Michigan Dog Bite Laws: What if My Dog has Never Bitten Before?
Take a look at the Michigan dog liability statute:
287.351 Person bitten by dog; liability of owner.
(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 Michigan, it doesn’t matter if your dog has a history of violent behavior such as biting. Assuming the attack occurred in a lawfully public or private place, you’re liable under a theory known as strict liability.
An example of lawful entry onto someone’s property is a person licensed or summoned to inspect your gas line, measure your property or fix a leak in your basement. The only time you don’t need to worry about your dog biting someone is under the limited circumstance that someone unlawfully enters your premises to commit a criminal act. Otherwise, you’re liable to compensate for the injuries your dog inflicts on a person by biting.
Goodwin & Scieszka has been handling Detroit and Metro Detroit dog bite cases for over 30 years. If you’ve been bitten and are seriously injured, contact our firm and let us help you get the recovery you deserve. You don’t pay us unless we we win for you.