Who Pays When a Dog Bites?

If you’ve been injured due to a dog bite, or if you are the owner of a dog who has bitten someone, you are probably wondering who is going to be responsible for covering the costs stemming from the injuries the victim sustained. After all, the dog certainly can’t be found liable. Below we discuss Michigan’s dog bite laws and how they can apply to your canine bite case.

Filing Your Claim Within the Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Michigan is just three years. This means that you’ll need to file your claim within three years from either the date that you were diagnosed with an injury related to the dog bite, or from the date that the dog bite occurred.

The timing is critical because once the statute of limitations expires, the courts will no longer be willing to hear your case and you’ll be barred from seeking compensation that would cover your damages. If you are unsure of when the statute of limitations began running in your case, speak with your attorney.

Strict Liability for Dog Bites

The state of Michigan follows strict liability law in terms of dog bites. This means that the injury victim will need to demonstrate that their injuries were caused by the dog bite for the owner to be held accountable for the actions of their dog.

It doesn’t matter whether the dog has bitten before or shown a predisposition for aggressive behavior. If the dog bit someone, the owner is responsible for covering the injury victim’s losses.

This law is specifically designed for dog bites, though, and not just any injury that occurs because of a dog. For example, if a dog jumped on you and you fell, this law would not apply to your case. Additionally, you must not have provoked the dog in any way for the law to take effect. Examples of provocation might include one or more of the following:

  • Poking
  • Teasing
  • Abusing
  • Yelling
  • Growling
  • Hitting

What’s more, anyone who had been trespassing on the owner’s property will not be able to seek compensation for their losses and will be responsible for covering their own costs. Invited guests of the dog’s owner who are subsequently bit will have their case fall under Michigan’s strict liability dog bite laws.

You can discuss the details of your case with your lawyer for more information about how strict liability law will apply to your case.

Consult a Detroit Personal Injury Lawyer

When you’re interested in holding the dog’s owner accountable for your losses, but you aren’t sure what your next steps should be, reach out to an experienced Detroit personal injury lawyer at David Christensen Law.

We are proud to offer all victims of dog bites a free consultation where we can discuss the details of your case. Schedule yours today by calling our office at 248-213-4900 or by completing the convenient contact form provided at the bottom of this page.