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Dog Bite Lawyers Serving Michigan

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Dog biting a mans arm

Usually, when you think of a dog, you picture a cute little furball with its tail wagging, begging to be pet. However, this image is not what everyone pictures when they think of a dog, especially if they have been traumatized by a dog bite.

Did you know that over 4.5 million people in America were bitten by a dog in the previous year? Half of those victims are children. Sadly, a dog attack is not as uncommon as you might expect. Dogs can be ferocious, with bite forces of 743 PSI. To put that in perspective, humans have only 120-160 PSI.

If you or a loved one suffers physical injuries from a dog due to the negligence of a dog owner, you may want to seek compensation for your injury. Contact the experienced Michigan dog bite attorneys at Matz Injury Law at 1-866-22Not33 for a free consultation.

What are the Michigan Dog Bite Laws?

In the State of Michigan, when you get a dog, there is dog owner liability. This means if an animal attack occurs without provocation on private property while invited to be there, liability falls on the dog owner. If on public property, the owner of the dog is still responsible. Either way, Michigan dog owners are strictly liable for any dog attacks made by their pets that cause personal injury.

What Happens if You Get Bit by a Dog in Michigan?

If you or a loved one are bitten or attacked by a dog in Michigan, you want to take immediate steps to protect the injured person. The first step is to clean the wound or seek medical attention once the victim is safely away from the animal. The next step is to immediately contact local animal control and the police department to inform them of the dog attack. Lastly, take photographs of any injuries so you can document them and prove the extent of the bites.

It is also a good idea to call a Michigan dog bite lawyer right away. As a personal injury victim, you have legal rights. You also may be entitled to compensation to cover medical expenses, wage losses, or pain and suffering. Many personal injury attorneys, including Matz Injury Law, offer free consultations to dog bite victims to examine the case and suggest legal courses of action.

Does a Dog Bite Have to Be Reported in Michigan?

When a dog bite occurs in Michigan, it must be reported to authorities within 24 hours. State law requires a dog attack involving bites to also be reported to the local public health agency. Your report must include the location of the bite. The reason why it is necessary to report an animal bite of any kind is due to the chance of exposure to rabies.

Can You Sue for a Dog Bite in Michigan?

Yes, if you suffer a personal injury due to a dog bite in Michigan, you can pursue compensation. Victims of dog attacks typically go through much physical pain and emotional suffering. The following are a few legal grounds utilized for dog bite lawsuits.


A negligence case implies a dog owner has a legal duty to victims and that the owner breached this duty when their pet bit another individual. Cases usually constitute negligence when their dog has shown a history of aggressive traits prior to the dog attack and/or the owner was aware of the dog’s violent tendencies. In some cases, a dog owner can be found liable even if a dog knocks a victim to the ground but does not bite them.

Some city or municipal laws, if broken, can lead to the presumption the dog owner was negligent. Leash laws are a good example. If a dog is permitted to roam free off its leash and knocks someone down, it can be presumed (if a leash law is in effect) that the owner was negligent and responsible for any injuries the dog causes.

Strict Liability

A dog’s owner can be held liable for any damages a victim suffers under specific circumstances. If a victim does not provoke an attack while legally on a property where the injury occurred, the homeowner can still be held liable. This is true even if the dog has a history of demonstrating good behaviors and was not known to bite. If the dog leaves its owner’s property, the owner can still be sued on grounds of strict liability.


This is rarer than other grounds, but an argument can be made based on grounds of battery in instances where an owner uses their dog to intentionally inflict injury on a victim.

How Can I Prove My Dog Bite Case?

Dog barking at people

To prove a dog bite case, you need to prove the animal caused your injury, you were in a lawful place when the dog attacked you, and you did not provoke the dog in any manner to incite the attack. Elements to prove negligence on behalf of the dog owner are:

  • You had the right to be where you were and were not trespassing.
  • A dog bit, scratched, or knocked you down, which led to injury.
  • The dog was not provoked to attack.

Ways to prove your case include: taking photographs of the dog, the bodily injuries, and any surrounding landmarks as soon as possible. Doing so will help establish the facts. In Michigan, it’s important the police or animal control are called and a report of the incident taken. Lastly, getting immediate medical treatment shows how serious the injury is and what the prognosis for recovery will be.

How Long Do I Have to Sue for a Dog Bite in Michigan?

Michigan has a statute of limitations for victims to file a personal injury claim for dog bite injuries. Victims only have three years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit against the liable party. While three years sounds like a long time, it is not.

Victims should make an attempt to file their claim as soon as possible so no evidence goes missing, and there is ample time for an experienced Michigan dog bite lawyer to build a strong case. Either way, it makes sense to always consult with a knowledgeable Michigan personal injury law firm for a free consultation.

Compensation for Dog Bite Injuries in Michigan

If you are injured by a dog bite, you may be eligible to recover economic and non-economic damages in the form of compensation.

Economic Damages

Any actual monetary losses you suffer after a personal injury are referred to as economic damages. These are typically financial losses that are easily calculated, such as medical bills, emergency room visits, surgery costs, reconstructive or plastic surgery, ambulance or medevac services, medications, psychiatrist or psychologist bills, therapy, and other types of rehabilitative services you need.

Future medical care costs are also considered to be economic damages, along with actual losses for your livelihood, such as lost wages and loss of future wages if you cannot return to the level of work you previously were able to perform.

Non-Economic Damages

Damages not easily calculated and without a price tag, but are, nonetheless, still losses from an injury are referred to as non-economic damages. These losses include pain and suffering, trauma associated with disfigurement and/or scarring emotional trauma, emotional distress, TSD, loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment of life, and agony of suffering permanent physical impairment.

Injury claims, especially those under the non-economic damages umbrella, are often rejected by insurance companies. These companies often decide victims exaggerate their injuries in an attempt to collect more compensation. Insurance companies do not prioritize your best interests, their goal is to pay out the lowest amount of money they can get away with in a dog bite settlement. You can expect insurance companies to try to “trick” you into hurting your case. Working with a Michigan personal injury attorney is your best bet because they can deal with the insurance company.

How Long Do Michigan Dog Bite Cases Typically Take to Resolve?

It is hard to predict how long a Michigan dog bite case will take to resolve. Each case is different and is dictated by the circumstances surrounding the injury claim. Dog bite cases can take a decent amount of time, depending on individual case specifics. Generally speaking, a dog bite case can be resolved within one year.

Common Types of Dog Bite Injuries in Michigan

Man with dog bite marks on his wrist

When a dog turns violent and attacks a victim, it can leave a variety of injuries, especially for victims who are young and unable to fight off the dog. Dogs have a strong bite force, with some breeds having a stronger PSI bite force than others. When a dog latches on, it may be difficult for a person to detach away from the dog. The following are a few of the more common types of serious injuries a dog attack victim will sustain.

Broken Bones

Dog bites commonly cause broken bones, especially in the face, neck, and leg areas of the body. Bone fractures are also often linked to dog bites, including the ribs and arms.


Dog bite wounds, even small puncture wounds, can result in infections, including but not limited to rabies, tetanus, and sepsis. It is common for victims to need antibiotics after suffering a bite.

Nerve Damage

Depending on where a dog bite occurs, it can cause nerve damage, including numbness and burning sensations. This type of injury can cause a condition called neurapraxia.

Scars & Disfigurement

Severe dog bites may cause the victim to suffer deep lacerations, causing permanent scarring and/or permanent disfigurement, especially in the facial areas. Some victims lose an eye or experience other deep scarring and need extensive surgery, often not completely repairing the appearance or physical damage to a victim.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Victims of dog attacks often suffer mental anguish, including anxiety and PTSD. These psychological injuries may interfere with daily life and create a fear of dogs.


Rabies is a very serious illness associated with animal bites. After a certain point, rabies is 100% fatal for humans. Statistics indicate that 99% of humans who contract rabies get this disease from dog bites. Vaccinations can 100% alleviate rabies in dogs, but some irresponsible owners do not vaccinate their pets.


If a loved one dies due to injuries suffered from a dog attack, surviving family members may be able to file a lawsuit based on the legal grounds of wrongful death.

Dog bite cases are often complex. If you or a family member is a dog attack victim, it is best to consult with a Michigan dog bite attorney as soon as possible.

Bitten by a Dog While Delivering Packages in Michigan

If you work for a package or food delivery service, you might see more dogs roaming free in the yards of the houses you need to deliver your packages. When a dog is present at the private property to which you are delivering, your job instantly becomes more dangerous.

If you are on the job and within the scope of your employment during the time you are bitten, you may be eligible to file for workers’ compensation. Another route available to you is to potentially bring a lawsuit against a negligent dog owner to recoup some of the damages you have suffered. Speaking with an experienced Michigan personal injury lawyer can help you determine the right course of action to take.

Are Dog Bite Attacks Preventable?

Dog barking at a child

While it may not be in your control whether or not a dog decides to attack you or a loved one, there are steps you can take to decrease the chances of getting bitten.

  • Always be cautious around dogs, especially if they are not known to you or if an owner is not in the vicinity.
  • Learn to be alert to your surroundings and teach children not to touch dogs or pet them.
  • Ask permission from an owner to pet their dog before touching it.
  • Do not interrupt a dog while it is eating, drinking, or caring for its puppies.

If you are confronted by a threatening dog, actions you can take include:

  • Do not try to run away.
  • Remain motionless with your hands at your sides.
  • Talk calmly and firmly if you speak.
  • If a dog attacks, put a bicycle, coat, purse, or other object you are holding between the dog’s mouth and your body.

Once a dog loses interest in you, slowly back away while facing the dog. A good general rule of thumb is to simply stay away from dogs not known to you and be cautious around dogs you do know since all are potentially dangerous.

The Benefits of Hiring a Michigan Dog Bite Lawyer

Victims of dog bites are often left unsure of whether or not they can take any legal action against the dog owner. In many cases, they can. This is why it is always a good idea to speak with a knowledgeable Michigan attorney who will review your case, gather medical records, put a claim together, and handle the insurance company.

If the case heads to court litigation, your lawyer will act on your behalf. A Michigan personal injury firm, like Matz Injury Law, offers free consultations, so if you do not receive compensation, you do not owe anything.

Seeking Damages? Let Us Fight For You.

Sadly, dogs are not always man’s best friend, and it’s not just pit bulls that bite people. Other dogs display viciousness, too. If you or a loved one suffers an injury and would like to pursue a dog bite claim, contact the experienced Michigan dog attack attorneys at Matz Injury Law.

Your needs come first when you work with our law office. Our Michigan dog bite injury lawyers have a long-proven history of fighting for victims. To date, our firm has earned more than $300 million for our personal injury clients.

When you sit down with us, our personal injury lawyers will discuss your claim, including your rights and legal options. Call Matz Injury Law today at 1-866-22Not33 or, if preferable, fill out our convenient online contact form to schedule a free consultation.

Recent Settlements

$4.15 Million Settlement in Washtenaw County

$4,150,000 settlement on behalf of the family of a college student who was killed in a traffic crash while riding a motorcycle. The settlement came from three different insurance companies.

$3.45 Million Settlement In Genesee County

$3.45 million settlement against a cement company whose truck crossed a center line causing three deaths and severely injuring a 4 year-old boy. The settlement was $450,000 in excess of available insurance.

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$1.74 million settlement against a 19 year-old driver and the fraternity where he was drinking immediately prior to a head on collision that killed a 52 year-old husband and father of 3 children.

$1.3 Million Settlement In Monroe County

$1.3 million Federal District Court settlement on behalf of a mother and daughter in a car/truck collision. Mom suffered a pancreas injury but returned to full-time employment within six months; eight year old daughter suffered an aggravation of a pre-existing learning disability as well as a ruptured spleen.

$1 Million Settlement In Gravel

$1 million settlement for a 52 year-old woman in a rural county who broke both ankles and suffered a retrobulbar hemorrhage of her right eye after being struck by a gravel truck.

$1,000,000 Settlement for Rear-end Accident

Matz Injury Law obtained a $1,000,000 settlement for a woman in Northern Michigan who fractured both ankles as a result of being rear-ended by a gravel truck.

$3,450,000 Settlement From Commercial Vehicle Accident

A settlement of $3,450,000 for a family who lost loved ones as a result of an inattentive cement truck driver.

$100,000 Uninsured Motorist Settlement In Detroit

$100,000 uninsured motorist settlement (policy limit) for family of passenger killed in Detroit in suspected joyriding incident.

$1,000,000 Million Settlement In Oakland County Negligence Case

$1 million settlement on behalf of a 60 year-old woman with a mild closed head injury due to County Road Commission negligence.

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$950,000 settlement on behalf of the mother of a young boy who died while a passenger in a one-vehicle crash.

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$750,000 to the family of a passenger killed in a collision on an icy road.

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$285,000 settlement on behalf of a 52 year-old woman who suffered from fibromyalgia after hurting her shin resulting from an auto injury.

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