Michigan Dog Bite Injury Attorney
Few things are more frightening than dog bite attacks. Dog bite injuries can leave the victim severely injured and traumatized. Injuries can include permanent scarring, nerve damage, broken bones, and long-standing mental pain. The Lee Steinberg Law Firm at 1-800-LEE-FREE will review your Michigan dog bite or dog attack case at no charge.
Our injury lawyers have been successfully handling Michigan dog bites and Michigan dog attack cases for over 40 years. Our team of experienced Michigan dog bite lawyers are dedicated to helping injured dog attack victims get the justice and compensation they deserve.
We represent a wide variety of dog bite victims. This includes utility workers, delivery people, children, parents, and seniors. We have helped our clients recover millions for medical treatments, permanent scarring, puncture wounds, nerve damage, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.
We offer free consultations, and as always, you pay nothing until we settle your Michigan dog bite case.
What is the Michigan Dog Bite Law?
Michigan is a strict liability state for dog bite claim. This means in almost all situations, the dog owner is liable for any injuries caused by their dog from a bite. The Michigan Law, dog bite statute is MCL 287.351, which reads:
“if a person is bitten by a dog, without provocation while the person is …lawfully on … 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.”
Under this rule, so long as the injured person was not trespassing and did not provoke the dog, the dog bite victim is entitled to all injuries the dog caused, without regard to whether the dog had attacked before.
The dog bite statute can only be used by a plaintiff (dog bite victim) when an actual bite occurs. This statute cannot be used if the dog only knocked a person over but did not actually bite.
Michigan Dog Leash Law
The Michigan Leash Law has been mostly unchanged since its original enactment in 1919. The law mandates that except for so-called working dogs, guard dogs, farm dogs, hunting dogs, or other such dogs, no dog owner shall allow his or her dog to stray unless held properly on a leash.
The Michigan dog leash law also requires all dogs 6 months or older to be licensed and wear a collar and tag approved by the director of agriculture.
The statute is MCL 287.262, which states the following:
It shall be unlawful for any person to own any dog 6 months old or over, unless the dog is licensed as hereinafter provided, or to own any dog 6 months old or over that does not at all times wear a collar with a tag approved by the director of agriculture, attached as hereinafter provided, except when engaged in lawful hunting accompanied by its owner or custodian; or for any owner of any female dog to permit the female dog to go beyond the premises of such owner when she is in heat unless the female dog is held properly in leash; or for any person except the owner or authorized agent, to remove any license tag from a dog; or for any owner to allow any dog, except working dogs such as leader dogs, guard dogs, farm dogs, hunting dogs, and other such dogs, when accompanied by their owner or his authorized agent, while actively engaged in activities for which such dogs are trained, to stray unless held properly in leash.
What is Provocation under the Michigan Dog Bite Law?
The main defense in dog bite lawsuits used by dog owners is provocation. To prove provocation, the defendant must establish the victim commenced a definitive act or actions to incite, instigate or anger the animal and further, the dog’s response must be proportional to the victim’s actions. See Bradacs v. Jicabone, 244 Mich. App 263, 276; 625 N.W. 2d 108 (2001). This means simply petting a dog or reaching down towards a dog is not provocation in most situations.
It is important to contact a Michigan dog bite lawyer following an attack so you can run the scenario by a legal professional and get answers.
Can You Sue for Negligence from a Michigan Dog Attack?
Yes, besides using the Michigan dog bite law, a person can file a lawsuit against a dog owner for negligence. In these situations, the dog owner did something or failed to do something that was unreasonable and it was foreseeable that an injury could occur.
Dog negligence cases involve not only situations where a dog bites a person, but also include cases where a dog knocks a person over and causes personal injury.
Another way a dog bite owner can held responsible is Michigan common law strict liability. Under the Michigan common law, a dog owner is responsible for harm caused by his or her dog when (1) the owner has knowledge of the dog’s abnormal dangerous propensities and (2) the injury is caused from the dangerous propensities that were known or should have been known.
Common law strict liability involves situations where the dog owner knew their dog was already a danger as the dog has bitten, attacked, or acted unreasonably dangerous in the past. The dog bite victim has to prove the prior dangerous behavior to be successful in this type of case.
Can I Get Reimbursed for My Dog’s injuries and Vet Bills?
If another dog attacks your dog, then you can get reimbursed for those injuries and the vet bills that follow. When this occurs, it is important to file a police report as soon as possible. You should contact the homeowners’ insurance company of the dog owner to find out what it will cover, including the vet bills.
However, you cannot sue for the personal injury of the dog. Dogs under the eyes of the law are “chattel”, meaning or personal property. And as much as we think if our dog as a member of the public, under the law you can only recover the market value of the dog from the other party. You cannot sue them for the injuries your own dog sustained. There is one exception though. If you were injured while breaking up a fight between your dog and the other person’s dog, then you can file a claim for your injuries. In fact, our law office routinely handles these cases and has recovered a lot of money for individuals who were in this very situation.
What Steps Should I Take If I am Bit by a Dog in Michigan?
A dog attacking a person is an extremely traumatic event. But there are certain things you should try to do after getting bit by a dog.
First, examine your entire body and see where you are bleeding. Make sure to clean your wounds with peroxide or water and stop the bleeding as best as you can. Then call the police. Let them know what happened so the responding officer can take statements, photographs, talk to witnesses, get the name and address of the dog owner, details about the dog, and give a ticket to the offending dog owner if necessary.
Next, go to the emergency room and seek medical attention immediately. Do not wait on this. A dog’s mouth is full of bacteria and an open wound can lead to serious infection if antibiotics are not started soon after the attack. Even if mean just going to local urgent care, it is vital to see a doctor.
Last, call an experienced and aggressive Michigan dog bite lawyer. The lawyer can answer your questions, let you know your rights, and set up a claim for compensation.
Our Team Michigan Dog Bite Attorneys Come To You
We understand it can be difficult to travel to a lawyer. With offices throughout the State of Michigan, we can come to you. We will meet with you regularly to update you on your case. We are always around to answer telephone calls and emails. And as always, you pay nothing until we settle your Michigan dog bite or Michigan dog attack case.
We Answer Your Michigan Dog Bite Questions
The Lee Steinberg Law Firm will answer any questions you have about your Michigan dog bite or dog attack case.
We investigate how the dog bite occurred, including reviewing police and animal control reports, public records, and vet records. We interview witnesses to the attack to get the full story to win your case. We also review medical records, consult with medical experts and find all possible insurance policies to ensure you get the most compensation possible.
Call a Michigan Dog Bite Injury Attorney
The Lee Steinberg Law Firm, are Michigan dog bite attorneys experienced in dog bite and dog injury cases. Call 1-800-FEE-FREE for assistance.
Our experienced team of Michigan dog bite injuries lawyers is dedicated to fighting to get you the compensation you deserve. Our Michigan dog attack attorneys have been representing individuals attacked by dogs for over 40 years.
Please call our Michigan 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 Michigan dog bite injuries and Michigan dog attack law. We are the Michigan dog bite experts. You pay nothing until we settle your dog bite case. Let us help you today.