Michigan dog bites can cause extensive injuries which require costly rehabilitation. In some tragic cases, dog bites can even result in death.
Large breed dogs, such as Pit Bulls, Pit Bull mixes, Dobermans and Rottweilers have the worst reputations, though many owners swear it's all about how they are raised. There is likely truth to this, but the reality is these dogs have innately more power than smaller breeds. A bite from a Pit Bull is inevitably going to cause more profound damage than a bite from a Jack Russell Terrier, even if it was shown the two dogs bit people with equal regularity.
Mich. Comp. Laws Ann., sec. 287.351 holds dog owners in Michigan accountable for injuries caused when their dog bites someone, assuming the dog was not provoked. It doesn't matter if the dog showed previous signs of aggression.
Consult with a Macomb County dog bite attorney as soon as possible after an attack in order to identify and protect your legal rights.
Dog Bite Statistics
The Canine Journal reports that approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States every year. While 80 percent of these bites cause only minor injuries, approximately 900,000 of these bites become infected. Dogsbite.org reports on research found the average cost of a hospital stay related to a dog bite to be $18,200. This is about 50 percent higher than the average cost of hospitalization for other injuries.
Dog bites also appear to occur more frequently in Michigan than in other states. According to WNDU, State Farm claims statistics show that Michigan had the sixth-highest number of dog bite claims out of all states. 162 claims resulted in $3.9 million in payments. This averages more than $24,000 per claim, and again demonstrates just how devastating and costly a dog bite injury can be.
How to Reduce the Odds of Being Injured by a Dog Bite
The Canine Journal also offers tips on how to safely interact with dogs in order to reduce the chances of being bitten. First, do not approach an unfamiliar animal. Running, shouting, and other loud noises can startle a dog who is not familiar with a person and cause it to bite.
Do not make movements or noises when an unfamiliar dog approaches you. Allow a dog to sniff and smell you before attempting to pet it. You should then scratch the dog under the chin, not on the head. Dogs are protective of certain activities. This, too, can make them more likely to bite.
Never disturb a dog while it is eating, sleeping, or taking care of its puppies. Play can also result in a bite if it becomes too aggressive. Use caution when playing with a dog. Never let its play expose you or others to the risk of being bitten or attacked.
When dog bites do occur, an owner can be legally responsible for the victim’s injuries. This is why many homeowners' insurance policies cover dog bites. Some dogs, however, are especially prone to vicious behaviors. Many insurance carriers will not offer homeowners insurance coverage to owners of certain dog breeds, regardless of whether that particular dog has aggressive tendencies.
Michigan dog bite victims should consult with a Macomb County personal injury attorney in order to protect their legal rights. An attorney can help identify who was liable for a dog attack, find sources of compensation, guide injury victims through the claims process and help you decide whether to accept a settlement offer or file a lawsuit.