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 Sterling Heights and Macomb County are all too prevalent. Dogs are permitted to roam free outside by their owners, or they attack guests inside a house without provocation.
Sterling Heights is the home to hundreds if not thousands of dogs. The long city sidewalks and dense residential area make for a great community to walk dogs and enjoy their company. But accidents do happen. And when they do, the injures that result can be very serious.
Under Michigan law, a person can make a claim for compensation if they are injured due to the bad actions of a dog. There are three main causes of action for dog injury cases, including (1) statutory dog bite violation, (2) common law strict liability, and (3) negligence.
What are Common Dog Bite Injuries?
The injuries that result from a dog bite attack in Michigan can vary widely. Most dog bites result in scarring and blood loss from the dog’s sharp teeth piercing the skin. However, if the dog’s teeth reach muscle, or other physical structures in the body, the injuries can be much more severe. Some of the more common dog bite injuries include:
- Nerve damage;
- Muscle damage;
- Torn ligaments;
- Broken bones;
- Broken hips;
- Low back pain
What is the Michigan Dog Bite Statute?
The Michigan dog bite statute is the law that governs dog bite attacks. It is an old law that has changed very little over the last century. Under MCL 287.351, 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 provocation. Once that is demonstrated, the only issue left is the amount of damages the dog caused.
What is the Statute of Limitations of a Dog Bite in Sterling Heights?
The statute of limitations is the amount of time a plaintiff has to file a lawsuit in court against a defendant. After that time expires, the plaintiff is forever barred from filing a lawsuit against that specific defendant. The statute of limitations for a dog bite case for compensation against a private dog owner is three (3) years.
Once a lawsuit is filed, the statute of limitations is tolled, or stopped.
It is important to identify the correct dog owner(s) following a Sterling Heights dog bite attack. Misidentifying the dog owner, and then naming the wrong dog owner in a lawsuit can take away your right to compensation.
There are exceptions to the standard 3-year statute of limitations for minors and certain other plaintiffs.
Who Pays Compensation for a Dog Bite Injury?
In Sterling Heights, a dog owner is responsible for the actions and behavior of their dog. If a dog attacks and bites a person, the dog owner is responsible for paying the damages the dog caused. This can include lost wages, medical bills, prescriptions, pain and suffering and scarring. These claims are typically covered by homeowner’s insurance. So if a dog attacks and causes an injury, the homeowner’s insurance company for the dog owner will pay the claim.
If the dog owner does not have homeowner’s insurance, then the dog bite victim can still file a lawsuit against the dog owner. In those situations, the dog owner may be forced to pay the victim out of its own pocket.
It is for this reason the Law Offices of Lee Steinberg recommends that all dog owners maintain some type of liability insurance to protect themselves in case something bad happens. Renters insurance will also cover dog bite claims, so long as liability coverage is purchased.
Commercial establishments that keep and maintain dogs may also be held responsible if a dog attacks a customer. Landlords can also be held responsible for allowing a dangerous dog to remain on the premises. However, claims against landlords are more complicated and the injured person must show the landlord knew about the dog’s dangerous propensities, the landlord had enough time to remove the dog from the rental, and failed to take corrective measures to remove the dog.
Important Sterling Heights Dog Bite Contacts and Emergency Information:
Macomb County Animal Control
21417 Dunham Rd.
Clinton Twp., MI 48036
Sterling Heights Police Department
40333 Dodge Park Rd.
Sterling Heights, MI 48313
Henry Ford Medical Center
3500 15 Mile Rd.
Sterling Heights, MI 48310
Henry Ford Macomb Hospital
15855 19 Mile Rd.
Clinton Twp., MI 48038
Dog Bite Attorney Sterling Heights
It is important to find an experienced and trusted dog bite lawyer to handle your case. Our personal injury attorneys are experts in obtaining compensation for the pain and suffering, emotional damages, trauma, scarring, medical expenses, and lost wages a Sterling Heights and Macomb County dog bite attack causes.
We have represented hundreds of dog bite victims. We understand the intricacies of dog bite cases. Our law firm never charges a fee unless we win your case. If you are looking for a Sterling Heights dog bite lawyer, please contact us at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) for a free case evaluation.