Dogs can be wonderful animals. However, when they turn vicious and attack, it can be one of the scariest events a person can experience. Dog bite attacks in Flint and Genesee County are all too prevalent. Often, dogs can roam free, are not properly leashed, or dog owners do a poor job restraining them.
Dog bite attacks can lead to both emotional, physical, and financial distress. Medical expenses from the hospital and doctor’s office can run in the thousands of dollars. Injuries can mean lost time from work and lost wages. The injuries also cause pain and suffering that can alter the entire course of a person’s life. Then there is the emotional trauma of enduring the dog attack.
All of these injuries and damages are compensable from the dog owner because of a dog bite attack.
Things to Do After A Flint Dog Bite Attack
Call the Authorities – If you have been attacked by a dog, it is important to call local law enforcement. A police report or a report from Animal Control is vital to ensure the dog owner is held responsible for the bad actions of their dog. Both a police report and animal control report will get the name and address of the dog owner, take witness statements as needed, find out if the dog is up to date on its shots, issue citations as required and obtain other information that will be very useful for a Flint dog bite case.
Seek Medical Attention – It is also important to seek medical treatment. Even if you feel you have been not been injured much, it is vital to see a doctor or visit a medical facility following a dog bite attack. Even the most mundane dog bite can cause infection. Without the use of a basic antibiotic, a small infection can turn into a serious medical event, requiring hospitalization and even surgery.
Follow Doctor’s Orders – After you have been to a doctor or medical provider, it is important to follow the doctor’s orders. If the physician recommended an antibiotic, take the antibiotic. If the doctor recommended ice packs or hot packs, or to keep your leg or arm elevated, then it is important to do so. Dog bites can cause nerve damage, arthritis and other long-term ailments. It is important to try and prevent this by being proactive in your treatment.
Call a Dog Bite Lawyer – An experienced and knowledgeable dog bite lawyer in Flint will help you obtain the compensation and justice you deserve. A good personal injury lawyer will obtain all the medical records, collect initial and updated photographs of the injury sites, meet with treating doctors as necessary so the insurance company can understand the limitations, restrictions and injuries the dog bite attack caused, and employ experts to show why the dog owner is responsible.
What Are the Causes of Action for a Flint Dog Bite Case?
There are three main causes of action, or claims, a plaintiff can make in a Flint dog bite case.
Michigan Dog Bite Statute – Under MCL 287.351, also known as the “dog bite statute”, a dog owner is responsible for all injuries the dog causes from biting a person, so long as that person was not trespassing and did not provoke the dog.
This is a strict liability statute. This means the plaintiff does not have to prove negligence on the part of the defendant dog owner. Instead, all the plaintiff must show is that he or she was bit by the dog, and that the dog bit without being provoked. Once that is demonstrated, the only issue left is the amount of damages the dog caused.
Common-Law Strict Liability – Another claim a dog bite victim in Flint can make against a dog owner for injuries is a claim for common law strict liability. This essentially means the dog owner knew of the dangerous propensities of the dog, and harm resulted from the dangerous propensities that were known or should have been known by the owner.
Again, like the dog bite statute, fault does not matter. However, unlike the dog bite statute, you have to prove the owner knew or should have known of the dog’s dangerous propensities. This can be difficult to demonstrate sometimes. If a dog has never bit another person or attacked another animal before, the owner does not have knowledge of the dog’s dangerous behavior.
Negligence – The last cause of action a plaintiff can allege against a dog owner is a standard negligence claim. The Michigan Supreme Court in Trager v. Thor, 445 Mich. 95 (1994), held:
[A] negligence cause of action arises when there is ineffective control of an animal in a situation where it would reasonably be expected that injury could occur, and injury does proximately result from the negligence. The amount of control required is that which would be exercised by a reasonable person based upon the total situation at the time, including the past behavior of the animal and the injuries that could have been reasonably foreseen.
To prove a negligence claim, the plaintiff must usually show the dog owner or caretaker of the dog had knowledge the animal had attacked in the past, thereby creating a duty to exercise reasonable care.
What Are Common Dog Bite Injuries?
The types of injuries caused by a dog bite can vary. Typically, scarring can result from the dog breaking the skin and causing blood vessel damage and damage to the dermis. New collagen fibers mend the break, creating a scar. However, scarring is not the only injury from a dog bite attack. Injuries include:
- Broken bones;
- Nerve damage;
- Torn ligaments;
- Low back pain and neck pain;
- Broken hip;
- Loss of vision, loss of hearing;
Who is Responsible for Paying a Dog Bite Case?
Under Michigan law, the dog owner is responsible for the actions of the dog they own. The dog owner can include more than one person. It can also include any person in charge of possessing and keeping the dog for a sufficient amount of time that the individual had control over the well-being of the dog.
Dog bite cases are covered by homeowner’s insurance and/or renter’s insurance. If the dog owner had homeowner’s insurance at the time of the bite, the homeowner’s insurance is responsible for paying for the injuries the dog caused.
Important Flint Dog Bite Contacts and Emergency Information:
Genesee County Animal Control
4351 Pasadena Ave.
Flint, MI 48504
Genesee County Circuit Court
900 Saginaw St.
Flint, MI 48502
Davison Police Department
200 E Flint St.
Davison, MI 48423
Flint Police Department
210 E 5th St.
Flint, MI 48502
Grand Blanc Police Department
203 E Grand Blanc Rd.
Grand Blanc, MI 48439
Burton Police Department
4090 Manor Dr.
Burton, MI 48519
Flint, Michigan Dog Bite Lawyers
The Michigan dog bite attorneys at the Law Offices of Lee Steinberg, P.C. have handled hundreds of legal issues involving dog bite cases in the city of Flint and Genessee County. We take a detailed approach to each case, investigating the cause, meeting with witnesses, and holding defendants accountable for dog attack injuries.
We never charge anything until we win your case. Please contact our dedicated team of Detroit dog attack lawyers at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733). The cost is free and the advice can mean the difference in obtaining justice and excellent compensation, or allowing a wrong to continue. Contact our law firm today for a free consultation.