Every year in the US, about 12,480 citizens are hospitalized due to dog bite injuries, which results in approximately 17,000 filed dog bite claims.
Getting bitten by a dog, or any type of domestic animal, can be a very serious issue. Luckily, our personal injury team can help. We’ve handled dozens of these cases, and will work tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve
Understanding Michigan Dog Bite Law
Believe it or not, Michigan law used to state that every dog was entitled to “one free bite.” That’s right—one of the defenses used in dog bite cases is that the dog simply had never bitten anyone before.
Knowledge of the dog’s violent propensities, called scienter in the law, was a requisite to establishing a dog bite case. However, Michigan passed its dog bite statute in 1939, establishing that dogs are no longer entitled to one free bite.
This statute establishes that the owner of a dog is liable for damages to anyone the dog bites’ whether or not the dog has a previous history of biting.
What To Do When You Get Injured By A Dog
After being attacked by a dog, you must remember to identify the dog, the dog’s owner, and to call the police right away after suffering from a dog attack.
A dog attack can leave scratches, tears, and/or broken bones. There have even been cases where victims have lost limbs. This is where documentation is important, and another reason why seeking immediate medical help/calling the police is necessary.
Michigan law permits the collection of damages for the aftermath of a dog attack, including infection. Always be on your guard with strange dogs and remember—let sleeping dogs lie.
How Do Dog Bite Cases Work?
So, what defense does a dog owner have to these claims? Only one: provocation.
If the dog is provoked by the victim prior to being bit, it establishes a statutory defense to the action. Of course, this is typically up to a jury to decide.
Examples of provocation could be anything from rough-housing with the dog to more insidious things like taking away the dog’s toy, removing its food while it was eating, or grabbing the dog around the head or neck.
Any action by the victim placing the dog on alert could be found to be provocation by a jury, and if provocation is found, the dog owner may be found not liable for the attack.
This is why it’s extremely important for a dog bite victim to speak to a knowledgeable attorney before giving any statement to an insurance company.
Types of Compensation For a Dog Bite Victim
Dog bite victims are entitled to recover adequate compensation for their losses and damages. These may include a wide variety of harms suffered by the victim:
These types of damages include medical costs, expenses of transportation for medical reasons, future medical costs for operations or the cosmetic treatment of scars, loss of income in the past, loss of income or opportunity in the future, and more.
These damages can also cover defensive measures such as putting up a fence, loss of the value of a home because of the proximity of dangerous dogs, past counseling expenses, future psychological costs, funds expended on a vacation that could not be taken because of the accident, and torn clothing.
Damages such as these include the pain of the injury and the treatment, mental suffering when confronted by dogs or when remembering the attack, humiliation caused by scars, loss of quality of life because of disability, and many other things.
Get in Touch With Our Michigan Dog Bite Lawyers
If you or a loved one was attacked by a dog, contact our legal team for a free, no-commitment consultation.
We’ll help you navigate the complexities of the aftermath of a dog bite, including filing a claim, speaking with the insurance companies involved, litigation, and more.
Remember; we work on a contingency fee basis, which means no recovery = no fee.