Injuries sustained in a dog bite can be particularly devastating because of the emotional trauma a dog attack often causes in addition to the actual physical injury. When the victim is a child, the psychological impact of a dog bite is often felt well into adulthood. Whether you yourself are the victim of a dog bite or you are the parent of a victim you may be wondering “ What compensation can I collect for a dog bite in Michigan? ”
Dog bite injuries are a type of personal injury and are, therefore, handled similarly to other personal injury lawsuit such as car accidents or medical malpractice claims. Unlike other types of personal injury cases, however, Michigan does not require a victim to prove negligence on the part of the dog owner. Instead, Michigan has a strict liability dog bite law that holds an owner responsible for injuries caused by a dog regardless of whether the owner attempted to prevent harm or not. Michigan’s dog bite law reads, in pertinent part, as follows:
“If a dog bites a person, without provocation while the person is on public property, or lawfully on private property, including the property of the owner of the dog, the owner of the dog shall be liable for any damages suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”
As the victim of a dog attack you may be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are out of pocket expenses such as the cost of medical treatment, rehabilitation expenses, and lost income. Dog bites can cause significant injuries. If the bite broke the skin there is frequently a very real risk of serious infection along with the damage done by the bite itself. All of the costs associated with treating the bite are compensable.
Non-economic damages cover the emotional trauma caused by the attack and are, therefore, subjective in nature. Unlike other types of personal injuries, the non-economic portion of a dog bite settlement or award is often substantial, particularly if the victim is a child. Any accident can cause emotional trauma; however, dog attacks can psychologically scar a victim for life. Years of counseling may be required before the victim can begin to heal the emotional wound caused by the attack.
If you are the victim of a Michigan dog bite, or are the parent of a victim, consult with an experienced Michigan dog bite attorney immediately to ensure that you are fully and fairly compensated for all your injuries.