Dogs have been the most common household pets in the United States for decades.  Of course, there are countless breeds and dogs that range from a 5-pound chihuahua to a 200+ pound Mastiff. Regardless of a dog’s size, their teeth can cause injuries from punctures to shredding; often causing significant pain and injury including permanent scarring and disfigurement.

While dogs can be absolutely wonderful pets and companions, they are still animals and not all dog bites and attacks will be prevented. When someone is bitten or viciously attacked by a dog, they often have a legitimate legal claim for pain and suffering. Although the dog’s owner may not be liable in every situation, the stress and anxiety of your animal injuring someone can be overwhelming. it’s important to have the proper liability coverage in case your pet injures someone.

Michigan Dog Bite Law

Michigan’s dog bite law is covered under Section 287.351, which is considered a “strict liability” statute. Under this law, when a dog bites a person without provocation while the person is on either public property, or lawfully on private property, including the dog owner’s property, the dog owner is liable for any damages suffered by the victim, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog, or the dog owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.

Any such victim is “lawfully on the dog owner’s property” when:

  • They are performing a duty for the post office;
  • They are performing duties imposed by the laws of Michigan; or
  • The person was an invitee or licensee (someone who is allowed to be on the property)

Under Section 287.351, an individual is not provided the same protections if he or she is bitten after gaining lawful entry upon the premises for the purpose of committing an unlawful or criminal act.

The “Provocation” Defense

There are times when a dog owner can successfully defend a claim by showing that the injured person provoked the dog. Potential examples of provocation include hitting or striking a dog, throwing a stone or object at a dog, pulling its tail, or trying to steal a toy or food from its mouth.

Were you injured by a dog? Contact Abrahams Law now.

As stated, Michigan’s dog bite law generally holds dog owners strictly liable for injuries caused by their dogs when there is no provocation. If you were the victim of a dog bite or attack, there is a strong chance that you have a viable claim for damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress medical reimbursement and loss of income recovery.

To learn more about your rights and protections under Michigan’s dog bite laws, contact Abrahams Law today for a free initial case evaluation.

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