A 33-year-old Rochester, Mich., man had part of his tongue bitten off by a friend’s pit bull when visiting in Pontiac in August 2013. The victim reportedly stuck his tongue out in close proximity to the animal when the incident happened. Unfortunately, dog bites happen all too often across Michigan.
Dog bite injuries
Dog bites are no small matter. They can cause significant pain, disfigurement and scarring, infection and lingering trauma, even post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. In extreme cases, a dog bite can even cause death. The victim of a serious bite may need hospitalization or at-home care, requiring him or her to miss work. Some dog bites cause severe scarring that requires ongoing cosmetic surgery, especially for facial lacerations.
Children are often bitten, as they may approach a dog quickly and without understanding of the danger. Kids’ faces are closer to the level of the animal making facial injuries a particular concern.
Some breeds are known to be more dangerous than others like pit bulls, but a dog of any breed or size is potentially dangerous.
Michigan dog bite law
Michigan is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bite law. This means that a dog owner is responsible for damages and injuries when their pet bites another person even if the dog owner is in no way at fault or had no idea the dog would ever be vicious.
The Michigan strict liability dog bite statute has some specific requirements:
The dog must not have been provoked before the bite.
The victim must have been on public property or lawfully on private property.
A victim would not be lawfully on private property if he or she entered to commit an illegal act or crime.
A victim would be lawfully on private property if allowed by law or invited there by the owner like a postal employee, delivery person, utility service person, contractor and so on.
A dog bite victim in Michigan may not only bring a lawsuit based on the strict liability statute, but also based on common law negligence. This means that liability may also attach if a dog owner’s negligence causes a reasonably foreseeable injury from the animal to another person.
Experienced legal representation
If you, your child or another loved one is the victim of a dog bite in Michigan, finding a personal injury lawyer with specific dog bite experience can make all the difference. Your dog bite attorney will conduct an investigation of the incident on your behalf and handle communication with the involved insurance companies. You may decide to file a personal injury lawsuit for damages for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering and more.