Many people love dogs, and their homes do not feel complete without one, but these animals can be dangerous in certain contexts. In fact, dog attacks are responsible for hundreds of thousands of emergency room visits annually, and the victims are often children. Sometimes, dogs even cause fatal injuries.
Poor training or care is usually to blame when a pet injures someone. When you or your child sustains injuries in an encounter with a dog, you could hold the owner responsible. In many circumstances, the law entitles you to claim monetary damages.
The laws surrounding dog-inflicted injuries are complex, so enlist the help of an experienced attorney as soon as possible. A Lansing dog bite lawyer can help you pursue the appropriate compensation for the financial, medical, and emotional impact the incident has on your life.
A dog attack can be a terrifying physical and emotional ordeal. Dogs can knock people over, causing soft tissue injuries, broken or crushed bones, spinal cord damage, and head injuries. A dog bite can also lead to deep, ragged wounds that are prone to infection.
Bites are often especially severe when a child is the victim. Bite wounds to a child’s face often require many stitches to close and leave permanent scars.
In addition, the psychological impact of a dog attack may be severe and persistent. An injured person might develop a fear of dogs, which could have a detrimental impact on their ability to enjoy public spaces. People who survive dog attacks might suffer from anxiety, sleeplessness, nightmares, and even develop post-traumatic stress disorder. Fortunately, a dog bite attorney in Lansing can pursue compensation for all these damages and more.
Michigan Statute § 287.351 makes pet owners strictly liable when their dog bites someone on public property. When someone is bitten while legally on private property, they can also hold the dog owner strictly liable. Strict liability means there is no need to prove the dog owner was negligent or knew the dog might be aggressive.
Still, the law imposes some limits on an owner’s liability. The law only pertains to bites “without provocation.” When there is evidence the dog was responding to teasing or mistreatment, or even an accidental provocation, the owner might not be liable. The law also does not apply to trespassers. This means anyone who enters private property without the owner’s consent cannot hold the property owner or dog owner liable for injuries they experience due to a dog bite.
Furthermore, the law only applies to injuries caused by a bite. Someone who suffered injuries because a dog knocked them over or scratched them with a paw cannot use this statute to recover compensation. However, in such cases, a Lansing dog bite attorney can potentially use other legal theories to hold the dog’s owner liable.
If an incident does not fit within the limits of the strict liability dog bite statute, an injured person has other legal options for obtaining compensation. Common law negligence applies to injuries a dog causes.
A person is negligent if they fail to take reasonable steps to protect others from foreseeable harm. When an owner knows or should know that their dog might be dangerous, they could be negligent if they do not make reasonable efforts such as:
Reasonable efforts depend on the threat the dog poses and other circumstances. A Lansing dog attack attorney can review a specific incident to determine whether an owner’s actions were reasonable.
Additionally, Lansing Municipal Ordinance § 610.02 requires dogs to be confined to a fenced yard or on a leash at all times. Failure to comply with this law could be evidence of negligence. Furthermore, an owner could be liable if a dog was leashed, but they were unable to control it, and it caused someone an injury.
Pet owners are responsible for the injuries their dogs cause. The owner’s insurance company is usually responsible for paying the claim, and they will always try to lowball a claimant. Fortunately, a Lansing dog bite lawyer can help you obtain an appropriate financial settlement to compensate for your losses. Having an experienced and knowledgeable negotiator on your side is crucial. Speak with a local attorney about your dog injury claim today.
For a report filed with local Animal Control, you should request the Animal Control report at the following location:
Lansing Police Department
120 W. Michigan Avenue
Lansing, MI 48933