Michigan Dog Bite Lawsuit For Bite On Child’s Face
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Although almost all dogs are kind and loving, they are still animals, and many can be provoked into attacking with little notice. Dog owners are responsible for keeping their pets under control and keeping them away from strangers or even friends if necessary to maintain safety.
Unfortunately, some dogs will still attack humans, sometimes unprovoked. Dog bite cases can be legally and emotionally difficult, and trying to handle it on your own could cost you.
If you need a Michigan dog bite lawsuit filed for a bite on a child’s face, you should reach out to an experienced dog bite lawyer at our law firm who specializes in personal injury claims. Other types of lawsuits have different types of rules and requirements, and only an attorney who knows how to handle dog bites can maximize your chances of winning.
Why Dog Bites Are Serious
Faces are a particularly dangerous place to sustain dog bite injuries. The eyes, nose, and lips are made of delicate tissue, all of which can be damaged by a dog’s teeth. Even a single dog bite can be enough to cause blindness in one eye, and a serious mauling could result in death.
Dog bites can also result in a rabies infection. Although dog owners in Michigan are required to vaccinate dogs over four months of age, some negligent pet owners do not, putting your child at serious risk. Even non-rabies infections caused by a failure to clean the wound properly could have life-threatening complications.
In many cases, dog bite victims need plastic surgery on their face to try to repair the damage. Although children heal quickly and may recover better than adults, they still could need multiple surgeries and months of recovery, and may still have scarring after the event.
Location of the Attack
Dog bites can happen at a variety of places, including public property like roads and parks, your own property, or the dog owner’s property. An attack by a dog on your property or on public property is almost always grounds for a lawsuit.
If you are legally on the dog owner’s property, including as an invited guest at a party or other gathering, you may be able to sue for compensation as well. In these cases, homeowner’s insurance may cover the cost of the injuries. However, these cases may also be harder to win, especially if there is a dispute over whether you were invited to the owner’s property.
Either way, you’ll need a Michigan dog bite lawyer who is experienced with the laws that apply to your case. Since insurance company coverage can vary, a law firm that specializes in dog bites can handle your case best.
What to Do if Attacked
If your child is attacked, it’s important to take them to get emergency care as soon as possible. Even if the wounds appear superficial at first, they need to be fully disinfected. Your child may also need a rabies shot, depending on whether the dog has proper vaccination documentation.
Get the name of the dog owner if possible, and make a note of the location and circumstances of the attack. Try to get witness contact information and file a police report as soon as possible. A police report helps solidify the facts of the case, making it easier to win if you need to file a lawsuit.
How to File a Lawsuit
In Michigan, there is a three-year statute of limitations to file a dog bite lawsuit. This doesn’t mean you have to win your case within three years, but the initial filing for medical bills and pain and suffering needs to be filed within this time limit.
Your attorney will work with you to collect medical documentation, witness statements, and other relevant evidence establishing the timeline of events that occurred before, during, and after the dog bite. Your attorney will help you file your lawsuit in civil court against the appropriate parties, including the dog owner’s insurance policy if applicable.
You will also need extensive evidence to prove pain and suffering. In facial bite cases, proving pain and suffering could require documentation of any scarring that occurred after the attack or evidence of missed social events and other things your child is supposed to enjoy. Although gathering this evidence takes time, you can win significant funds for your child this way.
It’s common for small children to accidentally provoke a dog while trying to play with them. Insurance companies or the dog’s owner may try to claim the dog was provoked, potentially nullifying your grounds for a claim. Ultimately, you may have to prove your side of the story in order to win.
This is why it’s essential to get as many witnesses as possible to provide statements, either in the initial police report or after the fact. An attorney can help you decide how much witness testimony you need and the best routes for tracking them down.
Fortunately, under Michigan law, you can still win a claim against a dog owner even if the dog has never shown aggressive behavior before. You can win the compensation you need without having to prove the dog had a prior history of violence or calls to animal control.
Protecting Your Child
If your family member has been bitten by a dog, you need to take action as soon as possible in order to win. The three-year statute of limitations gives you some time to work with an attorney to gather evidence, but you still need financial relief as soon as possible. Medical bills can pile up quickly, even if you have health insurance.
Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. has a winning team of personal injury attorneys who are experienced in a wide range of cases. We have detailed knowledge of Michigan dog bite laws and provide caring consultation as your case proceeds.
We are dedicated to winning justice for all our clients, but we understand that cases involving injuries to a child are especially sensitive. Contact us at 866-MICH-LAW today so we can get to work for you.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.