Dog Bite Injuries

There’s Been a Dog-Related Injury, and you Need a Lawyer

Because dogs are such an integral part of human society, when a dog causes injury, the physical results—and legal consequences—can be devastating. In fact, beyond the physical trauma, many dog attack victims often suffer lasting psychological damage, including Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder, or

Dog Owner Liability

In Michigan, dog bites are adjudicated based on a “strict liability” statute, meaning the owner of a dog cannot escape liability for bite injuries by claiming they did not have any warning that the dog was dangerous, or likely to bite. In other words, even if the dog has ever bitten anyone before, dog owners are responsible for injuries caused by their dog’s bite and sometimes even their dog’s actions.

The Dog Bite Statute, MCL 287.351, states:
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.

Often a dog-owner or insurance company will attempt to place blame on the victim by claiming that the dog was provoked in some way, particularly in cases where children are involved. This is generally not the case and often difficult or impossible to prove. More often the incident occurs under normal social circumstances and it is the dog owner’s responsibility. Any victim who has been injured is entitled to file a lawsuit and collect damages, even if it is the first time the dog has bitten.

More than Just Dog “Bites”

While the strict liability law applies specifically to injuries caused by dog bites, there are many other ways that dogs can cause injury. A dog can bite, scratch, trip, knock down, or frighten a person, causing injuries.

For example, suppose a dog is chasing a jogger, cyclist or any person who injures themselves as they try to evade the attack or confrontation. In a case like this, the dog owner may not be liable for the injuries and could proceed like a standard personal injury case in which you would be required to prove the dog owner was negligent.

Bagley & Langan Can Help

It’s imperative to know the difference between dog-related injuries that fall under strict liability and dog-related injuries that involve standard negligence law. If you have a dog-related injury issue, or have any questions – your Bagley & Langan Team is here to help.