Despite the efforts of cities to impose leash laws and other restrictions on their citizens, thousands of people are still bitten by dogs every year. Fortunately, Michigan is not a “one bite rule” state, which means that even when an animal has never attacked anyone before and the owner was not negligent in restraining or controlling the dog, injured parties can still collect compensation for their losses. However, filing a claim can still be difficult, especially for those who have suffered serious, debilitating injuries, so if you were attacked by a dog, it is critical to contact a Rankin dog bite lawyer who can ensure that you file your claim properly and on time.
Michigan’s dog bite law is a strict liability statute, which means that an injured party is only required to prove the following elements in order to recover damages:
Even if plaintiffs can prove all of these elements, they will be barred from recovering if they provoked the animal. However, an action will only be considered provocation if it was definitively taken to incite the animal. Further, the animal’s reaction must be considered proportional to the victim’s action. For example, if a child reached over to pet a dog and that dog responded by biting her arm, the defense would not be applicable because even though the child technically provoked the action, the dog’s response was in no way proportional to a gentle pat from a child.
Plaintiffs who do not file claims under the strict liability dog bite statute also have the option of filing a common law strict liability claim. This requires victims to prove that the animal’s owner had prior knowledge of its dangerous propensities and that the injury can be directly linked to those tendencies. For example, if a dog had exhibited a pattern of playfully jumping on people when they walked through the door, someone who was injured because the dog bit them would most likely be unsuccessful with this type of claim, as the injury is not consistent with the animal’s known propensities.
Finally, injured plaintiffs can assert a claim of negligence, which requires proof that the dog’s owner was somehow negligent, which resulted in the accident. This theory is raised most often in cases where a dog was bitten after an owner let it off its leash. Regardless of the type of claim a plaintiff chooses to file, he or she must do so within three years from the date of the attack or risk having the claim permanently barred by the court.
To learn more about filing a claim for injuries caused by someone else’s dog, please do not hesitate to contact us at Nickola Law by calling 810-767-5420 today. A member of our Rankin dog bite legal team is standing by and eager to help you throughout each step of your case.
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