Bark and Bite: A Quick Guide to Michigan Dog Bite Laws

Michigan dog bite laws

A golden puppy sitting in a field.

Dog bites may be more common than you might expect. About 9,500 US citizens each year require emergency treatment for a serious dog bite.

All states in the US have laws regarding dog bites and how to proceed when one happens. If you’ve been bitten by a dog in the state of Michigan, there are some nuances to the law you’ll need to know about.

Before you proceed with the legal process, take a moment to read this guide to Michigan dog bite laws.

If you’ve suffered a dog bite injury, you may be able to recover damages for medical bills, lost wages, and more.

Statute of Limitations

All laws have a statute of limitations, meaning there is a time limit on when you can file a lawsuit. Dog bite lawsuits fall into the category of personal injury, giving you three years from the time of the incident to file.

Be aware if you fail to file within three years, the courts may refuse to hear your case. It’s best to file as soon as possible.

You should be sure to keep records of your injuries, including photos and medical bills.

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Strict Liability State

Michigan falls into the category of “strict liability” when it comes to dog bites. This means the owner of a dog cannot escape liability. The owner cannot claim they didn’t know about their dog’s tendency for aggression or to bite.

This does not mean, however, there is no defense for the owner of the dog. To prove liability, the plaintiff’s case must present the following information:

  • the injury must be the result of a dog bite
  • at the time of the bite, the injured person must have been in a public space or legally in a private space
  • the bite wasn’t the result of provocation

If the case doesn’t fulfill the above requirements, the owner may not be liable for the dog bite.

For example, if the injured person was trespassing at the time of the bite, they cannot sue the owner for damages.

Similarly, a person cannot tease or anger a dog to produce aggressive behavior. If they do, they cannot recover damages for the injuries.

You Need an Attorney

If you plan to sue someone for damages related to a dog bite injury, you’ll need proper representation. Be sure to compile all the important information you’ll need for your case.

You’ll need to bring the following information:

  • photos of your injuries
  • medical records, including bills and visit summaries
  • names and statements of all witnesses
  • your own memories of the event

A successful case will not come without preparedness.

Michigan Dog Bite Laws to Know

Dog big laws can be confusing, as they vary widely by state. Michigan is a “strict liability” state, meaning the owner is always liable for dog bite injuries.

You cannot rely solely on strict liability to win your case. You must come prepared to your attorney if you expect to recover damages.

Do you need help navigating Michigan dog bite laws? Contact a personal injury lawyertoday to get your free consultation.