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Factors that Determine Your Dog Bite Settlement in Michigan

Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran

Michigan currently ranks within the top ten states for the number of claims for dog bites, and in 2016, State Farm Insurance reported that they had 167 claims that resulted in over 4.4 million dollars in compensation to victims. The “strict liability” laws governing dog bites open many cases to litigation, and the dog bite attorneys in Michigan are aware of the ways this law protects the public.

The “strict liability” law states that an owner cannot escape the liability associated with a dog bite even though there was no record of the dog having bitten anyone in the past or having a history of being dangerous. Otherwise, the owner is responsible for the first instances of their dog biting someone. A dog owner can also be found negligent if their dog jumps up on a person and pushes them to the ground causing injury. However, there are some elements of the situation that must be met before a settlement can be filed successfully.

Determine if There is a Case for Litigation

There has to be a dog bite. The plaintiff in a dog bite lawsuit needs to establish that they were bitten by a dog, and it was the bite that caused the injury. In addition, the plaintiff must prove that the dog was not provoked into biting them and that the incident occurred in a public place like a park or the street, and not in private yard where the person was not invited.

If a person bitten by a dog was teasing the dog or causing some other kind of distress, then the owner cannot be held responsible for the dog’s reaction. In the same way, if a person is trespassing, or in other words “not lawfully” on the property, then the owner may not be held liable. The Law Firm of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., had had a great deal of experience with this statute in Michigan. We can very quickly clarify the status of a claim for liability for either plaintiff or defendant.

What Factors Determine the Settlement?

Since a dog bite can create a range of medical and emotional complications, there is no one way to approach the rules of settlement. Hopefully, the victim has been stabilized and is well on the road to recovery, and the well-being of the victim is the most important factor.

The investigation into the incident will reveal the circumstances surrounding the location where the person was bitten and the extent of the injuries. It will also establish the nature of the bite and whether it was due to stress placed on the animal or whether the dog actually attacked the victim. In many cases, a dog can bite when a child encroaches on their space or when they are eating. This is much different than a person being bitten who is just taking a walk in the evening.

The attorney will very carefully evaluate the medical evidence in the case and review the extent of the injuries, including whether there are any permanent disfigurements or other permanent injuries. The total cost of the medical treatment and rehabilitation, and the coverage available through the owner’s insurance policy will also factor into the final settlement amount.

Final Thoughts

A dog bite can be very serious, and the victim can sometimes suffer life-long injuries when there are broken bones or facial scars. The Law Firm at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. has a proven history of success working with the victims of dog bites. We will use our knowledge and expertise to make sure your case is thoroughly investigated and litigated with compassion and understanding. Contact us at or call us at 866-MICH-LAW for a free consultation. Our law firm works on a contingency basis, so you will never pay a fee unless we resolve your case.

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.

Tristan is a professional writer and had careers as a teacher of English, school administrator, and as a broker in real estate sales. He has gained a great deal of legal experience through his service as the president of a teacher's union, a member of the board for a real estate association, and as the chairman of the Government Affairs Committee for the real estate board of directors. Before beginning a full-time job as a freelance writer, he was the Executive Director of the Global Business Alliance for a local Chamber of Commerce and sat on the Government Affairs Committee for the Chamber.



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