What laws apply to Michigan dog attacks?
In Michigan, there are three theories of liability for dog attacks. First, a person can bring a lawsuit under the dog bite statute, MCL 287.351. Second, a person can file a lawsuit under common law strict liability. Third, a person can file a lawsuit asserting basic negligence principals against the dog owner. The principal defendant in most dog bite and dog attack cases is the dog owner.
Michigan Dog Bite Statute/ Michigan Dog Bite Law – MCL 287.351
Under the Michigan dog bite statute, an individual bitten by a dog can obtain compensation from the dog owner without having to prove negligence. Even if the dog was not previously vicious and had never bitten before, the dog bite victim can recover compensation under the Michigan Dog Bite Law.
Basically, as long as the dog bite victim did not provoke the animal and was not trespassing on private property, the owner of the dog is liable for any injuries caused by their dog. This is true even if the victim is lawfully on the private property of the dog owner.
Under the statute, a person is lawfully on the private property of the dog owner if the person is on the owner’s property:
- in the performance of any duty imposed upon him or her by the laws of Michigan;
- in the performance of any duty imposed upon him or her by the postal regulations of the United States; or
- if the person is on the owner’s property as an invited guest, business customer or client.
What if the Dog has Never Bitten Before?
There is no free bite rule in Michigan. Dog owners are liable the very first time their dog bites someone. Money damages are recoverable to the dog bite victim through the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy.
What is the Main Defense to the Michigan Dog Bite Law?
The main defense in Michigan dog bite cases is provocation.
Provocation does not have to be intentional to be used as a defense, meaning the dog owner can still use this defense even if the dog bite victim did not intend to provoke the animal. However, this defense is limited in scope and is successful in only certain situations.
Another defense in Michigan dog bite cases is trespassing. The plaintiff cannot trespass on the dog owner’s property at the time of the attack.
If I Only Have Scarring and Few Medical Bills, Do I Still Have a Case?
Yes. In fact, most dog bite cases involve little medical treatment. However, the dog bite will leave a scar that is permanently visible for everybody to see. These cases are still very good cases, even though you may have only been to a doctor a few times and paid relatively small medical bills.
What Compensation Can I Expect from a Michigan Dog Bite Attack?
The amount of compensation you can expect from a dog bite attack depends on the severity of the injuries, the level of scarring, if the injuries are permanent, the amount of medical bills, wage loss, and other factors.
The amount of homeowner’s insurance the dog owner carries is also an important factor. If you are injured because of a dog bite or dog attack, the dog owner can be held responsible for paying money damages for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, emotional distress and embarrassment.
Call a Michigan Dog Bite Lawyer
There are time limits in bringing a Michigan dog bite case. This is called the statute of limitations, so it is important to contact a lawyer and protect your legal rights.
The Law Offices of Lee Steinberg at 1-800-LEE-FREE are Michigan dog bite experts. Our experienced team of Michigan dog bite lawyers is dedicated to fighting to get you the compensation you deserve. Our Michigan dog bite attorneys have been representing individuals bitten 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 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.
Ask Lee Free
Q:Are dog bites common?
A:The Humane Society reports that in America, an estimated 4.7 million bites occur each year and nearly 800,000 people require medical care.