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Liability associated with dog bite attacks in Michigan

While puppy nips and scratches may result in the most minor of injuries, some dogs might be capable of inflicting much more serious injuries and even causing an individual's death. In the case of the latter, breed, conditioning, and poor health may make one dog more aggressive than another.

In Michigan, holding a dog owner liable if their dog attacks another person is authorized under Dog Bite Statute, MCL ยง 287.351. No matter whether a dog has been aggressive before or not, in Michigan, a dog owner can be held strictly liable for their dog's actions.

One exception to this statute is in cases in which it can be proven that the alleged victim was bitten or attacked while illegally trespassing or in the course of taunting the dog. In the case of either trespassing or provoking a dog, these actions are seen as not resulting from the homeowner's negligence but instead as resulting from the victim's innappropriate actions.

Aside from the aforementioned, there is an additional instance in which a homeowner can be held liable for their dog's actions. A dog owner having knowledge of their pet's potentially aggressive demeanor, yet failing to do anything to mitigate potential risk, is also considered to be illegal under Michigan common law as well.

Among the many responsibilities of dog owners with known aggressive dogs, making sure to keep them restrained at all times is important. Either failing to provide adequate supervision of your dog or not posting proper signage warning others that a potentially dangerous dog resides at your residence is seen as negligence under Michigan law.

When it comes to filing a lawsuit aimed at recovering damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and other expenses, adult victims of dog attacks are allowed up to three years after the accident to file a claim. Although the general rule of thumb for minors involved in similar type attacks allows them to file a lawsuit up until their 19th birthday, there are some exceptions that apply.

If you have been injured as the result of having been bitten by a dog, you should not only immediately report the incident to police, but seek medical attention right away as well. You may also wish to seek out the advice of a Detroit, Michigan personal injury attorney as to how to proceed with your case.

Source: FindLaw, "Detroit Dog Bites: The Basics," accessed April 07, 2017

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