It is sometimes said that dogs are a “man’s best friend”. Dogs are loyal, compassionate, and provide unconditional love. And puppies are, well, puppies. It all seems great on paper. But even the most well-trained dogs can be unpredictable. Unsuspecting people – especially kids – can be the target of this uncertainty and can be seriously injured in a dog bite incident.
Michigan law provides that if “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.” In other words, the owner of a dog is on the hook for damages in the unfortunate case of a dog bite incident. Injuries from dog bites range from small scratches to very serious wounds and nerve damage, not to mention long-term scarring and surgery. In short, an otherwise kind animal can cause a lot of damage.
Additionally, and generally, the only defense to these kinds of cases is “provocation”. This can be a steep hill to climb. It requires the owner of a dog to prove that the injured party somehow caused the dog to enter into an agitated state, and that agitation resulted in the dog bite. It is a very fact-specific analysis.
Despite the aches and pains that being bitten by a dog can cause, there can also be significant relief for injured individuals. Our office has handled many dog bite cases and is very familiar with pursuing such claims. Please contact our office if you, a loved one, or friend have been injured in a dog bite incident.
Author: Nicholas V. Dondzila, [email protected]