According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year. Many victims are children between the ages of five and nine years old and while some may only suffer from a few scratches or abrasions, it is much more likely that they will sustain serious injuries. In fact, as many as one out of five bites becomes infected. Treating these kinds of injuries can be extremely expensive, especially for severe bites that require surgery or physical therapy. For this reason, it is critical for dog bite victims to contact an experienced Burton dog bite attorney who is well-versed in state law and can ensure that they are compensated for their medical expenses and other losses.
Aside from suffering deep lacerations, nerve damage, and even injuries to underlying muscles, dog bite victims are also at risk of suffering from a variety of diseases, such as rabies, which is a virus that affects the brain and although relatively rare, can be fatal. Victims are more likely to suffer from exposure to Pasteurella, which is a type of bacteria, found in over 50 percent of infected dog bite wounds. Common symptoms include swollen glands, fever, and swelling in the joints. Those who suffer from deep bite wounds may also suffer from Tetanus, which is a toxin produced by a specific type of bacteria that can cause rigid paralysis. Dog bite victims are especially in danger of infection, as around 18 percent of dog bites become infected.
Dog bite victims have three options when it comes to filing a personal injury claim. The first and most common theory of liability involves bringing a lawsuit under the state’s dog bite statute, which is a strict liability law. This means that the injured party is not required to prove that a dog’s owner was negligent or reckless in order to collect damages. Instead, the plaintiff is only required to demonstrate that:
However, even if these elements are satisfied, plaintiffs are not able to recover damages if they were attacked after provoking the animal. It is also possible to file under Michigan’s common law strict liability law in cases where the dog’s owner had knowledge of the animal’s dangerous propensities. In these types of cases, plaintiffs usually have to provide evidence of prior attacks by the dog on other people or animals. Like the statute, this is a strict liability law, which means that plaintiffs are not required to prove that the owner was negligent in order to collect damages. Finally, dog bite victims can file a lawsuit alleging basic negligence, which will require proof that a dog’s owner had ineffective control over the animal and did not prevent foreseeable harm.
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