Our Michigan dog bite lawyers represent victims of dog bites and attacks. Many times, these attacks occur when a dog runs out of the door of a house and attacks and bites a person lawfully on the property, on another property, or in the street. In this situation, the dog owner is liable under Michigan law for the injuries and harm caused by the dog attack.
These dog bites and attacks can cause significant injuries and cause the victim to incur substantial medical expenses. When there is a dog bite, the person bitten is often left with a visible and disfiguring scar. In other attacks, the dog may knock down the victim and cause serious orthopedic and other injuries. The victim, often an innocent child, can sue the dog owner for the injuries suffered in the attack.
There are three alternative theories of dog bite laws recognized in Michigan to prove liability in a civil lawsuit. Each of these theories can be used to hold the dog owner or keeper of the dog liable for the injuries suffered in an attack. Several Michigan dog bite laws used to win these cases.
These dog bite laws are best explained by the jury instructions that are given to the jury after the evidence is introduced at a trial. They explain the statutes and laws in plain English for the jury to understand so that they can fairly render a verdict based upon the evidence.
M Civ JI 80.01 Dog Bite Statute—Explanation
We have a state statute that provides that the owner of a dog that bites a person without provocation while that person is [ on public property / lawfully on private property ] is liable for any damages suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the previous viciousness of the dog or whether the owner knew of that viciousness.
M Civ JI 80.02 Dog Bite Statute—Burden of Proof
The plaintiff has the burden of proof on each of the following matters:
that the plaintiff [was injured by / sustained damage from] a dog bite,
that the plaintiff was [on public property / lawfully on private property ],
that the biting was without provocation, and
that the defendant was the owner of the dog.
Your verdict will be for the plaintiff if you decide that all of these have been proved.
Your verdict will be for the defendant if you decide that any of these has not been proved.
There are only a few defenses to a dog bite or attack. These include if the dog was provoked by the victim prior to the attack and if the victim was a trespasser on the dog owner’s property at the time of the attack. The Michigan dog bite laws on these defenses are below.
MCivJI 80.03 Dog Bite Statute—Definition of Provocation
When I say "provocation," I mean any action or activity, whether intentional or unintentional, which would reasonably be expected to cause a dog in similar circumstances to react in a manner similar to that shown by the evidence.
MCivJI 80.04 Dog Bite Statute—Lawfully on Property
A person is lawfully on the property unless the person has gained lawful entry upon the premises for the purpose of an unlawful or criminal act or is a trespasser.
MCivJI 80.05 Dog Bite Statute—Lawfully on Property of Dog Owner
A person is lawfully on the property of the owner of the dog if the person is on the owner's property in the performance of any duty imposed upon [ him/her ] by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States.
Our dog bite attorneys in Michigan have extensive knowledge of these dog bite laws and how to use them to win substantial settlements and verdicts for our clients. If you or someone you know was injured when a dog ran out of a house and attacked or bit you or a child, you should contact our office immediately to speak with one of our experienced lawyers. There are strict time deadlines for filing lawsuits under these Michigan dog bite laws so it is important that you contact our office as soon as possible after the incident.