Our Michigan dog bite lawyers represent victims of dog bite attacks. Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. experienced attorneys get compensation and settlements for victims in cases throughout the entire State of Michigan. We help you win the highest possible dog bite settlement for your case.
Our dog bite injury lawyers represent children, adults, postal workers, service providers, and utility workers. We can help you if you or someone you care about suffered injuries in a dog attack. We get our clients to top dog bite settlement awards in Michigan.
Many times, the person bitten by the dog is a friend, relative, or neighbor of the dog owner. While his may present an uncomfortable situation, we assure everyone involved that our intent is only to seek a settlement from homeowner’s insurance company for the dog owner. This reduces the strain on a good relationship and prevents potential bad feelings amongst friends and family in the future.
What To Do If A Dog Bites You in Michigan
If you or someone you care about was bitten or attacked by a dog in Michigan, you should take the following steps:
- Place a clean towel over the injury to stop any bleeding.
- Try to keep the injured area elevated.
- Wash the bite carefully with soap and water.
- Apply a sterile bandage to the wound.
- Get prompt medical attention at a hospital, urgent care clinic, or doctor's office
- Notify Animal Control or the Police Department and file a written report
- Take photographs of the injuries as soon as possible after the dog bite
- Contact our experienced dog bite attorneys to see if you are eligible for a settlement
What Are The Michigan Dog Bite Liability Laws?
MCL Section 287.351 is the Michigan law for dog bites and attacks.
(1) 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 shall 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.
(2) A person is lawfully on the private property of the owner of the dog within the meaning of this act if the person is on the owner's property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him or her by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or if the person is on the owner's property as an invitee or licensee of the person lawfully in possession of the property unless said person has gained lawful entry upon the premises for the purpose of an unlawful or criminal act.
In addition to the dog bite statute, Michigan also has common laws that are used for victims to make claims for injuries caused in an attack. Under Michigan’s common law, the dog attack victim only has to prove that the owner of the dog knew (or should have known) that the dog had vicious propensities. A dog owner is also liable if the dog was not on a leash at the time of the attack if the attack occurred on public property, like a park, public street, or neighboring property.
Common Types of Michigan Dog Bite Injuries
The most common and typical injuries seen by our dog bite injury lawyers after a dog attack are:
- Puncture wounds
- Pain and suffering
- Disfigurement resulting from scars
- Bone Fractures
- Nerve Damage
- Dog Bite Death from fatal dog attacks
In addition to physical injuries, a dog bite victim often suffers from psychological damages as well. These psychological damages can include, but are not limited to, nightmares, post-traumatic stress syndrome, humiliation and embarrassment.
Do I Need To Report A Dog Bite To The Police?
A person bitten by a dog should report the incident to the police or county animal control unit. The police or animal control unit will do an investigation and issue a written report. This is the best way to document the attack to prove that it happened. Many times, the attacking dog will be quarantined or removed from the owner if it has dangerous propensities.
Filing a dog bite report also provides a record of the dog’s dangerous history. This gives the animal control unit a basis for taking court action or issuing a fine to the owner. It also provides the insurance company proof that the dog attack occurred and is helpful when trying to reach a settlement.
How Do I Get A Copy Of A Dog Bite Report?
A copy of the dog bite report can be requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to the government agency that took the report. There is often a small fee required to get a copy of the report. Our law firm will get and pay for your report if you choose us to handle your case.
What Are The Legal Rights Of Dog Bite Victims?
Under Michigan law, a dog bite victim has the legal right to compensation for injuries suffered in the attack under most circumstances. Compensation can include payment of medical expenses, lost wages, and the cost of future plastic surgery for scar revision or scar reduction. The victim is also entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, fright and shock, and other psychological injuries as a result of the attack. The victim should also receive a settlement payout for any scars and disfigurements from the dog bite attack.
Can I Sue For A Dog Bite In Michigan?
Yes. You can sue for a dog bite in Michigan if you were bitten by a dog and suffered an injury. This includes attacks on your property, public property, and on the property of the dog owner if you were lawfully on the property. Being lawfully on the property means that you were a guest of the property or you were there for a business purpose, such as a courier, delivery person, sales person, contractor, or other person providing services or maintenance on the property.
Can I Sue If My Dog Was Attacked By Another Dog?
Under Michigan law, you can sue to owner of a dog that attacks your dog. You are limited to veterinary fees and expenses and the "value" of your dog. You cannot claim damages for your loss of companionship of the dog or the dog's pain and suffering like you can in a case involving a person.
Who Can Sue If A Child Is Bitten By A Dog?
A parent, legal guardian, or conservator can sue if a child was bitten or attacked by the dog. The settlement money goes to the child and cannot be spent without court approval. This law is intended to protect the assets and interests of the child until the age of eighteen.
How Much Time Do I Have To Sue For A Dog Bite?
In Michigan, the statute of limitations provides the time deadline that you have to sue for a dog bite. In general, it is three years from the date of the attack. In cases involving children, you have until the child's nineteenth (19th) birthday to file a lawsuit against the owner or keeper of the dog.
How We Help You After A Dog Bite or Attack
Our dog bite injury attorneys will get the animal control reports, police reports, medical records, and medical bills. We then contact the insurance company for the dog owner to set up your claim. We will deal directly with the insurance adjuster to get your medical bills paid and you reimbursed for your out of pocket medical expenses.
We also often get professional photographs taken of your scars to help prove the seriousness of your injury. We have many of our clients evaluated by a plastic surgeon to determine if the appearnce of a scar can be improved with plastic surgery and to determine the cost of the procedure. We use these photographs and medical reports to maximize your settlement amount.
We then negotiate with the insurance adjuster to get you the highest possible settlement for your case. If you do not receive a fair settlement offer, we file a dog bite lawsuit on your behalf. Suing for a dog bite doesn't have to be difficult and we handle everything from start to finish. We will do everything to make this a stress free process for you.
How Do I File A Michigan Dog Bite Lawsuit?
If our attorneys are unable to settle your case for a fair amount with the insurance company, the next step is to file a dog bite lawsuit against the owner or keeper of the dog. Our attorneys will prepare the lawsuit document, called the Complaint, and file it with court. If the victim is a minor, we will appoint the parent or guardian as the person bringing the lawsuit for the child.
The next step is to serve the Complaint on the defendant and the litigation process is started. Once the case is filed, we handle everything and will keep you updated from start to finish. The case can take more than a year to complete depending on the county of the lawsuit and the judge assigned to the case. We settle more than 97% of our dog bite cases for the maximum amount before going to a trial. Most cases are settled at a mediation or court settlement conference.
Video: What Is The Average Settlement Payout For A Dog Bite Case?
There is no average settlement payout for a dog bite case because every case is completely different based upon the facts of the attack, the injuries, and the medical treatment. Another factor is the insurance policy limits of the dog owner or business owner.
Our experienced dog bite attorneys will review your case and win you the highest possible settlement for your case. We have a great history of large settlements and jury verdicts in dog bite cases.
How Much Can You Get For A Michigan Dog Bite Lawsuit?
There is no formula or guide to determine the amount of a dog bite settlement. The amount of a dog bite settlement award is determined from a number of factors, which include:
- The circumstances of the dog bite or attack
- The type of injuries suffered by the person bit by the dog
- The location of the injuries on the person bit by the dog (face, arms, legs, etc.)
- The amount of medical treatment needed by the dog bite victim and future medical treatment needed
- Whether there are permanent injuries, scars, & disfigurements
- The amount of medical expenses, bills, and lost wages
- The amount of insurance coverage for the dog owner
Our attorneys will evaluate all of these factors and discuss with you the likely dog bite settlement award for your case. Our lawyers almost always get you substantially greater compensation than if you were to try to settle your case directly with the insurance company adjuster, even after our legal fees. This is often several times the highest settlement offer made to you.
Who Pays The Dog Bite Settlement?
Dog bite settlements are typically paid by insurance company for the dog owner or the keeper of the dog. If the dog owner is a private individual, then the homeowner's insurance policy provides coverage to pay the claim, even if the attack did not occur at the home or on the property. If the attack occurs at a place of business, then a business liability insurance policy pays the settlement. When the person rents a home or apartment, there may be renter's insurance to cover the claim.
Many times, the dog bite occurs at the home of a friend, relative, or neighbor and the victim is reluctant to pursue a claim against someone they know. However, these claims are made strictly against the insurance company and not against the individuals so there is no personal liability from the dog owner. And no, the insurance company cannot force the owner to give away their pet.
How Do I Know If The Dog Owner Has Insurance To Pay A Settlement?
The dog owner may tell you if there is homeowner’s insurance coverage or other liability coverage to pay your medical bills and a settlement. However, many times you will not be provided this information and it can only be obtained by an attorney specializing in dog bite case. Our lawyers have great success in getting the insurance information and contacting the insurance company to start your claim.
Examples Of Our Michigan Dog Bite Settlements
Our expert dog bite and animal attack lawyers win the highest possible settlements and jury verdicts. We settle over 97% of our cases before ever going to court. Below is an examples of dog bite lawsuits won by our award winning law firm.
- $485,000 Settlement for a two year old girl viciously mauled by a pit bull in St. Clair County.
- $475,000 Settlement for a Michigan woman attacked by a neighbor's dog that escaped from the yard.
- $295,000 Settlement for boy who suffered a fractured skull and facial scars from a vicious dog attack
- $200,000 Settlement for an Ann Arbor infant who suffered multiple dog bites to his arms and face
- $225,000 Settlement for a young Warren girl bitten in the face by a neighbor's dog.
- $175,000 Settlement for an Oakland County woman attacked by two dogs at the same time.
- $175,000 Settlement for a 9 year old girl attacked by a dog in an Ypsilanti apartment complex
- $150,000 Settlement for young Saginaw area girl who underwent plastic surgery for a dog bite on her arm
- $101,000 Settlement for a 3 year old boy bitten by a dog at a Van Buren County park
- $100,000 Settlement for Royal Oak woman bitten on her face by a dog in a neighborhood park.
How Long Does It Take To Get A Settlement Check?
Once there is a settlement agreement with the insurance company and you sign the Settlement Release Agreement, it usually takes thirty days or less to get your settlement check. If the case involves a minor child, it may take slightly more time if the settlement needs to be approved by a judge.
Do I Need A Lawyer for a Dog Bite?
You will need a lawyer for a dog bite attack if you suffered an injury and incurred medical expenses. If you try to deal with the insurance company adjuster directly, you may give statements that will later ruin your chances of getting a settlement. Insurance adjusters are trained to get victims to make statements that ultimately destroy their own case. In addition, research studies show that injury victims with lawyers receive substantial larger settlements than those without an attorney, even after pay the legal fees.
Can I Settle My Case Without Hiring A Lawyer?
You can try to settle your dog bite case without hiring a lawyer. However, there are several pitfalls you should be aware if you handle your case without an attorney. First, you may not be provided the actual insurance policy limits by the insurance adjuster and could be settling your case for much less than fair value. Second, you may have medical liens on your case that you must pay off when you settle or you can lose your right to health insurance. Third, you may be signing away important rights without receiving the full value of your case. Finally, you will almost always end up with more settlement money in your pocket when you use a lawyer even though the lawyer charges a percentage fee on the settlement. Studies over the years prove this fact.
How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Dog Bite Attorney?
It does not cost anything to hire our dog bite lawyers. We do not charge any fees to start your case and only get paid when you receive your settlement check. This is called a contingency fee agreement. Under this arrangement, we also pay all of the case expenses for you and get a percentage of the settlement at the very end of the case when your check is received.
Do You Have To Pay Your Lawyer If You Lose Your Case?
No. Under our contingent fee agreement, there are no legal fees if the case is unsuccessful and you do not receive a settlement. You owe us nothing.
Best Michigan Dog Bite & Animal Attack Lawyers
Our legal team includes the most successful dog bite attorneys in Michigan. Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. and our lawyers have won the top awards in the legal profession, including:
- U.S. News & World Report Best Law Firms
- "Best Michigan Personal Injury Attorney" by American Lawyer Academy
- Named Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Michigan
- Honored as "Super Lawyers"
- Top Martindale-Hubbell Rating (AV) for Skill & Integrity
- Member of Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Our No-Fee Promise for Michigan Dog Bite Cases
You can afford to have the best dog bite law firm on your side. We promise you in writing:
- No money to get started
- We pay all case costs and expenses
- No legal fees whatsoever unless you receive a settlement
- Phone calls are always free, forever.
Get Your Free Michigan Dog Bite Lawyer Consultation
To start on your case today, you can:
- Submit the Free Case Review Box on this page. We will contact you shortly.
- Engage with the Live Chat operator on the screen
- Call (800) 606-1717 any time of day to speak with a dog bite injury lawyer about your case.
Warning: There are strict time deadlines for filing Michigan dog bite lawsuits. Call us to learn more about Michigan dog bite lawsuits and to see if you are entitled to a dog bite settlement award.
Michigan Dog Bite References & Resources
- The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
- American Veterinary Medical Foundation
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality