Dogs make wonderful family pets, guardians, and companions. Unfortunately, not everyone who owns a dog cares for it properly or trains it responsibly. Under those circumstances and others, dogs sometimes bite or attack people.
Dog owners are liable for the injuries their animals cause in many cases. However, the law is complicated, and liability depends on various factors. When you or your child suffers injuries from an encounter with a dog, working with an experienced attorney helps ensure you have the best chance at receiving compensation.
A Kalamazoo dog bite lawyer is available to review your case and determine whether you have a viable claim. Contact our office today to get started.
Domesticated dogs make loyal companions, but they are still animals with basic instincts to protect themselves, their owners, and their territory. Dog bites and other injuries often happen when a dog feels threatened. Some owners do not properly socialize their dogs, perhaps believing they make more effective watch dogs if they are not accustomed to people. Such dogs might act aggressively with little or no provocation.
Many children suffer severe dog bites because they are not experienced enough to read a dog’s body language and warning signals. A child who approaches a fearful dog, plays too rough, or accidently hurts the animal might receive a nip or bite. In addition, sometimes young or playful dogs get overstimulated and knock over a child, causing an injury.
Although it is important to learn to interpret and respect a dog’s signals, the owner is also responsible for monitoring their pet and preventing it from harming anyone. Depending on the circumstances, several legal options exist allowing a Kalamazoo dog bite attorney to hold a pet owner accountable when their animal causes an injury.
Dog bites can cause a variety of different injuries. The injured person might suffer scratches, bruising, or a shallow penetration of the skin. However, even seemingly minor physical injuries like these require medical attention and can lead to lost time at work, physical pain, and psychological trauma.
In some cases, dog attacks are catastrophic and require substantial medical intervention. Some of the more severe injuries someone might suffer in a dog attack include:
Sometimes dog attack injuries are fatal, in which case the dog’s owner might be liable for the person’s wrongful death. Additionally, the psychological impact of a dog attack is often devastating and might require years to resolve. A Kalamazoo dog bite attorney works diligently to ensure the liable party provides appropriate compensation for the impact the injuries have on the injured party’s quality of life going forward.
Someone who suffers injuries from a dog can take legal action against the owner. If the injured person was on public property or on private property with permission when an unprovoked attack happens, Michigan Statute § 287.351 makes the owner strictly liable in many cases. If the dog was not on the owner’s property when the attack happened, the owner is liable if the dog was unleashed or if the person holding the leash did not control the animal. However, this law applies only to bite injuries.
If the dog bite statute does not apply in a specific case, a Kalamazoo attorney can seek damages for negligence. An owner is negligent if they fail to take reasonable precautions to prevent the dog from harming someone.
Furthermore, Kalamazoo’s City Ordinance § 7-3 says any dog that bites or attacks a person or another animal without provocation is a vicious dog, and it is illegal to keep a vicious dog within the city limits. Other city ordinances require dogs to be confined to their property and on a leash at all times when off the property, unless they are working dogs engaging in a specialized activity like police work or hunting.
When you or your loved one are bitten by another person’s dog, you are entitled to compensation for your losses. However, insurance companies are often reluctant to make a reasonable settlement unless there is a viable threat of legal action. A Kalamazoo dog bite lawyer can work hard to help you pursue compensation reflecting your financial, physical, and emotional losses. Reach out today to discuss your situation with a seasoned attorney.
For a report filed with local Animal Control, you should request the Animal Control report at the following location:
Kalamazoo Police Department
150 E. Crosstown, Suite A
Kalamazoo, MI 49001