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A Dog Owner's Legal Defenses

Dogs are by far one of the most common household pets in the United States. It doesn't matter if a person lives in a small home, in an apartment, or on a large piece of land, people everywhere keep dogs as pets, and these pets can range from a few pounds to over a hundred pounds. Regardless of a dog's size, their teeth can cause some major damage, including permanent scarring and disfigurement.

While dogs can be absolutely wonderful pets and companions, they are still animals and not all dog bites and attacks will be prevented. When someone is bitten or viciously attacked by a dog, the dog's owner may not be entirely liable in every situation. For example, a dog owner may not be liable for injuries caused by his or her dog in the following scenarios:

  • The dog was provoked
  • The victim knowingly took the risk of being injured by the dog
  • The individual was trespassing
  • The person was breaking the law
  • The person's carelessness contributed to the injury

Michigan Dog Bite Law

Michigan dog bite law is covered under Section 287.351, which is considered a "strict liability" statute. Under this law, when a dog bites a person without provocation while the person is on either public property, or lawfully on private property, including the dog owner's property, the dog owner is liable for any damages suffered by the victim, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog, or the dog owner's knowledge of such viciousness.

Any such victim is "lawfully on the dog owner's property" when:

  • They are preforming a duty for the post office
  • They are performing duties imposed by the laws of Michigan
  • The person was an invitee or licensee (someone who is allowed to be on the property)

Under Section 287.351, an individual is not provided the same protections if he or she is bitten after gaining lawful entry upon the premises for the purpose of committing an unlawful or criminal act.

The "Provocation" Defense

There are certainly times when a dog owner successfully defends a lawsuit by showing that the injured person provoked their dog. There are certain provocation acts such as hitting a dog, throwing sticks or rocks at a dog, or teasing it – that could get the owner off the hook.

In some cases a dog owner may be able to prove that the injured person knew that the dog was dangerous, but voluntarily took a risk anyway. The theory behind this is that when a person knows that a dog is dangerous and voluntarily takes a risk and subsequently gets injured, then the dog's owner may not be held responsible for such carelessness.

Were you injured by a dog? Contact Abrahams Law now.

Since Michigan dog bite law generally holds dog owners strictly liable for injuries caused by their dogs, if you were injured by a dog, there is a strong chance that you have grounds to file a claim for damages. Such damages may include medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost income.

To learn more about your rights and protections under Michigan's dog bite laws, contact Abrahams Law today for a free initial case evaluation.

Dogs are by far one of the most common household pets in the United States. It doesn't matter if a person lives in a small home, in an apartment, or on a large piece of land, people everywhere keep dogs as pets, and these pets can range from a few pounds to over a hundred pounds. Regardless of a dog's size, their teeth can cause some major damage, including permanent scarring and disfigurement.

While dogs can be absolutely wonderful pets and companions, they are still animals and not all dog bites and attacks will be prevented. When someone is bitten or viciously attacked by a dog, the dog's owner may not be entirely liable in every situation. For example, a dog owner may not be liable for injuries caused by his or her dog in the following scenarios:

  • The dog was provoked
  • The victim knowingly took the risk of being injured by the dog
  • The individual was trespassing
  • The person was breaking the law
  • The person's carelessness contributed to the injury

Michigan Dog Bite Law

Michigan dog bite law is covered under Section 287.351, which is considered a "strict liability" statute. Under this law, when a dog bites a person without provocation while the person is on either public property, or lawfully on private property, including the dog owner's property, the dog owner is liable for any damages suffered by the victim, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog, or the dog owner's knowledge of such viciousness.

Any such victim is "lawfully on the dog owner's property" when:

  • They are preforming a duty for the post office
  • They are performing duties imposed by the laws of Michigan
  • The person was an invitee or licensee (someone who is allowed to be on the property)

Under Section 287.351, an individual is not provided the same protections if he or she is bitten after gaining lawful entry upon the premises for the purpose of committing an unlawful or criminal act.

The "Provocation" Defense

There are certainly times when a dog owner successfully defends a lawsuit by showing that the injured person provoked their dog. There are certain provocation acts such as hitting a dog, throwing sticks or rocks at a dog, or teasing it – that could get the owner off the hook.

In some cases a dog owner may be able to prove that the injured person knew that the dog was dangerous, but voluntarily took a risk anyway. The theory behind this is that when a person knows that a dog is dangerous and voluntarily takes a risk and subsequently gets injured, then the dog's owner may not be held responsible for such carelessness.

Were you injured by a dog? Contact Abrahams Law now.

Since Michigan dog bite law generally holds dog owners strictly liable for injuries caused by their dogs, if you were injured by a dog, there is a strong chance that you have grounds to file a claim for damages. Such damages may include medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost income.

To learn more about your rights and protections under Michigan's dog bite laws, contact Abrahams Law today for a free initial case evaluation.

Categories: Dog Bites

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