The strict liability of dog bite injuries in Michigan is well-established. For a long time, people have already known that once they own a dog, they are responsible for all of the actions that the dog will take.
The strict owner liability is reflected in Mich. Comp. Laws Ann., sec. 287.351 which provides the liability of the owner for a person bitter by their dog, to wit:
287.351 Person bit by a dog; liability of the 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 an unlawful or criminal act.
Defenses of the Owner
If you own a dog, you do not have a lot of defenses that you can rely on in case the person who got bitten by your dog is suing.
Dog owners are limited to two defenses.
- When the person suing provoked the dog to bite him; or
- When the person suing was a trespasser at the time of the incident.
Are you negligent?
In Michigan case law, negligence can come in many forms and it is considered a significant ground for an individual to become liable for a dog bite. Negligence does not mean that you are negligent in the welfare of your dog that caused him to attack people, negligence means that you are negligent to a fault that you failed to follow laws that aim to promote the welfare and rights of dogs and dog owners.
Some laws that you should take note of are the following:
- Michigan leash law;
- Michigan animal control law; and
- Michigan dog licensing laws.
There is a lot more that you should know about the Michigan dog bite and dog liability law. We will continue our discussions in the coming articles on personal injury.
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