Most dogs are friendly toward people. Sometimes, they aren’t. People underestimate the injuries a dog can cause when it bites someone. A dog’s sharp teeth can tear through muscle and skin, and the force of some dog bites is enough to break bones. Anyone bitten by a dog can suffer severe emotional trauma or other long-term health effects.
Some states have laws that say dog owners are only liable for dog bite injuries if the dog has been aggressive before. These laws are commonly called “one-bite rules” and, in some cases, can prevent people with dog bite injuries from recovering the money they need for their injuries.
Is Michigan a “one-bite” state for dog injuries? The short answer is no, but learning more about Michigan’s dog bite and personal injury laws can explain how you could recover compensation if you’ve been bitten.
What Are “One-Bite” Laws?
One-bite laws excuse a dog owner from being strictly liable for injuries their dog caused unless the dog has previously attacked someone. This rule can seem unfair, as a dog that has never attacked someone before can still inflict severe injuries. But under the one-bite rule, plaintiffs must show that the dog’s owner acted negligently or establish liability through other means, making it much harder for someone to gain compensation for their injuries.
In Michigan, the law holds dog owners strictly liable for injuries their dogs inflict. Strict liability means the dog’s owner is responsible for any injuries the dog causes, regardless of whether the dog has attacked anyone before. While strict liability laws usually include a few exceptions for cases when a dog is provoked or defending its owner’s property, in most cases, a dog owner must compensate anyone bitten by their dog for their injuries.
Michigan’s Dog Bite Laws
Michigan’s dog bite liability law is clear: If a dog bites someone, their owner is liable for whatever injuries the dog causes. It doesn’t matter if the dog has previously attacked someone or not. If the victim was legally on the property where the dog bit them and they did not provoke the dog, the dog’s owner is liable.
The other state law that plays a major role in dog bite cases is Michigan’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims. In Michigan, you must file your dog bite lawsuit within the three years after your injury, or you lose your right to seek compensation through the court system.
You might think three years is a long time, but you should speak to an attorney immediately after you’ve been bitten. Your dog bite injury lawyer will need time to file a claim, investigate the attack, gather evidence, and negotiate a fair settlement.
What to Do After a Dog Bites You
Suffering a dog bite can be a traumatizing experience, but you can take steps to preserve your health and your right to get money for the injury. Here’s what to do after a dog bites you in Michigan:
- Seek immediate medical attention: Dog bites can lead to severe infections, complications, or even diseases like rabies. Even if the wound appears minor, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Report the incident: Contact your local animal control agency or the police and report the dog bite. This step not only protects you but also safeguards your community from potential future attacks.
- Identify the dog and its owner: Gather contact details about the dog’s owner and information about the dog.
- Document everything: Photograph your injuries, keep a record of all your medical treatments, and save any receipts related to your injury.
- Consult a dog bite attorney: You might be eligible for compensation for your injuries. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights and the best course of action to take.
The Michigan dog bite lawyers at Mihelich & Kavanaugh, PLC, can help you through this difficult time. Let us handle your claim against the dog’s owner while you heal. Call us today or visit our contact page for a free consultation.