If you or one of your family members ever suffered a serious dog bite, you probably understand the toll such an event can take on a person not only physically but also emotionally. Dog bites can be relatively minor in nature and leave only temporary scars, or they can have catastrophic and even deadly repercussions.
Some breeds, such as pit bulls, are frequently the subjects of media stories about dog bites, but in truth, any breed can harm you or a family member, especially if the animal is not properly leashed or contained. The Michigan Legislature outlines the state’s law regarding dog bite liability and how you may be able to hold the owner liable if a dog bites you.
Accountability and the dog owner
Unlike some states, Michigan does not allow dogs to have “one free bite” before the owner is liable for damages you incur relating to the bite. You also do not need to demonstrate that the dog’s owner was aware his or her animal was vicious, or that he or she knew the animal was prone to biting in the past. In other words, if your dog bite happened somewhere public, or at a private location, but you had an invitation to be there, the owner of the dog has a responsibility to pay for your injuries and associated hardships.
An “invitation” does not necessarily imply a call or a written invitation to come to a home. If you work as, say, a law enforcement official or a postal worker and you are investigating a call or delivering mail and a dog bites you while doing so, the dog’s owner is also liable for the incident.
Dog bites can have devastating effects, and they can be financial as well as physical in nature. If you suffered a dog bite and believe someone else’s negligence is to blame for your injuries, consider calling an attorney.