In the aftermath of a dog attack, you may be struggling with trauma, medical bills, and missed work, and you may not know what to do next. In Michigan, the dog’s owner is usually liable for injury-related expenses, even if the pet had no history of aggression.
You can count on the team at Christensen Law to make your recovery our priority. Let us offer you the compassionate guidance you need to move forward from this traumatic experience with the support you need. Our Lansing dog bite lawyers have handled thousands of cases and recovered millions for our clients. Learn more about how we can help you recover if you or your child were the victim of a dog attack when you call us at 248-900-9000.
How a Lansing Dog Bite Accident Attorney Can Help You
A Lansing personal injury lawyer can provide invaluable help if you’ve suffered an injury from a dog attack. Some key ways a dog bite attorney assists victims include:
- Evaluating liability: While state law typically holds dog owners strictly liable for dog bites, the owner may try to say you provoked the dog or did something that otherwise reduces their liability. We can help show that you were not responsible for your injuries.
- Obtaining evidence: The attorney gathers police reports, animal control records, medical records, bills, photographs, veterinarian reports, and witness statements to support the victim’s case.
- Establishing damages: The lawyer documents all damages like medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering, and permanent impairments stemming from bite wounds.
- Handling negotiations: Our dog bite lawyer handles negotiations with insurance adjusters, aggressively pursuing fair settlement offers. This takes the stress off victims.
- Filing lawsuit: If responsible parties won’t settle, the attorney can file a dog bite lawsuit in court seeking maximum compensation through litigation.
- Offering expertise: The lawyer understands Michigan’s dog bite laws and legal strategies to protect your rights and maximize results.
Pursuing fair compensation can be difficult for dog bite victims without legal representation. An experienced dog bite attorney levels the playing field and fights to protect the victim’s rights.
Does Michigan Have a One-Bite Rule for Dogs?
No, Michigan does not have a “one bite rule” when it comes to dog bites and owner liability. According to Michigan statute MCL 287.351, dog owners may be held to a standard of strict liability if their dog bites or injures someone.
A dog owner may be held liable for the first bite or injury caused by their dog, even if the dog has never bitten or shown aggression before. This means the victim does not have to prove the owner was negligent; the owner is responsible regardless. A Michigan dog bite lawyer can help you hold them accountable.
If the victim provoked the dog, owners may be able to argue they are not strictly liable for the victim’s injuries. If a dog owner tries to blame you for the bite, this can risk your ability to get fair compensation.
Can a Delivery Driver File a Claim for a Dog Bite in Lansing, Michigan?
Yes, a delivery driver can file a legal claim seeking compensation if they are bitten by a dog while making deliveries at a property in Lansing, Michigan.
Delivery workers like postal employees, food delivery couriers, package delivery drivers, grocery or pizza delivery persons, utility meter readers, etc., would likely be considered invitees. So if you are bitten while lawfully going about your duties, you can pursue injury damages against the owner.
Liability may be reconsidered only if the delivery driver provoked or incited the dog before the bite. But absent willful trespass or torment by the delivery person, fault generally falls upon the owner who failed to restrain their dog.
How a Lansing Dog Bite Lawyer Proves Liability in a Civil Case
Knowing how to prove liability in a dog bite case is crucial for securing compensation. A personal injury lawyer uses various strategic methods to establish liability on the dog owner’s part:
- Reviewing animal control and veterinary records for any documented aggressive incidents or problems in the dog’s history.
- Assessing whether there were clear signs or warnings about the dog’s presence on the property, like “Beware of Dog” signs.
- Interviewing any eyewitnesses to garner third-party accounts substantiating how the attack transpired and pinpointing root causes.
- Proving the owner had prior knowledge of aggressive tendencies or did not properly train or restrain the dog.
- Highlighting local dangerous dog regulations like leash laws or confinement rules that were violated, contributing to the biting occurring.
Securing evidence from multiple credible sources to show the bite was foreseeable and preventable strengthens liability arguments and forces settlement negotiations. Savvy personal injury attorneys use bite-specific evidence gathering and legal arguments to maximize case success.
How Much Your Lansing Dog Bite Claim Is Worth
Because each case is unique, there is no average dog bite settlement amount. There are also no hard caps that limit how much you can sue for in a dog bite injury case in Michigan. The amount of compensation you can recover depends on the severity of the bite injuries and losses you suffered as a result.
In a dog bite case, one factor that will affect your settlement amount is how extensive your injuries are. For example, if you have more extensive injuries like nerve or tendon damage, broken bones, scarring, or injuries that need surgery, it could increase the value of your settlement. Disfigurement or the loss of the use of body parts can also increase the value.
Your medical bills, lost wages, and any loss of your future earning capacity as a result of the dog’s bite will also influence how much your final settlement or award will be. In addition to this, you may also get compensation for physical pain, emotional distress, and reduced quality of life.
How Long You Have to File a Dog Bite Claim in Michigan
According to Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 600.5805, you generally have three years from the date of the dog bite to file a claim against the dog owner. Dog bite cases involving children may qualify for an extension, but a lawyer can help figure out how long you have to act.
There are very limited exceptions that might “toll” the statute, like if the owner leaves Michigan for a period. It’s advisable to act quickly if you want to pursue a dog bite claim in Michigan, as key evidence can fade over time. Reach out to our Lansing dog bite lawyers well before the deadline can help protect your right to compensation.
What to Do After a Dog Bite in Lansing, Michigan
Understanding what to do after a dog bite can protect your right to compensation if you decide to file a claim. Being bitten by a dog can be a very traumatic event. If you’ve suffered a dog bite injury, these steps are important to take:
- Seek medical care: This should be done right away, even for minor bites, as wound infections and rabies are risks. Obtain complete documentation of bite wounds, cleaning, stitches, antibiotics, and other treatments or injuries.
- Report the incident: Alert the Ingham County Animal Control or other authorities to provide a formal statement on how the bite happened. Provide the owner’s name/contact if known.
- Photograph injuries: Take clear pictures of bite wounds from all angles before and throughout the healing process to properly document the harm suffered.
- Identify witnesses: Get contact details for anyone who saw the bite occur. Their accounts could help establish liability.
- Request veterinary records: Ask the dog owner to provide up-to-date rabies vaccination certificates and records speaking to the dog’s nature or past behavior.
- Consult a lawyer: To understand your legal rights and options regarding compensation from the dog owner, discussing your case with a Lansing dog bite attorney is highly advisable.
- Keep all records: Maintain all bite-related medical bills, correspondence, repair invoices, photographs, and records together in one place.
- Avoid social media: It’s best not to discuss the dog bite incident or your injuries on social media because your words could be used against you during the settlement process.
Staying proactive with reporting, treatment, and evidence collection after a bite sets the stage for a stronger recovery process.
Get a Free Consultation With a Lansing Dog Bite Accident Lawyers
When you reach out to the Lansing dog bite lawyers at Christensen Law, we will carefully listen to your story, ask necessary questions, and make sure your concerns are heard. We will focus on preparation and investigation to build a strong case for your compensation.