Michigan Dog Bite Lawyer
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If you’re looking for skilled Michigan dog bite lawyers, Lipton Law has you covered. Michigan dog bite law states that if a dog isn’t provoked and bites an individual, then the dog owner can be held legally responsible for any damages the attack victim suffers. While these points may seem simple enough, successfully resolving dog bite claims in Michigan can be quite complex. Dog bite victims deserve to recover compensation for their injuries. Contact a Michigan dog bite lawyer to help with your case.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a dog attack, you may be eligible for compensation. At Lipton Law, our dedicated Michigan personal injury attorneys have the legal insight you need to get results. Using over 100 years of combined experience, we know how to untangle the complexities of a dog bite case. We have a well-earned reputation for securing full and just compensation for individuals seriously injured in dog attacks. To schedule a free consultation with our dog bite attorneys, please call 248-557-1688 today.
Michigan Dog Bite Statistics
According to the numbers from 2020, Michigan is one of the top ten states regarding the number of dog bites each year. Data from the United States Postal Service shows that Michigan ranked 6th for the most dog bites in 2019. Although not every dog bite attack will result in a fatality, many of them lead to very severe injuries. It is extremely important for victims of dog bite attacks to receive full compensation for their medical bills and suffering.
This is where an experienced Michigan dog bite lawyer comes in handy. We have the experience you need to fight for a full and fair dog bite settlement. Our attorneys will thoroughly investigate your claim, gather supporting evidence, and litigate on your behalf. We will also negotiate with insurance companies so that you can focus on your recovery.
Why Do Dog Bites Happen?
Dog bite injury cases can arise for a number of reasons, but it’s important to remember that the vast majority of dog bites don’t just come out of nowhere. Although it may seem that way initially, there is likely a reasonable explanation for the attack. Below, we outline some of the most common reasons why dog bites occur.
- Fear: Many dog bite cases arise because the dog fears someone or something in the situation. For example, maybe someone owns a dog who is fearful of strangers. If a stranger gets too close to the dog, the dog may bite them to distance themselves from that stranger.
- Protection: Some dogs are highly protective over food, toys, or people. If those items or people are threatened in their eyes, they may respond by biting.
- Pain or illness: Sickness and injuries can be very stressful for some dogs. If someone accidentally aggravates a dog’s injury, the dog may respond with a bite.
- Startlement: Being startled or scared, particularly if they are woken up, can cause a dog to bite out of confusion or surprise. This is especially common for dogs with decreased hearing or eyesight in their old age.
- Frustration: Even dogs can get frustrated with certain situations. For example, a dog could be trapped in a room of loud people with no way to get to a quieter space. As their frustration grows, they may be more likely to bite.
- Cognitive decline: Much like humans, many dogs experience cognitive decline in their old age. This is similar to dementia in humans. When dogs age, they may be prone to confusion or aggression, resulting in biting.
How to Prevent a Dog Attack
Although dog attacks aren’t the most common events, it’s important to know how to decrease your risk of being bitten or attacked by a dog. If an unfamiliar or aggressive-looking dog approaches you, consider the following de-escalation techniques.
- If the owner is nearby, call out to them and ask them to retrieve their dog.
- Put something between yourself and the dog to break its line of sight.
- Using a firm voice, tell the dog a common command, such as “stay” or “sit.”
- If you have any food or treats, toss the food away from you to distract the dog.
- If the dog’s collar has a leash attached, you can loop it around or secure it to a pole, fence, or other sturdy structure.
- Remember to stay calm. Screaming, running, jumping, or flailing your arms is likely to increase the dog’s excitement, and could potentially make the situation worse.
- If possible, climb on top of something that the dog cannot reach.
Remember to be aware of your surroundings while out on a walk. If you see an unfamiliar dog approaching, remember the above tips to decrease the chances of an attack.
Common Types of Dog Bite Injuries
Certain injuries are more common to see when someone is bitten by a dog. Some of the most common dog bite injuries include the following.
- Broken bones
- Nerve damage
- Puncture wounds
- Rabies infection
- Head injuries
- Neck injuries
- Eye injuries
- Emotional trauma
- Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Facial Injuries from Dog Bites
Serious injuries to the face are a common result of dog bites. A dog bite victim who suffered facial injuries may lose their site, have severe scarring, or become disfigured. Additionally, those who sustain facial injuries may need multiple corrective surgeries or even plastic surgery as a result. Medical bills for Michigan dog bite injuries have the potential to be astronomical, which is why victims should file a claim for compensation.
Who Is Liable for Dog Bite Injuries in Michigan?
In most cases, the dog’s owner will be held liable for physical injuries and psychological injuries the victim sustained from the attack. So long as the dog bite victim was not trespassing and did not provoke the dog when the attack happened, the owner can be held liable, even after the first bite. We’ll discuss liability in more detail in the next few sections.
Is Michigan a Strict Liability State for Dog Attacks?
Yes. In Michigan, dog owners can be held strictly liable for a victim’s injuries and losses in the event of a dog attack. Two situations in which a dog owner cannot be held liable include the following.
- Provocation: If someone is bitten by a dog after they have provoked it or riled it up in some way, the owner of the dog likely won’t be held liable for the damages. Even the calmest of dogs can become aggressive if they are pushed past their limit.
- Trespassing: Many homes have dogs not only as companions, but also as protection from intruders. If someone trespasses on another person’s property and is bitten by a dog, the dog’s owner will not be held liable for the trespasser’s injuries.
Proving Liability in Dog Bite Cases
Under Michigan law, a person who files a dog bite claim needs to prove that:
- The victim was injured by or suffered damage from a dog bite.
- They were on public property or lawfully on private property.
- The victim was bitten without provocation.
- The defendant was the owner of the dog.
Michigan dog bite claims are intricate in that “provocation” can be regarded as any intentional or unintentional action. It’s important to work with an experienced dog bite attorney for your case, as insurance companies and defense lawyers will do their best to place the blame on you.
What Is the Provocation Defense?
An insurance company or the attorney for the dog owner may try to dodge liability by using what is called the “provocation defense.” The provocation defense claims that the person bitten provoked the dog in a way that prompted the dog to bite. If this claim is proven to be true, a judge may dismiss someone’s dog bite lawsuit.
However, every dog bite case is unique, and provocation isn’t always intentional. For example, if someone pulls a dog’s tail and then gets bitten, they are unlikely to have a valid dog bite claim. If someone accidentally startles a dog and is bitten, the owner will still likely have dog bite liability. After a dog bite attack, it is extremely important for victims to seek help from experienced Michigan dog bite attorneys.
Michigan Dog Bite Laws
There are two basic dog bite laws in Michigan that outline how to determine liability for a dog bite injury. The Michigan dog bite statute outlined in MCL 287.351 states the following.
“If a dog bites a person, without provocation while the person is on public property, or lawfully on private property, including the property of the owner of the dog, the owner of the dog shall be liable for any damages suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”
In other words, as long as the dog attack occurred without the victim trespassing somewhere or provoking the dog, the dog owner will be held liable.
Michigan common laws regarding negligence can also come into play in dog bite injury cases. For example, let’s say that the dog owner knows that their dog is prone to aggressive behavior. If they fail to properly control, contain, or leash their dog, they will likely be liable for any dog-related injuries that occur.
Because of their knowledge of their own dog’s aggressive tendencies, the dog owner owed a duty of care to the victim. When people know they have dangerous dogs, they are expected to protect others by properly supervising the dogs, placing warning signs about dangerous dogs, and always using leashes.
Does Michigan Have a One Bite Law?
No. One bite laws state that an animal may bite someone only once before the owner is held liable for dog bite damages. When the first bite happens, the owner now knows of their dog’s aggressive tendencies. If their dog bites someone a second time because they failed to take all necessary safety precautions, they will most likely be held responsible for damages.
What to Do Immediately Following a Michigan Dog Bite
As soon as the dog bite attack injury happens, you should seek medical treatment. This is important to prevent further injuries, infections, and other complications. It will also tie your injuries more closely with the attack. Medical records are strong pieces of evidence, so seeking medical treatment is a must.
Next, try to identify the owner of the dog that bit you. This is important in determining whether or not you will need a rabies shot. If the dog has been vaccinated for rabies, you won’t need to get the painful shot.
Get the names and contact information of any witnesses to the attack. You should also get the dog owner’s insurance company information, as well as their name and contact information. If they have a claim number, be sure to get that so you can give it to your attorney.
Be sure to follow your doctor’s orders as closely as possible. This will decrease your chances of further complications and lessen the medical expenses that you incur. If you have new symptoms pop up after your initial evaluation, go back to the doctor and notify them.
Refrain from discussing the situation with anyone other than your Michigan personal injury attorney. If the insurance company of the dog owner tries to contact you, refuse to answer their questions and direct them to your attorney.
How Do I Report a Dog Bite?
You have a few options for reporting a dog bite in Michigan. For starters, you can contact your local animal control agency to report the bite. You may also contact your local public health agency. Reporting these incidents may give you a stronger paper trail while you fight for a fair dog bite settlement.
What Happens if I Was Bitten by a Relative or Neighbor’s Dog?
If you were bitten by your neighbor’s dog or by a family member’s dog, you still have the right to file a claim against the dog’s owner. Unless you were trespassing or provoking the dog, you could pursue legal action. In many dog bite cases, victims are either at home or in a familiar location, and most cases involve the dog of a family member or friend. Regardless of who the dog’s owner is, our law firm will fight tooth and nail to secure the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
What Happens if I Am a Delivery Driver Who Was Bitten by a Dog?
We’ve all seen the cartoons that depict dogs chasing after mailmen and delivery drivers. The unfortunate reality is that this does actually happen to thousands of delivery drivers each year. When a driver exits their vehicle to drop off food or packages at someone’s door, they are more at risk of injury by aggressive dogs.
When this happens, the injured drivers have two options. First, they could file a workers’ compensation claim with their employer. They may also file a claim against the owner for pain and suffering damages. If a negligent pet owner is responsible for the bite, they will likely have to pay the victim’s damages.
Can I Sue for Dog Bite Injuries in Michigan?
Yes. If you were bitten by a dog and you suffered an injury as a result, you can file a personal injury lawsuit. This applies to dog bites that occur in any location, as long as you did not trespass or provoke the dog. Many people also file homeowners’ insurance claims when a dog attack happens. In order to have a successful claim, we strongly recommend working with an experienced Michigan dog bite lawyer.
How Long Do I Have to File a Dog Bite Lawsuit?
The Michigan statute of limitations for dog bite cases is three years from the date on which the bite occurred. If you wait past this three-year mark, you will be barred from pursuing compensation. Victims who were under 18 when the bite happened have the right to file a lawsuit until their 19th birthday. The sooner you file a claim, the better. As soon as you can, we recommend speaking with our Michigan dog bite lawyers to start your claim process.
What Compensation Can I Get for a Dog Bite?
If you are injured in a dog attack, you may be able to seek compensation for the following losses.
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Post traumatic stress syndrome
- Pain and suffering, disfigurement, and scarring
- Emotional distress
- Emergency room costs
- Reasonable future medical care costs
- Loss of earning capacity
- Funeral and burial expenses
Contact Our Experienced Michigan Dog Bite Lawyers Today
Dog attacks are traumatic not only for children but for adults as well. Dog bite injuries can be extremely painful, causing deep wounds that may require multiple surgeries and lead to severe scarring or disfigurement. Recovering from a dog attack can take months, if not years, depending on the severity of the attack. Our lawyers take these and other factors into consideration when filing a claim.
To ensure that you or a loved one receives fair compensation, contact Lipton Law today to speak with a knowledgeable attorney. You can reach us online or at 248-557-1688 to schedule a no-cost consultation with a dog bite attorney Michigan.