As reported by the public education website, DogsBite.org, 1,000 people a day require emergency care treatment because of a dog bite injury—some fatal. But, in many cases, these injuries were preventable.

If you’ve suffered an unprovoked dog bite injury as the result of an owner’s negligence, they are liable for your injuries. Geoffrey Fieger and his team have represented and won claims for many victims in your position. We’re not afraid to fight and get you winning results.

The most common breeds that can cause a dog bite injury include:

  • Pit Bull
  • Rottweiler
  • Husky
  • Wolf Hybrid
  • Bullmastiff
  • German Shepherd
  • Akita
  • Chow
  • Doberman
  • Boxer

With the right training and love, these animals make gentle companions. It’s when human owners mistreat them or do not take responsibility for them that people get hurt. Fieger Law believes dog owners should pay the price for their carelessness, not you.

Dog bite injuries include both physical and mental harm:

  • Puncture wounds and lacerations
  • Broken bones
  • Infections
  • Deep tissue and nerve damage
  • Permanent or long-lasting scars
  • Emotional distress
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Wrongful death

Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may be entitled to recover compensation for lost wages, medical expenses and pain and suffering. The attorneys at Fieger Law are here to help you get maximum compensation for your dog bite injury. We’ve helped many victims, and we can help you.

Legal Process for Dog Bite Claims

Dog bites can leave lasting physical and emotional scars. If you’ve been attacked by a dog, understanding the legal process is crucial to get the compensation you need to recover. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  • Gathering Evidence:
    • Medical Records: Collect all documents related to your dog bite treatment, including doctor visits, prescriptions, surgeries, and other treatments.
    • Police Report: File a police report immediately after the attack. This documents the incident and helps establish the identity of the dog’s owner.
    • Witness Statements: If anyone saw the attack, obtain their written statements describing what happened.
    • Photos: Take pictures of your injuries immediately after the bite and throughout the healing process.
  • Negotiating With Insurance Companies:
    • Most dog owners have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance that may cover dog bite claims. However, without a lawyer, you may inadvertently admit fault or accept a lowball settlement.
    • An attorney can help you negotiate with the insurance company to ensure a fair settlement offer.
  • Taking the Case to Court:
    • If negotiations fail, a lawyer can build a strong case and represent you in court.
    • A lawyer can gather, organize, and present evidence, witness testimonies, and medical documentation to prove the dog owner’s negligence and your right to compensation.

Understanding Dog Bite Laws in Michigan

Michigan follows a “strict liability” rule.  This means dog owners are automatically liable for injuries caused by their dog and can’t avoid liability by claiming they didn’t know their dog was dangerous.  This legal framework simplifies the process for victims seeking compensation, but there are nuances and exceptions that can impact the outcome of a claim.

Key Exceptions to Strict Liability

  • Trespassing: In Michigan, if a dog bite occurs while the victim was unlawfully on private property, the owner’s liability may be significantly reduced. This exception is based on the principle that the owner should not be responsible for injuries to individuals who are on their property without permission.
  • Provocation: If the victim provoked the dog, whether through aggressive behavior, teasing, or other actions that could reasonably lead to a defensive response from the dog, the owner’s liability might be decreased. Establishing provocation can complicate the claim, as it shifts some responsibility for the incident to the victim.

Factors Influencing Your Claim

  • Severity of Injuries: The extent of the injuries sustained plays a crucial role in determining the value of a dog bite claim. More severe injuries typically result in higher compensation to cover extensive medical treatments and long-term care.
  • Type of Injury: The nature of the injuries also affects the claim. For example, injuries that result in permanent scarring, disfigurement, or loss of function might warrant higher compensation due to their lasting impact on the victim’s life.
  • Owner’s Negligence: While strict liability does not require proving negligence, the owner’s actions before and after the incident can still influence the case. For instance, if the owner knew the dog had a tendency to escape and did not take adequate steps to secure it, this could be considered.

Navigating a dog bite claim can be complex, particularly with the nuances of Michigan’s strict liability laws and potential defenses like trespassing and provocation. Consulting with a personal injury lawyer who specializes in dog bite cases is essential.

Complications and Long-Term Effects of Dog Bites

Dog bites can cause more than just puncture wounds. Here are some potential complications to consider:

Physical Concerns:

  • Infection: Dog bites can introduce bacteria that lead to serious infections, such as such as Pasteurella, Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus.
  • Rabies and Tetanus: Ensure you receive prompt medical attention to prevent these potentially fatal diseases.
  • Nerve Damage: Bites can damage nerves, causing numbness, tingling, or permanent loss of function.
  • Scarring and Disfigurement: These can require subsequent cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries, especially if the bite is on a visible part of the body such as the face or hands.

Psychological Effects:

  • Fear of Dogs: Dog bites can lead to significant anxiety and fear around dogs, affecting a person’s ability to interact with dogs in everyday situations. Victims might even avoid parks or other outdoor areas where dogs are commonly present.
  • PTSD: In severe cases, dog attacks can trigger Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), where the victim experiences ongoing severe stress and anxiety related to the incident.
  • Depression: The trauma from a dog attack, especially if it results in disfigurement, can lead some individuals to withdraw socially and emotionally, which can lead to depression and isolation, affecting personal relationships and quality of life.

It’s critical that you consider your future medical needs after a dog bite. Reconstructive surgery may be necessary to address scarring, while physical therapy may be required to help with nerve damage or mobility issues. Meanwhile, therapy is crucial for managing anxiety, fear, or PTSD. A personal injury lawyer can ensure your claim considers the long-term costs associated with your dog bite injury, helping you recover the compensation you deserve for a full recovery.

The Nation’s Answer for Severe Dog Bite Injury Cases

Since our firm’s founding in 1950, the dog bite injury experts at Fieger Law have fought for victims’ rights. If you or a family member have suffered from this type of injury, Geoffrey Fieger and the expert attorneys at Fieger Law can help.

Contact Michigan’s top law firm specializing in dog bite injury cases today.