It's About Justice

A leading medical malpractice and personal injury law firm for people
harmed through negligence.

  1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Personal Injury
  4.  » Do you understand Michigan’s “strict liability” for dog bites?

Do you understand Michigan’s “strict liability” for dog bites?

On Behalf of | Sep 6, 2023 | Personal Injury

Dogs are referred to as “man’s best friend” for a reason. These fluffy canines provide companionship, ease stress and help their owners become more active. But, just like other animals, dogs can be unpredictable. If threatened or provoked, dogs can bite and cause serious injuries. 

If you are attacked and hurt by someone’s dog in a public area or while you are lawfully on their property, you may pursue the dog owner for damages through a premises liability lawsuit. To file a successful claim, however, it helps to understand how the works. 

Understanding the doctrine of strict liability

Michigan is one of the states that applies the “strict liability” doctrine when it comes to dog bite claims. This doctrine exonerates the plaintiff from proving that the dog owner was at fault. Rather, you only need to prove the following elements if you are attacked and hurt by someone’s dog:

  • That the defendant owned or was handling the dog at the time of the attack
  • That the attack happened while you were in a public area or if you were lawfully in the defendant’s property
  • That you sustained specific injuries following the attack

It’s important to understand that strict liability is different from the “one bite” rule that is applicable in other states.

So, what kind of evidence do you need to build your dog bite claim?

Whereas the burden of proof in strict liability states is much lower, you still need to build a strong case against the plaintiff. Simply claiming that their dog attacked you is never enough. Here are some of the pieces of evidence you need to present to maximize your compensation amount:

  • Medical reports that describe the nature and extent of your injuries as well as their treatment costs
  • Photographs of the attack
  • Eyewitness account
  • Dog attack incident report

A dog attack can leave you with serious injuries. It can also leave you with serious infections. Understanding how Michigan dog bite laws work can help you assert your rights while pursuing damages. 


FindLaw Network