Strict liability and Michigan dog bite claims

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2021 | Personal Injury |

Dogs are wonderful companions in households all throughout Michigan. Many families have more than one canine in their households to keep them company and show them love. A well-trained dog can be a protector, friend, and buddy for their owner.

However, not all dogs are trained and socialized to act appropriately around humans. When a dog acts out and bites someone, the consequences can be serious. Victims of dog bites can end up with pain, suffering, and significant medical bills.

Can a victim sue for losses in a dog bite incident?

Under Michigan law, a victim of a dog bite incident can sue for their losses, and the dog’s owner will be held strictly liable for the victim’s damages. Strict liability is an important legal concept. When it applies, a victim does not have to prove fault or negligence on the part of the responsible party to recover as the mere occurrence of the event is sufficient to hold them liable.

What this means is that a dog’s owner does not have to have notice that their dog is potentially dangerous to be held responsible for attacks and bites. When a dog bites another person, that is enough for the owner to be responsible for the victim’s losses.

What role may provocation play in a dog bite case?

Provocation happens when a person entices a dog to act or attack. For example, if a person taunted a dog, threw items at it, and encouraged it to engage, that person may not be able to recover their damages if the dog caused them injuries. Like provocation, trespass may also bar a person’s recovery of damages in a dog attack claim if they were wrongfully on the property where the dog was located when the incident happened.

This post provides an overview of Michigan law on dog attacks and liability. It should not serve as a substitute for specific legal advice from a personal injury attorney. All cases are determined based on their own facts and no assumptions about possible damages should be made based on this post.


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