Dogs are cherished pets for many people in Michigan. However, dog bites are common, and dogs around the country bite about 4.7 million people, including many children, each year. Some of these bites require emergency medical care. If you are injured by a dog bite, you should retain a knowledgeable Grand Rapids or Traverse City dog bite lawyer. At the Neumann Law Group, our principal, Kelly Neumann, is an award-winning personal injury attorney who can help you file a claim or lawsuit for compensation.Asserting Your Rights After a Dog Bite
Dog bite victims in Michigan may recover their damages under a statute, as well as theories of negligence, scienter, or intentional torts. M.C.L. section 287.351 provides for strict liability for an unprovoked dog bite to a person on public or private property, as long as the victim was not a trespasser or in the process of doing something illegal. The owner of the dog may be liable even if they did not know that the dog was vicious, or even if it was the very first bite that the dog ever inflicted on someone else. You are considered to be lawfully on someone's private property if you are there due to a legal duty or as an invitee or licensee of the owner, unless you got lawful entry in order to perform an unlawful act. Strict liability applies only to dog bites and does not apply to other sorts of dog attacks, like a dog that jumps on a child and causes them to fall.
A defendant may raise one of two defenses against this claim—either that you provoked the dog or that you were a trespasser at the time of the dog bite. Even if a defendant is successful at defeating a claim of strict liability under the statute, however, they may be liable under a common-law theory, such as negligence.
In order to establish negligence in the context of a dog bite, you will need to show that the dog's owner failed to use reasonable care in controlling their dog. This is more challenging to establish than strict liability, but one way to establish a failure of reasonable care is to show that the dog bit someone before or displayed some other viciousness. The dog owner may be held liable if the dog bite happened because of the owner's failure to adequately supervise the dog, warn of the dangerousness of the dog, or put a leash on the dog. Landlords in Michigan also may be liable for bites inflicted by a tenant's dog.
If you can establish the liability of the defendant, you can potentially recover economic and noneconomic damages. These may include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and scars or disfigurement. When a dog bite has caused a tragic death, and liability is established, family members may be able to recover compensation for the loss of their loved one, including damages for their loss of society and companionship and their loss of support.Retain a Dog Bite Lawyer in Grand Rapids or Traverse City
Although many people in Michigan love their dogs, they may be unpredictable. A dog owner should be prepared to shoulder the cost if their dog bites someone else. If you are facing this difficult situation, our Traverse City and Grand Rapids dog bite attorneys may be able to help you recover damages. Neumann Law Group also represents people who need a personal injury or wrongful death attorney in Ann Arbor, Flint, Lansing, Kalamazoo, Detroit, Wyoming, Saginaw, Muskegon, Midland, Holland, Warren, and Petoskey, as well as communities throughout the Upper Peninsula. Contact us at 800-525-NEUMANN or via our online form for a free consultation.