Dogs are popular companion animals in Michigan. People in Kent County and nearby areas own dogs of various different breeds as companion animals and sometimes working animals on their farms. There are also several respected local organizations that help train service animals for individuals with debilitating medical conditions.
Whether your neighbor has a dog that consistently gets out of the fence or you end up attacked by a particularly aggressive canine while walking your pet at the local park, there are many ways in which people end up hurt by other people’s dogs. Who will pay for the medical bills and property damage costs created when a dog turns violent?
Homeowner’s insurance often helps
The costs of a dog bite incident could easily reach tens of thousands of dollars, sometimes even more. The person bitten by the animal has the option of seeking compensation for their injuries in most cases. Technically, under Michigan state law, the animal’s owner is almost always responsible for any injuries it creates.
When a dog attacks a person, its owner is typically liable. Someone intentionally antagonizing a dog or breaking the law, such as by trespassing or attacking another person, may not be able to bring a claim against an animal’s owner. Anyone lawfully in a space and not engaged in criminal activity theoretically has the right to hold an animal’s owner responsible for its aggression.
Many people have protection against direct liability for an animal’s actions. If the animal’s owner has homeowner’s insurance, their policy might apply to any dog bite injuries their animal causes. Even renter’s insurance can cover the costs of an animal attack.
What if there isn’t a liability policy?
If someone who owns an aggressive dog does not have proper liability coverage or did not inform their insurance company about their animal, there may not be a policy that applies after your attack.
Those who cannot file an insurance claim may need to pursue a personal injury lawsuit in civil court against the dog’s owner. Michigan law allows those harmed by someone’s negligent care of an animal or misconduct to pursue financial compensation in the civil court.
Knowing your options will make it easier for you to hold an animal’s owner accountable after a dog bite incident.