With every dog bite injury claim, there’s a multitude of circumstances that dictate the outcome. The Detroit dog bite attorneys examine the most common factors brought up during a dog bite claim so you know what to look for and expect.
Michigan Dog Bite Laws:
First, it is important whether the case involves an actual dog bite or not. Under Michigan law, dog bites are covered by a statute – or law – specifically MCL 287.351. According to this law, if a dog bites a person without provocation, and that person is not trespassing, the dog owner is liable for all damages that accrue from the dog bite. This is the case even if the dog had never displayed any vicious propensities prior to the bite.
The only defense to the dog bite law is provocation. If the dog bite victim provoked the animal, the dog owner is not liable. However, it is incumbent upon the dog owner to prove provocation and the standard is high.
Additionally, dog attack cases can still be brought even if no dog bite occurred. If the dog owner knew or should have known the dog had aggressive tendencies or was vicious, and the dog harmed a person, the victim can make a claim for civil compensation. Typically, these cases are called common law strict liability claims.
Michigan dog bite or dog attack cases can also be brought by proving negligence on the part of the dog owner. If the dog owner created a dangerous situation that was foreseeable, and this situation leads to injury, the dog owner can be held liable for causing the injury.
Types of Compensation For Michigan Dog Bite Cases:
An essential element in all Michigan dog bite cases, regardless if a statute is involved, is the bite must have caused some kind of harm. If the harm was small, the recovery will not be large. However, dog bite cases involve many different types of claims for damage. These claims can include:
• Past, present and future medical expenses
• Lost wages from time off work (including time spent going to doctor’s appointments)
• Pain and suffering from the dog attack
• Permanent scarring left by the dog bite attack
How Dog Bite Injury Compensation Is Determined:
The homeowners insurance company typically pays for dog bite claims for the dog owner. Most dog bite claims are settled with the insurance company at the claims stage. This means the claim is settled between your attorney and the insurance adjuster without having to go forward with a lawsuit.
This process involves forwarding medical records, medical bills and photographs of scarring to the insurance adjuster as the claim goes on. At some point, the plaintiff attorney on the victim’s behalf negotiates a settlement with the insurance company.
If the dog owner was not insured, a lawsuit can be filed against the dog owner. However, it is very difficult to collect money in these situations because no insurance is involved and most people are not collectable.
If a lawsuit is filed, the case will be assigned to a judge and a period of discovery will take place. During discovery, both sides exchange documents and depositions of the plaintiff, dog owner, and other people are taken. During the lawsuit, the parties usually settle the case without a jury trial. But if the parties cannot agree on a settlement amount, a jury trial can occur and the jury will decide the amount to be awarded, if any.
The Michigan dog bite lawyers at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. represents dog bite victims throughout the state of Michigan. We can answer your questions and fight for you to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Please call us at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) so we may answer your questions. There is no fee unless we win your case.