MICHIGAN DOG BITE LAWYER
If you are looking for a top-rated Michigan dog bite lawyer then personal injury lawyer, John N. Elliott will be able to pursue and collect the compensation and settlements you deserve throughout the entire State of Michigan.
Dog bite lawyer John N. Elliott represents children, adults, postal workers, service providers, and utility workers. Let us help you if you or someone you care about was injured in a dog attack.
John Elliott gets his clients some of the top dog bite settlements in Michigan. Our law office is located in Troy, Michigan right next to Somerset Mall.
Our dog bite attorney serves clients statewide including Southern and Northern Michigan. Mr. Elliott can meet you in any office, at your home, at a hospital or via an initial virtual case evaluation.
SOME COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT DOG BITE CASES
- How to prevent a dog attack
- What should I do after a dog attack?
- Attacks on UPS, Amazon, and Fed-Ex delivery drivers
- Common animal attack and dog bite injuries
- How to file a lawsuit after a dog attack
DOG BITE PREVENTION
While it is impossible to prevent all dog attacks, there are certain measures a person can take to decrease the likelihood of a bite. For example, a person should be cautious around strange dogs, especially any that look unfriendly or do not have an owner in sight.
Furthermore, a person should be alert and aware of their surroundings, and teach the same to their children. Also, asking an owner for permission to pet a dog before doing so may also help to avoid suffering a bite.
After sustaining a dog bite, a victim may feel overwhelmed and frightened. Of course, seeking medical attention should be a person’s number one priority.
However, getting a dog owner’s name and contact information is also important for a future claim. Additionally, requesting proof of a dog rabies vaccination can determine if a person needs a shot to treat the disease.
AFTER A MICHIGAN DOG BITE
If you or a loved one was bitten or attacked by a dog in Michigan, you should take the following steps:
- Place a clean cloth over the injury to stop any bleeding.
- Try to keep the injured area elevated. Wash the bite carefully with soap and water.
- Apply a sterile bandage to the wound. Apply ice to the injured area
- Get prompt medical attention at a hospital, urgent care clinic, or doctor’s office
- Notify Animal Control or the Police Department and file a written report Take photographs of the injuries as soon as possible after the dog bite Continue to take photographs as the wound progresses through the course of healing
- Contact an experienced Michigan dog bite lawyer to see if you are eligible for a personal injury settlement
When you report a dog bite, either animal control or the local police will do aninvestigation. The purpose is to document the incident because many dogs are frequent biters. The investigator will also verify the dog is up to date on vaccinations, including rabies which is information you need to have.
Often times, the county requires that the dog be quarantined for a specified period of time.
Animal control will open a file for the incident. This should include facts discovered during the investigation, especially for bites requiring medical attention. You can get a copy of the report through the Freedom of Information Act. When you hire our dog bite attorney, we get the report for you.
Despite what some people believe after being bitten by a relative’s dog, they do have legal rights to sue. Although this may create a strained relationship within the family, you should both be aware that the homeowner’s insurance company may pay a settlement and it is not the homeowner who will have to pay.
In these cases, the dog owner does not have to personally pay any type of out-of-pocket compensation.
Similarly, a person who was bitten by a friend or neighbor’s dog also has legal rights. Naturally, this can present an uncomfortable situation between two neighbors. Animosity often begins immediately after the attack, especially if the pet owner is unapologetic or relatively unconcerned about the situation. In fact, the owner will often blame the victim for causing a bite. However, since the settlement will be paid by an insurance company, there truly should not be any animosity.
Approximately 61% of dog bites or attacks happen at home or in a familiar place, according to the Humane Society of the United States. In addition, roughly 77% of the biting dogs reportedly belong to the victim’s family or a friend.
Our dog bit lawyer has won substantial settlements in these cases and can do the same for you. Call us now to speak to an experienced Michigan dog bite lawyer.
Finally, insurance companies cannot legally require or demand the family give away their dog. Therefore, if both neighbors or friends act in a civil manner, they can continue their relationship after the victim is fairly compensated for the dog bite injuries.
DOG ATTACKS ON FED-EX, AMAZON, UPS & FOOD DELIVERY DRIVERS
Federal Express (Fed-Ex), Amazon, and United Parcel Service (UPS) drivers are often the victims of dog bite attacks during deliveries to their customers. This frequently occurs when drivers leave their trucks to drop off packages at homes and businesses. They become vulnerable to unrestrained and unleashed canines.
Other common dog bite victims are food delivery drivers. Drivers for Doordash, Postmates, Uber Eats, and GrubHub are also often bitten by dogs.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, many dog bite victims are mail carriers.
When this happens, a Fed-Ex driver, Amazon courier, UPS driver and food deliveryman has two potential options for pursuing legal action based on state law. The first is to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, which applies when the driver was on duty during an attack. These claims pay the delivery driver wage loss benefits during their period of disability from an attack. The claim also pays the medical expense benefits for all treatment related to their injuries.
When a negligent pet owner is responsible for an attack, they might be responsible for repaying the workers’ compensation benefits paid out by the insurer. Our dog bite lawyer has won many of these cases.
The second claim is filed against the dog owner for pain and suffering damages. Dog attacks often result in significant scarring, disfigurement, and bone fractures. As a result, a civil claim demands compensation for mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and other non-economic damages stemming from a canine attack. Further, due to the deep puncture-like nature of many dog bite attacks, serious infections are common.
A Michigan dog bite lawyer will explain the legal options available to a Fed-Ex, Amazon, UPS, letter carrier and food deliver driver after an attack.
COMMON INJURIES CAUSED BY DOG BITES
The most typical injuries seen by our dog bite injury lawyer after a dog attack are:
- Puncture wounds
- Pain and suffering
- Disfigurement resulting from scars
- Bone fractures
- Nerve damage
In addition to physical injuries, a dog bite victim often suffers from psychological damages as well. These include nightmares, post-traumatic stress syndrome, humiliation, and embarrassment.
DOG BITES TO THE FACE
Dog bites to the face are a common injury. Even with prompt medical treatment, these bites often leave permanent scars and disfigurements. These cases have significant settlement value because they are in a conspicuous place and many victims are self-conscious about a facial scar.
Many victims look to plastic surgeons for scar repairs and revisions. Children bitten in the face often have to wait until their teenage years for plastic surgery. As a result, they go through much of their childhood and adolescence with an embarrassing scar prominently on their face.
Even with plastic surgery, most scars are not completely eliminated. This results in feeling embarrassed and self-conscious in social situations. Our dog bite lawyer often has clients evaluated by a plastic surgeon to evaluate the scar and potential revisions so we can maximize the settlement amount for the case.
Pursuant to Michigan law, a dog bite victim has the legal right to compensation for injuries suffered in the attack under most circumstances. Compensation can include payment of medical expenses, lost wages, and the cost of plastic surgery for scar revision or scar reduction. Claims are made against the dog owner or keeper of the dog but paid by the insurance company.
The victim also gets compensation for pain and suffering, fright and shock, and other psychological injuries as a result of the attack. Many victims have emotional trauma, nightmares, and fear about being near strange dogs after an attack. This has a significant effect on a person’s mental state and ability to lead a normal life.
Medical costs and hospital expenses for dog bite-related emergency room visits are extremely costly. This does not include follow-up care, physical therapy, and the need for future treatment. The victim should also receive a settlement payout for any scars and disfigurements from the dog bite attack.
A Michigan dog bite lawyer can help you win the maximum possible settlement in your case.
Michigan has specific dog bite laws for victims of attacks. The Michigan dog bite statute holds the owner, keeper, or harborer of the biting dog strictly liable under Michigan law for the attack. This means the owner is automatically liable if the conditions of the statute are satisfied.
MCL 287.351 Person bitten by dog; liability of owner.
Sec. 1. (1) 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.
(2) A person is lawfully on the private property of the owner of the dog within the meaning of this act if the person is on the owner’s property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him or her by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or if the person is on the owner’s property as an invitee or licensee of the person lawfully in possession of the property unless said person has gained lawful entry upon the premises for the purpose of an unlawful or criminal act.
In addition, there are leash laws and other common laws used in lawsuits to get compensation for the victim. There are times that landlords may be liable as well, but there are some additional legal requirements to sue a landlord if a renter’s dog bites someone. There are only a few legal defenses to a dog bite lawsuit. One defense is that the victim was a trespasser at the time of the attack. As such, no legal duty was owed by the dog owner. The other major defense is provocation. Lawyers defending dog bite lawsuits often argue that the dog was provoked to attack the victim.
This could be a child pulling a dog’s tail or taking away a bone. However, the dog’s response must be proportional to the degree of provocation and in most cases, this defense cannot be proven. Most times, a dog bite attack is unprovoked and caused solely by an aggressive dog.
You can sue for a dog bite in Michigan if you were bitten by a dog and suffered an injury. This includes attacks on your property, public property, and on the property of the dog owner if you were lawfully on the property. An experienced dog bite attorney will review the facts of your case and determine if you can sue the dog owner or keeper.
Being lawfully on the property means that you were a guest on the property or you were there for a business purpose. This includes a courier, delivery person, salesperson, contractor, or other person providing services or maintenance on the property. Trespassers on private property are barred from suing in some cases. Approximately one-third of homeowners’ insurance claims pertains to a dog bite.
As such, insurance companies paid out more than $310 million in dog bite liability last year, according to the Humane Society of the United States. For a successful claim for compensation, an injured plaintiff must prove a dog owner was negligent. There are four primary elements to prove legal negligence: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
First, you must establish the pet owner owed a legal duty of care to another person. Essentially, every dog owner has an obligation to reasonably look after their pet. Then, you must prove the dog owner breached this duty of care. For example, neglecting to keep their pet on a leash during a walk. Or, failing to restrain the dog at the home when a business or social guest is on the property.
Finally, you must prove the victim suffered an injury and damages. These are easy to prove in a dog bite lawsuit with medical records and photographs.
Defense attorneys and insurance companies often try to use the “provocation defense” to avoid liability. This legal defense attempts to prove that the dog bite victim took some action directed toward the dog to incite the dog to react and bite.
A judge can dismiss a lawsuit in some circumstances based upon this defense. Provocation can be either intentional or unintentional. For example, if a child pulls a dog’s tail this would clearly be an intentional act that could provoke an attack.
However, a child who sneaks up on a dog and inadvertently startles it might be considered an unintentional act of provocation. In addition, the reaction of the dog must be proportionate to the alleged provocation.
There is no “average” or “typical” dog bite settlement. Every dog bite injury case is unique and each settlement amount is based upon several factors, including the:
- Age of the victim
- Sex of the victim
- Location of the dog bites or scratches
- Severity of the dog bites or scratches
- Type of other injuries, like nerve or muscle damage
- Amount and type of medical treatment
- Permanency of any scars and disfigurements
- Psychological and emotional trauma caused by the attack
- Total of medical expenses and lost wages
Additionally, the amount of insurance coverage for the dog owner significantly impacts the compensation payout amount.
The Law Office of John N. Elliott has obtained many significant settlements on behalf of our Clients. Our dog bite lawyer will fully evaluate every factor to get you the highest settlement possible.
In Michigan, the statute of limitations to sue for a dog bite is three years from the date of the bite. This means you must file your lawsuit within three years or in most situations, your claim is forfeited.
If the victim is under the age of 18 at the time of the attack, the deadline is extended to their 19th birthday. So, a child bitten at the age of three can still sue until age 19.
Any claim filed after these deadlines will be dismissed by the court. As such, you should contact a dog bite lawyer immediately to start your case.
YOU PAY NO FEE UNLESS YOU WIN WITH OUR DOG BITE LAWYER
You can have an award-winning personal injury lawyer represent you under a contingency fee agreement. This means there are no legal fees unless and until you get a settlement.
It costs you nothing to start your case. If your case is unsuccessful for some reason, you owe us nothing!
HIRE AN EXPERIENCED MICHIGAN DOG BITE ATTORNEY NOW
If you suffered an injury or incurred medical expenses from a dog bite or dog attack, you need an experienced Michigan dog bite lawyer on your side.
If you deal with the insurance company adjuster directly, you may give statements that later ruin your chances of getting a settlement. Insurance adjusters are trained to record statements that undermine your case.
Our dog bite attorney will evaluate your case and discuss with you the likely settlement award for your case. Research studies show that injury victims with lawyers receive substantially larger settlements than those without an attorney, even after paying the legal fees.
For child dog bite cases, it is necessary to get court permission to settle a case so having an attorney is essential for the victim. To finalize a settlement, the child and parent must appear in court with their attorney so a judge can determine if the child is being fairly compensated in the case.
By hiring a personal injury attorney familiar with these cases, you can focus on your recovery with the knowledge that a caring and aggressive legal professional is on your side.
If you or a loved one was attacked by a dog, contact our Michigan dog bite lawyer to discuss seeking compensation at (248) 451-9600.