According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the United States each year. Approximately 20% of these victims (about 885,000 people) required medical attention. In a recent year, more than 31,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery as a result of being bitten by a dog.
Dog bites can be particularly devastating, not only because of the pain, physical damage, and scarring that often results, but also for the trauma inflicted upon the victims. In many cases, those injured are unable to defend themselves, which results in significant injuries. Tragically, almost half of all dog bite victims are children. A dog bite can be a traumatic event that results in serious injury. Under the Michigan Dog Bite Statute (MCL § 287.351), the owner of the dog can be liable for the first bite as long as the victim (1) was lawfully on the property and (2) the victim did not provoke the dog. There are relevant points to the statute: (1) Knowing that the dog could be dangerous is irrelevant, (2) You must be lawfully on the property, and (3) The only defense the dog owner can assert is provocation. If you were bitten after you provoked the dog, then you may be barred from recovery. Provocation does not have to be done intentionally; instead, it can be done accidentally. In addition, under Michigan's common law, the victim only has to prove that the owner of the dog knew (or should have known) that the dog had vicious propensities. Lastly, the dog owner is strictly liable for any dog bite injury caused by the pet, regardless of the underlying circumstances. A dog owner may also be responsible for reimbursing the injured person for medical or psychological bills, pain and suffering caused by the attack, mental anguish, lost wages among others.
Nearly all dog attacks are the fault of dog owners. When attacks happen, the owners must be held accountable for all injuries and damages inflicted. This is the only way to encourage and promote responsible dog ownership.
If you or your loved one has been attacked by a dog or other animal, contact us to protect your rights. We will meet with you for a free, no-risk consultation. After learning about your case, we can explain to you your legal rights for recovery. We represent the victims of dog and animal attacks on a contingency fee basis, which means that there is no fee to us unless we recover compensation for our clients.