The injuries suffered due to a dog bite or dog attack can be significant. They often include severe lacerations, significant disfigurement and scarring, fractured bones, and even death. Victims of dog bite attacks do have the right to file a lawsuit for damages against the owner or keeper of the attacking dog.
Michigan Dog Bite Liability Laws
In Michigan, the law recognizes three potential causes of action arising out of a dog attack incident: (1) statutory strict liability; (2) common-law strict liability; (3) and common law negligence (including statutory and ordinance violations).
Michigan has enacted statutory strict liability under what is commonly referred to as the dog-bite statute. Under this law, if a dog bites a person, without provocation, while the person is on public property, or lawfully on private property, including the property of the owner of the dog, the owner of the dog is 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.
In addition to strict liability under the dog-bite statute, Michigan law recognizes two other potential causes of action arising out of a dog attack incident: common-law strict liability and common law negligence (including statutory and ordinance violations).
A cause of action for common law strict liability attaches for harm done by a dog or domestic animal where three elements are present: (1) one is the owner or possessor of the animal; (2) one knew or should have known of the animal's abnormal dangerous propensities; and (3) harm results from the dangerous propensity that was known or should have been known. This means that if someone owns or harbors a vicious dog and a person is harmed as a result of the dog's vicious behavior, then the owner or keeper of the dog will be liable under common law strict liability.
Next, a cause of action under common law negligence is available without regard to whether the owner, keeper, or possessor had knowledge of the dog's dangerous propensities if that person was negligent in failing to prevent foreseeable harm and that negligence resulted in an injury. This means that the dog or animal owner may be liable if the injury occurred because the dog owner was unreasonably careless in controlling the dog. This can include not putting a leash on the dog, the lack of a proper sign in warning citizens of a vicious dog, and simply not paying attention to the actions of the dog.
Michigan Dog Bite Lawsuits
Lawsuits for dog bite injuries are filed with the court, unless the claim can be settled with the insurance beforehand. When a lawsuit is filed, a claim for damages is made and is supported by medical records, photographs, medical bills, and other documentation. Because there are very few defenses to a dog bite case, most of these lawsuits are settled before a trial.
Free Michigan Dog Bite Book
If you would like more information about your legal rights after a dog bite injury or attack, you can order our FREE book, "The Ultimate Michigan Dog Bite and Animal Attack Handbook" by Michigan dog bite attorney Lawrence J. Buckfire. The book explains the laws on Michigan bites and animal attacks, your legal rights after a bite, and how to get the best money settlement for you injuries. Our book sells for $14.95 on Amazon but Lawrence will send it to you for FREE.
Michigan Dog Bite Lawyer No Fee Promise
Our Michigan dog bite lawyers will represent you in your case under our NO FEE PROMISE. This means that you will not be charged any legal fees whatsoever unless we obtain a settlement or recovery for you. You have absolutely no obligation for legal fees unless we win your case. If we do not obtain a settlement for you, you owe us nothing!
Contact Your Michigan Dog Bite Lawyer
Our experienced Michigan dog bite lawyers will hire specialized investigators to document the incident, supplementing any evidence you have been able to collect. For more information on your legal rights after a an accident, call us now at (800) 606-1717 to speak with one of our Michigan dog bite lawyers about your case, or simply submit this contact form and we will get back to you quickly.