A Dog attack can be one of the most traumatic incidents a person can experience. And not only are they traumatizing, but they can leave a person with severe dog bite injuries, especially when the dog bites the face.
If you or a loved one were attacked and bitten by a dog in Michigan, one of our experienced Detroit Dog Bite Lawyers can help. At The Lee Steinberg Law Firm, we understand how devastating and traumatizing dog bite cases can be. Let us handle your claim so you can focus on rest and recovery.
What to Do After a Dog Bite in Livonia, Detroit
If you are attacked and bitten by a dog, your health and well-being should be your number one priority. You should also make sure you report the incident so the dog owner can be held accountable.
Follow the steps below if you are attacked by a dog in Detroit:
- Try to stop the bleeding immediately by applying compression with a clean cloth or towel
- Keep the injured area elevated
- Disinfect the wound and clean it out with soap and water
- Bandage the wound with a sterile dressing
- Go to an emergency room or urgent care as soon as possible to have the wound checked by a doctor and to get an antibiotic.
- Contact Animal Control or the police to report the incident
- If possible, take photos of the injuries for evidence
- After your injuries have been addressed and the incident reported, contact a local Detroit dog bite lawyer to help you with your case
Detroit Dog Bite Law
Detroit dog bite attacks follow Michigan law and the dog bite statute. Under MCL 287.351, a dog owner in Detroit is responsible for any injuries from bites their dog causes. The only defenses the dog owner can use is trespassing and provocation. If the injury victim, whether a child or adult, was not trespassing and did not provoke or instigate the attack, the dog owner must pay for all damages. This includes medical bills, pain and suffering, scarring, emotional distress and fear of animals.
The City of Detroit also has a dog ordinance. Under Chapter 6 of the Detroit municipal code, the city outlines a number of rules and regulations about the ownership and upkeep of dogs and dangerous animals. Section 6-1-6 makes it illegal to own a dangerous or vicious dog, stating in part:
It shall be unlawful for any person to own, harbor, keep or shelter a vicious animal, as defined in section 6-1-1 of this Code, or an animal that has been attacked, bitten or scratched by any animal known to have been afflicted with rabies.
Detroit law also requires all dog owners to keep their dogs on their own property and properly restrained. It is illegal to allow any dog to stray on public or private property, other than the private property of the owner. Section 6-2-6. Failing to do so can result in a fine of up to $500 and up to 90 days in jail.
In addition, it is illegal for a person to own, harbor, keep or shelter more than four (4) dogs over the age of four (4) months at a residency within the City of Detroit.
According to Section 6-1-1 of the Detroit city code, a vicious dog is defined as any animal which:
- Mauls or kills a person or otherwise has inflicted serious bodily injury upon a person without provocation; or
- Has inflicted two (2) or more bites upon one (1) person causing serious injury to the person; or
- Has inflicted one (1) or more bites upon two (2) or more persons causing serious injury to the person or persons.
- More than 5 million people are attacked and bitten by dogs each year in America
- Almost 50% of dog attacks and bites happen to children
- 1 in 5 people who are bitten by a dog end up needing medical attention
- Every day, nearly 1,000 people require emergency care for dog bites in the U.S.
- Close to 13,000 people are hospitalized due to severe dog bites annually
- Dog bites usually happen because the dog feels scared or threatened or because they are trying to protect their owners
- 81% of dog bites only cause minor injuries
- 25% of fatal dog attacks were inflicted by dogs who were chained up
- In 2018, close to 6,000 U.S. Postal Service employees were attacked by dogs
Every dog attack is different and not all dog bite victims sustain the same types of injuries. It can depend on the person who was attacked and where on their body the dog had access to. However, some of the most common dog bite injuries include:
- Facial injuries
- Arm injuries
- Leg injuries
- Scars and scarring
- Puncture wounds
- Disfiguring injuries
- Nerve damage
- Bone fractures
Dog bite injuries aren’t just physically damaging, but they can be emotionally scarring as well. Children especially may suffer from PTSD that leaves them traumatized and afraid of dogs. Treatment with a therapist or psychologist can be helpful in solving nightmares, flashbacks and over all fear from dogs.
A significant percentage of dog bites occur at home or places you are familiar with, according to the Humane Society. And just because you might be friends with the owner or related to them does not mean that you don’t have the right to pursue legal action against them.
Filing a claim or a lawsuit against a friend, neighbor, or family member might cause tension or a strained relationship, but it’s usually the best course of action. By filing a claim, the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance might cover the expenses rather than the owner having to pay you out of pocket.
As shown by the statistics above, thousands of mail carriers are attacked by dogs every year in the United States. And these same facts hold true for other delivery services. Delivery drivers for companies like GrubHub, Doordash, Postmates, and Uber Eats are all also common victims of dog attacks.
But what can you do as a delivery driver when you are attacked by a dog?
There are essentially two options in these situations.
- If you are an official employee of the company you drive for, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim to recover medical and lost wage benefits.
- The second option is to file a claim or lawsuit against the dog owner for damages, such as physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, permanent impairment, and scarring and disfigurement. In some situations, you may also be able to get medical bills and lost wages paid by the homeowners insurance company of the dog owner.
If you intend to file a lawsuit against the dog owner or party responsible for the dog attack, you have three years from the date of the incident to file your claim.
Three years is the Michigan statute of limitations for dog bite claims. So as long as you file your claim or lawsuit within the three-year time frame, you will still be eligible to recover compensation.
The exception to this statute is if the victim was a child. If a child was under the age of 18 when they were attacked and bitten, they have until their 19th birthday to file a lawsuit.
When you file a Detroit dog bite claim, the responsible party and their insurance company may try to deny the claim using these common defenses:
If you were not authorized or given permission to be on the property where you were attacked, the defense could argue that you were trespassing, and thus it is not their fault that you were injured. Trespassing is limited to certain situations and is fact dependent.
In some cases, the other party may try to claim the injured person provoked the dog, which caused it to attack. Under Michigan law, provocation only occurs when the dog’s response is proportional to the actions that triggered the dog. Simply petting a dog or putting a hand out is not provocation.
However, the definition of “provocation” does not take into account the intent of the actor. Instead, provocation focuses on the nature of the act itself and the relationship between that act and an outcome. Thus, an unintentional act can constitute provocation
The compensation you can recover for a dog bite settlement will depend on the damages suffered. Generally, you can recover compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of consortium
However, there is never a guarantee that you will be given full and fair compensation by the insurance company. This is why it’s important to work with an experienced Detroit dog bite lawyer. A lawyer can help you build a strong case, which improves your chances of getting more money.
If you intend to take legal action for a Michigan dog bite injury, you will need the help of an attorney.
A Detroit dog bite lawyer will help you understand your rights, deal with complex legal issues and paperwork, help you provide evidence, and ensure the guilty party or their insurance company pays you the compensation you rightfully deserve.
Furthermore, the right attorney can:
- Answer all of your questions
- Give you sound legal advice
- Thoroughly investigate your case
- Handle negotiations with the other party
- Represent you should your case go to trial
- Maximize your settlement.
The Lee Steinberg Law Firm: Experienced Detroit Dog Bite Lawyer
For over 40 years, The Lee Steinberg Law Firm has helped injured victims win their cases to collect the compensation they need and deserve. We care about the health and well-being of our clients. The results of a Detroit dog attack can be traumatic – let us help you get the compensation you need to recover and move on as comfortably as possible.
Please call The Lee Steinberg Detroit dog bite lawyers at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form so we can answer any questions you may have about your attack.
As always, you pay nothing until we settle your Detroit dog bite case.