. We’ll fully investigate what happened and calculate your full and fair compensation.
When you’ve been attacked by a dog, you likely suffered from injuries. Regardless of the breed, you can sustain severe injuries or be infected by a disease or parasite through contact with a strange dog. Dogs have sharp teeth and strong jaws that can cause damage to your body and break your skin. If they are large and heavy, they can also overpower you and knock you to the ground, which could hurt you when they hit you and when you hit the ground.
In the Twin Cities region of Minnesota, a 2016 study found the following breeds to be the most popular:
It is clear that dog-related injuries and illnesses can come from any breed. The likelihood that a dog will attack has infinitely more to do with the dog’s training, upbringing, and home environment than it does the dog’s breed. However, it is valuable to note that almost every breed on this list of popular breeds in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region is a large-sized dog bred for hunting skills. This means that if you are the victim of a canine attack, the injuries you sustain could be much more serious.
Let’s take a look at the more specific injuries you could suffer from a dog bite or attack:
You’ll likely see the injuries you incurred in the list above, but if you don’t, you still can recover damages for any other harm caused by a dog bite in Minneapolis. For example, there are several diseases not included on the list which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states to be transferrable from dog to humans. These transmittable diseases include brucellosis, tapeworm, leptospirosis, MRSA, salmonellosis, and several tick-borne diseases. Even if the risk of infection is low, it is always a good idea to see a doctor immediately following an attack by an unknown dog. Many of the aforementioned diseases can go undetected in dogs, yet cause severe illness in humans.
A Minneapolis dog bite lawyer from Madia Newville can help you determine what injuries you can financially recover while you focus on the physical and emotional healing. Let’s take a look at what you can be awarded more specifically.
As mentioned above, you’re owed full compensation for the damages that you sustained from the dog attack. Your injuries could range from anywhere from mild to severe. When your skin is broken from the attack, there could be more extensive damage done below the surface. Other than skin injuries, your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and even bones could suffer damage if the bite was hard and deep enough.
You could require surgery for your injuries, which would cause you to accumulate even more medical bills. On top of that, there is a greater risk for post-injury infection and serious diseases like rabies which can cause long-lasting damage. This would make you require even more prescription medication and result in even more substantial medical bills. If you have permanent scarring, you might even have disfigurement for the rest of your life.
That’s why you deserve to be compensated for the injuries and treatment that you get as a result of your injuries. Your Minneapolis dog bite lawyer can help you determine what you’re owed from:
A Minneapolis dog bite attorney will investigate what happened to you and compile all of the evidence of your injuries so that they can properly calculate what you’re owed. If you suffered from damages outside of what’s listed above, your dog bite lawyer will be able to determine if you can financially recover from those damages.
When you’ve been attacked by a dog that left you with physical and emotional injuries, you could use the help of a Minneapolis dog bite attorney. At Madia Newville, we’re dedicated to getting you the compensation you deserve for the injuries and damages you suffered at the hand of another person’s negligence.
With a lawyer from our office on your side, you can feel confident in your claim and know that you’ll get full and fair compensation. Reach out to us today so we can get started on your free consultation.
We have a process that works in getting exceptional results for our clients.
We are trial lawyers who prepare every case for trial from Day 1. Investigation and legal research are the first things we do, and we spend a lot of time on them. Because we haven’t filed the case yet, we have complete control – the defendant has no say and we want to use this time wisely. We interview witnesses that can help us prove the case. We’ll ask you for all relevant documents in your possession and review those carefully as well. We also will spend some time conducting legal research about unique issues in the case. We pull the jury instructions that the judge will ultimately charge the jury with after closing arguments at trial.
Our next step is typically to send a demand letter to the defendant. In the letter, we thoroughly lay out: the facts surrounding the defendant’s misconduct; the applicable law (including statutory and case citations) that make clear that the defendant broke the law; an analysis of your damages and the defendant’s monetary exposure; a demand for a monetary amount to settle the claim; and an instruction to preserve all relevant evidence, including electronic evidence. The point of this letter is to give the defendant a chance to do the right thing and pay a fair amount before litigation, and to give the defendant an opportunity to present any defenses or evidence it wants us to consider before moving forward. Sometimes we skip the demand letter if there are strategic reasons to move straight to filing, but we typically give defendants a chance to do the right thing.
If early negotiations fail, great – we file a Complaint and serve the defendant with it. A Complaint is a legal document that states the facts of what happened and alleges how the defendant broke the law. It formally starts the lawsuit. Many lawyers draft complaints in a general and relatively vague way, just to get it done and filed – because that’s all that’s really required. We take a different view. We view the Complaint as our first chance to tell your story to the judge, and we take it seriously. So we draft detailed complaints and include legal citations to statutory and judicial authority on unique points. Sometimes we’ll include a number of exhibits, diagrams, or other demonstrative aids to help the Court understand our claims. A secondary benefit of this approach is that defense lawyers reading the Complaint can become educated on the problems of their case and the state of the law – sometimes this leads them to reach out to us shortly after service of the Complaint to re-initiate settlement negotiations. Of course, by that time, the price for settlement has gone up.
Some lawyers view written discovery as a necessary evil – something to get done and out of the way before depositions. Not us. Written discovery is a gift and an opportunity. We spend a great deal of time crafting requests for documents and interrogatories (questions for the defendant to answer in writing) that are specific, detailed, and tailored to get what we need to prove our case. Many lawyers – even great ones – think written discovery is a waste of time because defense lawyers typically answer them on behalf of their clients and can try to stonewall with legalese and objections. We view this as a wonderful opportunity. In our experience, most defense lawyers can’t help themselves when answering discovery: they over-state their defenses and make assertions that their clients will not be able to support in testimony. So we get to commit the defendant to defenses that they can’t back up, leading to contradictions, confusion, and chaos in their depositions later on. We also use Requests for Admission – which many lawyers don’t. The Federal Rules and Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure allow us to ask defendants to “admit” certain facts. We send them RFAs that are very difficult for them to deny. Of course, they do it anyway, but that sets them up later for cost and fee-shifting, which the Rules mandate for defendants that deny RFAs that are later proven true. And usually, we can get the defendants’ own witnesses to admit facts that their defense lawyers denied in RFA. That’s a great situation that leads to more chaos and confusion on the defense side.
One last point on written discovery – we send multiple waves of it throughout discovery. We typically send 3 or 4 sets of written discovery requests to defendants throughout discovery. This compounds the problems for them, because the defense lawyers continue to overstate their defenses, but now run into contradictions from not just the defendant witnesses’ deposition testimony, but also their own previous discovery responses. This makes for a great record that we can present to the judge at dispositive motions, and use for impeachment at trial.
This is our chance to question relevant witnesses, on the record with a court reporter (we typically videotape important depositions as well). We get to confront the defense witnesses with all of the evidence we’ve developed through written discovery and document production. By this time, the defendant put its witnesses in an impossible position through its written defenses, which are often untrue and indefensible. So the witness has to either lie to support the defense, or admit it’s not true. That’s a dilemma that works for our clients either way, no matter which option the witness takes. We use depositions to expose contradictions, create a record for dispositive motions, lock witnesses into their stories so that we can impeach them later at trial, and sometimes, to show defense lawyers how hopeless their case is. We often calls from defense counsel shortly after depositions of their clients, seeking to re-start settlement negotiations.
The defendant will usually make a motion for summary judgment after discovery, asking the Court to throw out the case without having a jury trial. Because we’ve hit discovery so hard – both through written discovery and depositions – this is a tough motion for defense counsel to write in our cases. We draft our response for the Court and now get to bring everything together: the admissions, contradictions, nonsense, and obvious fact disputes that we’ve uncovered through discovery. We tell a compelling story that wraps everything together for the Court and makes clear that the defense motion has to be denied, and the defendant needs to face a jury for its conduct.
Sometimes, we’ll even make an affirmative motion for summary judgment, asking the Court to grant judgment in favor of our client without a trial. These motions are generally rare for plaintiffs to make, because the defendant can usually point to some fact dispute on its intent or some other factor that necessitates a trial. But we make affirmative summary judgment motions significantly more than is typical for plaintiffs, and that’s because the work we put in during discovery helps build a fantastic record to do so.
After the Court denies the defense motion for summary judgment, the defendant has only 2 options: 1) do the right thing and pay you a fair amount to our client to settle your claim (usually much, much more at this point than the defendant could have paid at the beginning of the case to settle); or 2) face a jury for its conduct and risk an enormous verdict. This is the dilemma that we have been creating and forcing the defendant into for the entire case. We’ll engage in settlement negotiations at this point from a position of extreme strength, mainly because most defendants are (rightly) terrified of facing a jury to defend their conduct.
This is, candidly, our favorite part of the case – why we went to law school: to hold the powerful accountable before juries. We prepare heavily for trial, including: detailed witness preparation, focus groups, and mock trials. At this point, the potential outcomes and consequences for the defendant are much more severe than if it simply did the right thing at the beginning of the case and paid a fair amount to compensate our client for its misconduct. As we advocate to the jury for our client, we’re also mindful of protecting the record so that defendants will be unsuccessful in attacking the verdict in post-trial motions or appeal.