Dog attacks can cause painful and lasting injuries for the victims and chances are they happen more often than you might think. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Humane Society of the United States, there are about 4.7 million dog bites every year in the U.S. These bites result in approximately 16 fatalities.
It is important to note that the owners of dogs who bite bystanders are held strictly liable. This means that even if the owner was trying to control the dog, and took adequate precautions, they can still be held liable for the damage that their dogs cause.
In Michigan, the laws that apply to dog bites usually are based on what has been developed within a local jurisdiction. Also, the victim must either be in a public place or be lawfully in a private place. The upside of this is that if your dog attacks a burglar who is robbing your house, the thief can’t turn around and sue you for his injuries. But, if you are walking down the street and a dog bites you, you probably have a cause of action against the owner, assuming that the dog attacked without provocation. The law will not protect someone who harasses a dog and then is attacked because of it.
Lawsuits in dog bite cases often focus on whether the victim harassed the dog, and whether they were trespassing at the time of the attack. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has had very few chances to address this law meaning that we don’t have a tremendous amount of guidance and cases can be ruled on differently by different Michigan judges.
Regardless, dog bites can result in immediate physical pain, can result in the need for surgery or other rehabilitation. They may also cause severe psychological trauma, especially for children. Dealing with the fallout from an animal attack requires skill and a delicate touch. If you or your child has been injured by a dog or animal attack, please consider calling Bashore Green today for a free consultation.