Unless you’ve ever been attacked or bitten by a dog, you’ve probably never given much thought to the fact that there are Michigan dog bite laws in place to protect you. And while unfortunate to have to think about, these rules and regulations around our pets are what dictate our ability to receive appropriate settlements and medical treatment.
To put into perspective why dog attack laws exist, consider that each year, approximately 4.5 million people across the country are bitten by dogs. And, approximately 800,000 of these people are injured badly enough to require medical attention.
As is the case with all things in law, a dog bite can create a complicated legal case. From who is responsible to whether or not the dog was provoked, we recommend consulting a Michigan dog bite attorney for any questions you might have. If you are bitten by a dog, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries from the owner or their insurance company.
Learn about the rights and responsibilities of victims and dog owners in this useful guide to Michigan dog bite laws.Do You Have a Case?
The following guidelines should give you a general idea of how the state of Michigan treats dog bite incidents as well as the laws related to a dog bite case.
The Michigan dog bite law, MCL 287.351, is very specific about which party is liable in a dog bite case.
Obviously, a dog cannot be held legally responsible for its actions. Therefore, when a dog bites another person and causes serious injury, the dog owner is typically held responsible. This “strict liability” law applies providing the following conditions are met:
Depending on the situation, if your dog bites and injures another person, the victim is entitled to sue you for damages. Dog owners are responsible unless the victim provoked the dog or was illegally trespassing on the owner’s property.
In the absence of these two conditions, you will most likely be found responsible in the event of a lawsuit.
This phrase “lawful right” includes people making deliveries for the U.S. Postal Service or other companies (UPS, Amazon, FedEx, etc.), or those performing duties imposed by the laws of the state.
In addition, licensees of the property owner or individuals the owner has invited onto the property also have a lawful right to be there.
A dog owner is liable if the dog bites the victim “without provocation.” Therefore, if the victim provoked your dog prior to the attack, you are not responsible. However, you will have to prove that the victim incited the attack, which can be difficult, especially if no one witnessed the incident.
Possible examples of provocation include:
In a dog bite lawsuit, it is common for the owner and their insurance company to claim the victim provoked the dog into biting. This is why it is so important to hire an experienced dog bite lawyer if you were injured in a dog attack. An experienced attorney knows how to counteract the owner’s claims.
In some states, a dog (and its owner) get a “free bite,” which releases the owner from liability if the dog has never bitten anyone before.
However, Michigan dog bite laws fall under the heading of “strict liability.” This means the owner is responsible when a dog bites and injures another person – even if it’s the first time the dog has ever bitten. The victim is entitled to file a lawsuit against the owner, regardless of the dog’s previous history of “good behavior.”
According to Michigan law (MCL 287.262), dogs must be kept on a leash whenever they are in public.
If you remove a dog’s leash during a neighborhood walk, you could be fined and charged with a misdemeanor. The law provides certain exceptions for leader dogs, farm dogs and other working dogs who are accompanied by their owner or designated agent.
This statute also explains the rules for dog licensing, collars and dog tags.
Owners are not typically required to euthanize a dog after an attack, unless a court decides it meets the legal definition of a “dangerous animal.” If so, a court may order the owner to euthanize a dog to prevent it from causing future harm.
Prior to that, a dog may have to be quarantined for a certain time period after an attack is reported. In many cases, an owner may be allowed to keep the dog providing specific steps are taken to ensure the animal is no longer dangerous.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog, contact us immediately. We know what it takes to win your dog bite case, and we are ready to fight for the benefits you deserve.
Dog bite law is complicated, but finding the right attorney is simple. Select the button below or Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free, remote no-obligation consultation from the safety of your home.Do You Have a Case?
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