Michigan dog bite cases are on the rise. While most people bitten by a dog suffer injuries that are not life threatening, dog attacks can indeed be fatal, especially when a child is involved.
If you or someone you love has been bitten by a dog, it may be possible to get compensation by pursuing a legal claim. Dog bite cases are brought against the animal’s owner or possessor, but can be challenging because certain elements must be proven to recover damages.
For more than six decades, the Michigan personal injury attorneys at Sinas Dramis have been helping dog bite victims get the justice they deserve. Our attorneys understand the complexities of Michigan dog bite laws, which is why we have obtained significant awards for our clients. Here are just a few examples:
- $500,000 – woman violently attacked by a dog while working for a lawn-care service.
- $80,000 – victim suffered arm injuries in a dog attack.
- $75,000 – child bitten by a dog, resulting in multiple lacerations and scarring.
Michigan Dog Bite Injuries Happen All Too Often
According to experts, 70 percent of dog bites happen in the home and 80 percent of people are bitten by dogs they see on a regular basis. So why do dogs bite? Here are the main reasons:
- they are protecting themselves or their property.
- they may be in pain.
- they may feel trapped.
- they may have been surprised by your actions.
- they may be very excited.
Dog bites occur more often in the warmer months, when animals and people spend more time outdoors. While an attack on any person is a serious incident, it can be especially severe when a child is bitten by a dog. A child usually suffers more serious injuries in a dog attack than an adult does, because the child’s face is at the same level as the animal’s face.
Because dog bite injuries can be particularly devastating in children, adults need to closely watch children around canines and teach them how to safely interact with animals. For example, never approach a dog you don’t know and never disturb a dog while it’s eating.
The most common dog bite injuries are scratches, lacerations and puncture wounds. However, severe dog attacks (sometimes called “maulings”) can cause broken bones, nerve damage, detached limbs — even death. If you or someone you love is injured by a dog, the following steps should be taken:
- seek immediate medical attention.
- take photos of the injury as soon as practical.
- contact animal control and file a report (if your city does not have an animal control office, call the police department).
- contact a Michigan injury lawyer to preserve your rights and determine whether legal action is appropriate.
In this video, Grand Rapids personal injury attorney Tom Sinas talks about Michigan dog bite laws, owner liability and insurance.
Types Of Michigan Dog Bite Claims
Dogs are a big part of our everyday lives, which is why it’s important to understand Michigan dog bite laws. Essentially, a dog bite lawsuit can be brought three different ways:
- under the Michigan dog bite statute (MCL 287.351).
- under common-law strict liability.
- under common-law negligence.
Each of these theories has certain requirements that must be proven in order to be compensated for an injury — which is why it’s important for victims to have a Michigan dog bite lawyer by their side, assessing the important facts and the proper course of action. Important facts include:
- date, time and location of the injury.
- names of the dog owner/possessor at the time of the attack.
- whether the animal was provoked by the victim.
- whether the victim was legally allowed to be in the location of the attack.
Here’s another reason why a person bitten by a dog should seek legal counsel: if the victim communicates directly with an insurance company, the victim’s statements might jeopardize a future claim for dog bite damages.