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Personal Injury 1.24.2022

What Does Strict Liability Mean In Dog Bite Claims in Michigan?

The State of Michigan recognizes that dogs are common pets, and all dogs have the natural tendency to bite. Even the most obedient family pet has a turning point and will act by instincts which guide many dog behaviors; instincts are natural behaviors that a dog is born with. For example, dogs don’t need to be taught to bite, dig, or guard their food or space. 

As such, pet owners and keepers are responsible for any injuries their dog animal causes. Even if a dog does not have a history of so much as barking at someone, the owner would likely be found at fault if the dog animal ever bites someone, even if it was totally unpredictable.

In Michigan, this is called “strict liability,” which is legal principle that eliminates the need for personal injury claimants to prove fault on the part of the defendant dog owner. Instead, dog bite victims must prove the following three elements:

  • The defendant owns the dog at the time of the attack.
  • The attack happened on public property or was lawfully on private property; and
  • The victim was bitten by the unprovoked dog, resulting in any injuries.

Michigan’s strict liability dog bite law is different than the “one-bite” rule applicable to dogs in many other states. According, to the one-bite common law rule in other states, victims must prove that the owner knew or should have known the animal’s propensity to be vicious because animal had some history of attacking or biting people. However, in Michigan the common law negligence rule “knew or should have known” applies to other kinds of animals which may cause injury to people, but not dogs. Dogs are subject to the Michigan dog bite statute. See MCLA 287.351.

What Kind of Evidence Should I Collect For A Strong Dog Bite Claim?

Don’t fooled by Michigan’s strict liability law (MCLA 287.351) because recovering compensation for the damages caused by a dog bite is not easy. In addition to presenting sufficient evidence of the dog bite elements, you will need to prove your damages so you can maximize and receive full and fair compensation. In order to demonstrate your entitlement to dog bite compensation, this type of evidence would be helpful: 

  • Eyewitness information.
  • Photographs
  • Video footage.
  • Dog Bite incident report.
  • Dog ownership records/receipt.
  • Vet dog records.
  • Pet care contracts; and
  • Testimony from dog behavioral experts.

In order to show your dog bite damages, you should have some of the following:

  • Medical bill receipts
  • Photographs of any visible puncture wounds, scarring or disfigurement
  • Medical records.
  • Records or reports from your treating physicians.
  • Statements from any experts who specialize your kind of injuries.
  • Health Insurance Reimbursement Claim like Medicaid or Medicare.
  • Work Paystubs from time missed from work.
  • Any other receipts and invoices for any injury-related expenses like clothes.
  • Notes or journal describing what you have gone through during recovery.
  • Psychological trauma or emotional evaluations; and
  • Written letters from friends, loved ones, and colleagues about what they observed.

Discuss Your Case with a Dog Bite Attorney in Michigan

At the Joseph’s Law Firm, we know just how traumatizing dog bite attacks can be. If you or someone in your family was bitten by a dog, we’ll help you gather the evidence needed to hold the owner or keeper accountable.

Our compassionate winning team has the knowledge and resources to take on any opponent, but we remain dedicated to providing the personalized care and attention to you.

Call 248-352-2110 or toll free at 1-866-HIRE-JOE or complete our On-Line Form to schedule a free case evaluation and review with an expert dog bite lawyer in Michigan.

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No Fees Unless We Win
The Joseph Dedvukaj Firm, P.C represents Michigan clients in a full range of personal injury matters. If you have been injured, contact us for a free consultation.
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute a client relationship.
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