The Michigan Dog Bite Statute holds dog owners entirely liable for the actions of their pets, with the only exception being when an animal is deliberately provoked. Under Michigan law, Section 287.351, the dog owner is liable when the incident occurred on the dog owner’s property, and the victim of the dog bite was not a trespasser. Negligence is the second grounds for liability following a dog bite in the state and can be based on the violation of a leash law or animal control law.
In other words, if the ordinance in a particular area requires that owners of dogs must keep them on a leash, then if an unleased dog in a public area bites a person, the owner could be liable. Certain cities in Michigan have strict liability dog bite laws which go beyond the state’s dog bite laws. Landlords may also be held liable for bites from a dog belonging to a tenant—if the landlord was aware of the vicious nature of the dog.
If you have suffered a dog bite a top injury lawyer in Southfield from The Lobb Law Firm will take quick action to help you recover from this unexpected event. Recovering from a dog attack can be a slow, painful process. While many dog bites are fairly minor, others can cause painful injuries, disfiguring scars, and even serious illness if the dog is unvaccinated. If you have been bitten by a dog, make The Lobb Law Firm your first point of contact once you have received appropriate medical attention.
Facts About Dog Bites
According to dogbites.org, 43 dog bite-related fatalities occurred in 2014. Forty-four percent of the fatality victims were children aged nine or younger, two percent were teens, and fifty-three percent were adults over the age of 20. Of the adults killed in a dog attack, seventy percent were over the age of 50. As these statistics indicate, children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to dog bites and dog attacks. Female victims of dog bites and dog attacks—both those which are fatal and those which cause serious injury—outnumber male victims. In 2014, about 20 percent of all the dog bite fatality victims were visiting the dog’s owner. Dog bite and dog attack fatalities are much more likely to occur when the attack involves a pack of dogs, rather than a single dog.
The Canine Journal reports that a study done by the CDC found:
- 7 million dog bites occur in the United States each and every year;
- At least 800,000 of these dog bites will result in the necessity for medical care;
- In 2017, one out of every 69 people were bitten by a dog, whether a minor nip, or a more severe bite or attack;
- Despite common belief, chihuahuas actually bite the most, followed by bulldogs, pit bulls and German Shepherds, however, the larger breed do much more damage than a small chihuahua;
- According to the Insurance Information Institute, more than a third of all homeowner insurance liability claims paid in 2014 were a result of a dog bite or dog attack—the same report found that in Michigan in 2014, there were 693 dog bite claims, averaging $38,302 paid out per claim.
- Postal employees actually do get bitten by dogs fairly often; in 2017, 6,244 letter carriers were bitten.
What Injuries are Commonly Associated with Dog Bites and Dog Attacks?
A dog attack or dog bite can lead to a variety of injuries and can vary in severity as well. Many dog bites can result in permanent tissue damage or permanent scarring and disfigurement. Some of the more common injuries associated with dog bites include the following:
- Neck and head injuries;
- Facial lacerations;
- Injuries to the eyes;
- Puncture wounds;
- Nerve damage;
- Internal organ damage;
- Fractures, and
- Tissue damage.
Dog bites and dog attacks can also cause severe emotional trauma to the victim, particularly when the victim is a child. Children, as well as adults, can suffer the disabling effects of a dog bite on a young victim for many years to come. This type of trauma can result in a lifelong fear of dogs, even a fear of going out into the world. When psychological injuries from a dog bite are particularly severe, the mental anguish can last a lifetime, causing avoidance, mood swings, negative moods, sleep problems, memory problems, recurring nightmares, and irrational thoughts and fears.
Limitations to Michigan Dog Bite Claims
In some instances, the owner of the dog that bit or attacked you might not have sufficient insurance coverage to address your claim fully. Your personal injury attorney will understand how to obtain the help you need. Homeowner’s insurance may cover your medical expenses related to the dog bite injuries, and auto insurance could potentially cover your injuries if the dog was inside the owner’s vehicle at the time of the bite. If the owner of the dog failed to exhibit reasonable and ordinary care in preventing the dog bite or dog attack, your damages could be recovered under negligence laws. In the rare cases, where an owner intended for the dog to bite you, an intentional tort claim could be brought against the owner.
Can Southfield Injury Lawyers from The Lobb Law Firm Help Following a Michigan Dog Bite?
When you turn to The Lobb Law Firm, our highly involved lawyers will do everything in our power to ensure you are well taken care of. We will determine whether legal action will be beneficial to you and if it is determined such action would be beneficial, we will mediate with the dog owner and his or her insurance on your behalf. In the unlikely event we are unable to reach a settlement with the insurance company, we will take legal action, filing a lawsuit on your behalf. The attorneys at The Lobb Law Firm will offer you our full support, making you aware of your entitlements. As an accident victim, you have the right to compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. An attorney from The Lobb Law Firm will deal with the many complexities of Michigan dog bite laws, working hard to recover the compensation you are entitled to receive. If you lost a loved one as a result of a dog bite or dog attack, our Southfield injury lawyers can file a wrongful death claim on your behalf.
With more than four decades of experience in personal injury law, we have a vast network of resources to help you get back on your feet, physically, emotionally, and financially. Our commitment to you is always to do what is best for you, your family, and your future. We handle many cases out of Detroit, Southfield, Sterling Heights, and Dearborn Heights, however if you or a loved one are anywhere in Wayne County, Macomb County, or Oakland County, and have suffered a dog bite injury resulting in a personal injury or a wrongful death, contact The Lobb Law Firm today for a free consultation.