Dog Bites

Experienced Michigan Personal Injury Lawyers Aggressively Pursuing Compensation on Behalf of Accident Victims in Traverse City and Grand Rapids

Dogs are cherished pets for many people in Michigan. However, dog bites are common, and dogs around the country bite about 4.5 million people, including many children, each year, and approximately 800,000 of these dog bite victims require emergency medical care. If you are injured by a dog bite, speak with the dog bite lawyers at the Neumann Law Group to learn more about your rights. At the Neumann Law Group, our principal, Kelly Neumann, is an award-winning personal injury attorney who handles cases in Grand Rapids or Traverse City and is immediately available to help you file a claim for compensation.

Strict Liability Dog Bite Lawsuits

Dog bite victims in Michigan may recover monetary compensation under a statute, as well as under a traditional negligence theory. Michigan Compiled Laws § 287.351 provides for strict liability in an unprovoked dog bite involving 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.

Under Michigan law, you are lawfully on private property if you are there to fulfill a legal duty or as an invitee or licensee unless you obtained 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, such as if a dog 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, they may be liable under a common-law theory, such as negligence.

Negligence-Based Dog Bite Claims

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 animal. 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 under a premises liability [link to Premises Liability page] theory.

Damages in Michigan Dog Bite Lawsuits

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.

Have You Been Attacked by a Dog?

Although most people love dogs, they can, at times, be unpredictable. A dog owner should be prepared to shoulder the cost if their dog bites someone. If you were recently attacked by a dog, the Traverse City and Grand Rapids dog bite attorneys at the Neumann Law Group can help you pursue a claim against the animal’s owner. The 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. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, give the Traverse City personal injury lawyers at the Neumann Law Group a call at 800-525-6386. You can also connect with us through our online contact form. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our services unless and until we can connect you with the compensation you deserve.

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