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Dog Bite Laws in Michigan

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January 30th, 2023
Snarling dog on leash

When you have been attacked or bit by a dog in Michigan, you have the right to pursue compensation for your damages with the help of an experienced Detroit dog bite attorney.

However, pursuing a claim against a dog’s owner could be more challenging than you think, and understanding the state’s laws could help you achieve a desirable outcome.

When Can You File a Lawsuit for a Dog Bite in Michigan?

According to MCL section 287.351, when a dog attacks someone without provocation on public property or lawfully on private property, the dog’s owner can be held accountable for the victim’s damages. Additionally, the dog doesn’t need to have a history of violence for the owner to be responsible.

However, it should be noted that the dog bite statute applies specifically to dog bites. If a dog accidentally knocks you over and causes injuries, Michigan’s dog bite laws would not apply.

What Actions Are Considered Provoking the Dog?

In instances of provocation, where the victim provoked the dog into acting aggressively or violently, the dog’s owner may avoid liability for the victim’s damages. Some examples of provocative behavior include:

  • Pulling a dog’s tail or ears
  • Hitting, kicking, or scratching a dog
  • Making a dog feel trapped
  • Screaming or yelling at a dog
  • Any other behaviors meant to incite a negative reaction from a dog

Does Michigan Have a One-Bite Rule?

Although some states allow dog owners to avoid liability if this is the first time their dog has attacked someone, this rule doesn’t exist in Michigan. Michigan has two different theories of liability for dog bite claims.

The dog’s owner can be held strictly liable if the victim does not provoke the dog and was lawfully on the property where the incident occurred. This is known as the statutory Michigan dog bite rule. However, under Michigan’s common dog bite law, the victim must prove that the dog owner should have known that the dog had a predisposition for viciousness or biting.

Are Dog Owners Required to Leash Their Pets?

Dog owners must keep their dogs on a leash, according to MCL 287.262. Anyone who violates the state leash laws could face harsh penalties. Not only could you face a citation but also misdemeanor criminal charges

The law applies to all types of dogs, including those considered working dogs. Dogs may also require collars, tags with their name and owner’s contact information, and licensing.

How Long Do You Have to File a Lawsuit?

The statute of limitations for dog bites applies under the Michigan personal injury statute of limitations. According to MCL section 600.5805, injury victims have three years to file a dog bite claim.

Your three-year time limit starts the day of the attack. However, depending on the specific circumstances of your case, this deadline could begin or end at varying times.

Call a Dog Bite Lawyer in Michigan for Help Today

If your dog bite injuries have had a substantial impact on your life, a reputable Michigan dog bite lawyer at Davis Injury Lawyers, PLLC, could help you get justice and recover compensation.

Learn more about your next steps when you contact our office for a free consultation. You can reach us by phone at 313-462-7979 or through our secure contact form to get started on your claim with our dog bite lawyers today.