Can You File a Dog Bite Lawsuit in Michigan?

Cheerful puppy Jack Russell terrier playfully biting the fingers of its owner

Dogs bite over 4.7 million people in the United States every year. Many of those bites, roughly 800,000, require some type of medical attention. 

Those medical bills can get pricey. 

But you might not have to pay for them yourself. 

Instead, you might be able to file a dog bite lawsuit. Keep reading below to learn how to file a dog bite case in the state of Michigan. 

Can You File a Dog Bite Lawsuit in Michigan?

The short answer is this: yes. 

If a dog bites you, it’s within your rights to file a lawsuit against the owner. Depending on your specific case, a dog bite lawsuit can award you compensation for things like medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, emotional distress, scarring and disfigurement, and even embarrassment. 

What If the Dog Has Never Bitten Before?

Every state handles dog bite cases in different ways, but most states are either a “negligence” state or a “strict liability” state. 

Michigan is a strict liability state. That means the owner of a dog is liable for any damages caused by their dog’s bite. This is true even if the owner had no sign the dog would bite or if the dog has never shown any violent behavior before. 

There’s no “free bite rule” in Michigan. 

You can file a dog bite lawsuit against the owner of a dog even if the dog has never bitten anyone before. 

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How to File a Dog Bite Lawsuit in Michigan

There are a few things you have to prove when you file a dog bite lawsuit in Michigan. Here’s a closer look at what you need to know below. 

Prove the Injury Is from a Bite 

To file a dog bite lawsuit, you must be able to prove the injury came from a bite. A dog accidentally scratching you with their toenail isn’t the same thing as a bite. 

If the dog didn’t actually bite, you don’t have a case. 

Prove You Weren’t Trespassing on Private Property 

You can’t file a dog bite lawsuit if you were trespassing on someone’s property illegally. 

When the bite happens, you must be in a public place or legally on private property. In other words, if the dog owner invited you to their property, if you were doing contracted work, or if you work in the postal service, you can file a dog bite lawsuit. 

Prove You Didn’t Provoke the Dog

Provocation is the best defense an owner has against a dog bite lawsuit. If the dog bit you because you provoked them, even if you didn’t mean to, you can’t get any compensation. 

Must Meet the Statute of Limitations 

The statute of limitations for a dog bite lawsuit is three years. That means you have three years from the day the dog bit you to file your lawsuit. 

If you wait any longer than three years, you’ll have missed your chance. 

Understanding a Dog Bite Lawsuit in Michigan

As long as you weren’t trespassing on private property when you were bitten by a dog, you can file a dog bite lawsuit in Michigan. Provided you didn’t provoke the dog into the attack, the owner is liable for any damages that result from the bite. 

Think you can file a dog bite lawsuit? 

Make sure you check out this guide to learn what type of lawyer you should hire. 

Hakim, Toma & Yaldoo, P.C.

Attorneys and Counselors at law
8424 E. 12 Mile Road #200
Warren, MI 48093

Contact Us

 

Call:    (855) 558-8250
Fax:    (855) 558-8250
Email: [email protected]

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Hakim, Toma & Yaldoo, P.C.

 

Attorneys and Counselors at law
8424 E. 12 Mile Road #200
Warren, MI 48093

Contact Us

 

Call:    (855) 558-8250
Fax:    (855) 558-8250
Email: [email protected]

Newsletter Sign Up