Dog and Animal Bites
While not a prevalent as the number of car accidents, in the United States millions of people per year (many of whom are children) are bitten by dogs. Approximately one out of every six bites will require some sort of medical attention. If you or your child has been bitten or attacked by a dog or another animal in Michigan, it's important to know and exercise your legal rights.
Our Grand Rapids dog bite lawyers understand Michigan's dog owner liability laws. A dog's owner can be liable for all medical expenses and property damages, unless:
- The bite occurred as a result of trespassing onto the owner's property
- The animal was provoked
If your situation was not related to provocation or trespass, you are entitled to financial compensation for your injuries and expenses.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
Our experienced Grand Rapids dog bite attorneys have helped countless individuals pursue compensation for all types of dog bite injuries, including:
- Puncture wounds
- Nerve damage
- Facial injuries
- Broken bones
- Torn scalps and ears
Breeds of Commonly Aggressive Dogs
While any dog can become aggressive and bite, the following breeds are viewed to be the most aggressive:
- Pit Bull
- German Shepherd
Don't Feel Guilty About Filing a Lawsuit
You shouldn't feel guilty, bad or conflicted about requiring a friend, relative, neighbor—or complete stranger—to pay for your injuries. The reason is because in most situations, settlements and judgments are covered by the dog owner's insurance policies, not the individual animal owner.
Our experienced lawyers can step in and handle the legal and insurance aspects of your case, so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.
Know Your Rights
Know your rights before speaking with an insurance company. Remember, the insurance company is working for the benefit of themselves and the dog owner, not for you. The insurance adjuster's goal is to reduce or eliminate your claim. They may try to blame you for provoking the animal, whether intentional or not. Their initial settlement offer (if there is one) is typically very low. For these reasons, it is best to retain a dog bite lawyer who works on your behalf and who is prepared to litigate if the insurance company is unwilling to settle your case for a fair value.
Frequently Asked Questions
We've put together some of the most frequently asked questions that our clients have asked us. If you have a question that is not answered here, please contact us.
- Identify the dog and the dog’s owner. This is crucial because your claim must be made against the dog’s owner, since it is the dog owner’s home insurance company who will be responsible for paying your injury compensation.
- Get the names and addresses of any witnesses to the attack.
- Make sure to take pictures of the dog bite injury.
- Seek medical attention. Dog bites are prone to infection and must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
- Report the dog bite to the appropriate government agency such as animal control or a law enforcement agency.
- Finally, make sure to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after suffering the injury so that the proper steps can be taken to begin preparing your case.
- Don't wait to get medical treatment if you are at all injured.
- Don't try to deal with the owner's insurance company yourself. They are good at what they do, which is to either try to deny your claim or offer you a low-ball settlement offer. In fact, we don't recommend speaking with the insurance company at all until you first speak with a qualified dog bite personal injury lawyer. The reason is because things you say to the insurance adjuster early on can affect your ability to receive a settlement later.
The dog's owner is responsible, unless you trespassed onto the owner's property or provoked the animal. However, in most cases it is not the dog owner individually who actually pays the medical expenses and property damages. Rather, the dog owner's home insurance company does.
We highly recommend speaking with one of our lawyers before speaking with an insurance company or considering any settlement offer. Typically the insurance company involved in the case will do its best to lower its obligation to pay. They may even attempt to prove you were the fault of the attack by saying you provoked the animal in some manner. Our lawyers have dealt with insurance companies before. We know their tricks and how to fight them or avoid them altogether.
You don't pay us out of your pocket to handle your case. Instead, we take a percentage of the settlement funds once a settlement is reached.