The dog bite lawyers at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. get compensation and settlements for victims in cases throughout the entire State of Michigan. We help you win the highest possible dog bite settlement for your case.
Our dog bite injury lawyers represent children, adults, postal workers, service providers, and utility workers. We can help you if you or someone you care about suffered injuries in a dog attack. We get our clients to top dog bite settlement awards in Michigan.
Many times, the person who is bitten by the dog is a friend, relative, or neighbor of the dog owner. While his may present an uncomfortable situation, we assure everyone involved that our intent is only to seek a settlement from the homeowner’s insurance company for the dog owner. This reduces the strain on a good relationship and prevents potential bad feelings amongst friends and family in the future.
Dog Bite Prevention
While no one can ensure that they are not attacked by a dog, there are certain measures that a person could take to increase their likelihood of avoiding a bite. For example, a person can be cautious around strange dogs, especially any who look unfriendly.
Furthermore, a person should try to be alert and aware of their surroundings, and teach the same to their children. Also, asking an owner for permission to pet a dog before doing so may also help to avoid suffering a bite.
After sustaining a dog bite, a victim may feel overwhelmed and frightened. Of course, seeking medical attention should be a person’s number one priority. However, getting a dog owner’s name and contact information is also important for a future claim. Additionally, requesting proof of a dog rabies vaccination could help to determine if a person needs medical attention to treat a disease.
What to Do After a Dog Bite
If you or someone you care about was bitten or attacked by a dog in Michigan, you should take the following steps:
- Place a clean towel over the injury to stop any bleeding.
- Try to keep the injured area elevated.
- Wash the bite carefully with soap and water.
- Apply a sterile bandage to the wound.
- Get prompt medical attention at a hospital, urgent care clinic, or doctor’s office
- Notify Animal Control or the Police Department and file a written report
- Take photographs of the injuries as soon as possible after the dog bite
- Contact our experienced dog bite attorneys to see if you are eligible for a settlement
Bitten by a Neighbor or Relative’s Dog
Despite what some people believe after being bitten by a relative’s dog, they do have legal rights to sue. Although this may create a strained relationship within the family, they should both be aware that the homeowner’s insurance company may pay for a settlement. If this is the case, this would mean that the dog owner does not have to pay any type of compensation out-of-pocket.
Similarly, a person who is bitten by a friend or neighbor’s dog also has legal rights. Naturally, this can present an uncomfortable situation between two neighbors—animosity often begins immediately after the attack, especially if the pet owner is unapologetic or relatively unconcerned about the situation. In fact, the owner will often blame the victim for causing a bite.
Approximately 61% of dog bites or attacks happen at home or in a familiar place, according to the Humane Society of the United States. In addition, roughly 77% of the biting dogs reportedly belong to the victim’s family or a friend.
Usually, the only defense the dog owner might have in these types of cases is to claim that the victim either provoked the attack or was a trespasser on the property. Often, the homeowner insurance company of the dog owner will pay a settlement to the victim. Because a person seeking compensation does not have to request payment directly from a neighbor, it may help to mitigate the inherent discomfort of the situation.
Contrary to what many people believe, the insurance company does not request that the family give away their pet and cannot legally make such a demand. Therefore, if both neighbors or friends act in a civil manner after the attack, they can still maintain their relationship after the victim is fairly compensated for the dog bite injuries.
Attacks on Fed-Ex and UPS Drivers
Federal Express (Fed-Ex) and United Parcel Service (UPS) drivers are often the victims of dog bite attacks while delivering packages to their customers. This frequently occurs when drivers leave their trucks to drop off packages at homes and businesses. They become vulnerable to unrestrained and unleashed canines.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, approximately 3,000 dog bite victims are mail carriers.
When this happens, a Fed-Ex driver or UPS deliveryman has two potential options for pursuing legal action based on state law. The first is to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, which is often applicable when a driver was on duty during an attack. These claims could grant the delivery driver wage loss benefits during their period of disability from an attack, as well as medical expense benefits for all treatment related to their injuries. When a negligent pet owner is responsible for an attack, they might be responsible for repaying the workers’ compensation benefits that were paid out by the insurer
The second claim is filed against the dog owner for pain and suffering damages resulting from the incident. Dog attacks often result in significant scarring, disfigurement, and bone fractures. As a result, a civil claim requests compensation for mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and other non-economic damages stemming from a canine attack. A dog bite lawyer in Michigan could help to explain the legal options available to a Fed-Ex or UPS driver after an attack.
The bar graph below displays the list of dog breeds with the most powerful bite, based on pounds per square inch (PSI).
Pitbulls are considered one of the most dangerous dog breeds to own. While this is not strictly true, dog bites involving pit bulls are common. Pitbulls are incredibly strong, which means an attack or bite is often devastating and can result in permanent scarring, disfigurement, and even death.
However, these occurrences have more to do with the negligent or abusive training methods—or neglect—of a pet owner, than they do with the inherent nature of a pit bull. As a result, anyone injured by a pit bull should consider hiring a skillful dog bite lawyer in order to determine how a pet owner’s negligent or abusive behavior resulted in an attack.
The pie graph below depicts the percentage of fatalities from pit bull attacks in each state. Texas and California had more than 25% of all pit bull fatalities in the United States from 1982-2018. Michigan, meanwhile, accounted for approximately 3.89% of all pit bull fatalities in the U.S.
The most common and typical injuries seen by our dog bite injury lawyers after a dog attack are:
- Puncture wounds
- Pain and suffering
- Disfigurement resulting from scars
- Bone fractures
- Nerve damage
In addition to physical injuries, a dog bite victim often suffers from psychological damages as well. These psychological damages can include but are not limited to, nightmares, post-traumatic stress syndrome, humiliation and embarrassment.
A Dog Bite to the Face
Dog bites to the face are a common injury. Even with prompt medical treatment, these bites often leave permanent scars and disfigurements. These cases have significant settlement value because they are in a conspicuous place and many victims are self-conscious about a facial scar.
Many victims look to plastic surgeons for scar repairs and revisions. For children bitten in the face, they often have to wait until their teenage years for plastic surgery. As a result, they go through much of their childhood and adolescence with an embarrassing scar prominently on their face. Even with plastic surgery, most scars cannot be completely eliminated.
Getting Compensated For Dog Bites
Under Michigan law, a dog bite victim has the legal right to compensation for injuries suffered in the attack under most circumstances. Compensation can include payment of medical expenses, lost wages, and the cost of future plastic surgery for scar revision or scar reduction.
The victim is also entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, fright and shock, and other psychological injuries as a result of the attack. The victim should also receive a settlement payout for any scars and disfigurements from the dog bite attack.
Medical costs related to dog bites are second only to the medical costs for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). As such, hospital expenses for dog bite-related emergency room visits are estimated at $102 million each year, according to the Humane Society.
Suing For a Dog Attack
You can sue for a dog bite in Michigan if you were bitten by a dog and suffered an injury. This includes attacks on your property, public property, and on the property of the dog owner if you were lawfully on the property. Being lawfully on the property means that you were a guest of the property or you were there for a business purpose, such as a courier, delivery person, salesperson, contractor, or other person providing services or maintenance on the property.
One in three homeowners’ insurance claims pertains to a dog bite. As such, insurance companies paid out an estimated $310 million in dog bite liability last year, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
For a successful claim for compensation, an injured plaintiff must be able to demonstrate that a dog owner was negligent in their care. There are four primary elements to prove legal negligence: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. First, it must be established that a pet owner owed a legal duty of care to another person—essentially, every dog owner has an obligation to reasonably look after their pet. Therefore, it must then be proven that a dog owner breached this care of duty by, for example, neglecting to keep their pet on a leash while walking them.
Next, it has to be proven that this neglect of duty led to a dog biting or otherwise attacking the plaintiff’s—and that this attack led to their injuries and subsequent damages. Legally proving negligence under state law often requires an extensive and thorough understanding of the legal system, meaning a victim of a dog bite may benefit from working with a tenacious and hardworking attorney to demonstrate a pet owner was at fault.
In Michigan, the statute of limitations sets a three-year time limit from the date of a dog bite attack wherein a victim may file a claim for compensation. If the victim is under the age of 18 at the time of the attack, the deadline is extended to the 19th birthday. Any claim filed after these deadlines will likely be dismissed by the court.
The Need for an Experienced Michigan Dog Bite Attorney
If you suffered an injury and incurred medical expenses from a dog attack, you will need an experienced lawyer on your side.
If you deal with the insurance company adjuster directly, you may give statements that will later ruin your chances of getting a settlement. Insurance adjusters are trained to get victims to make statements that ultimately destroy their own case.
Our attorneys will evaluate your case and discuss with you the likely settlement award for your case. Research studies show that injury victims with lawyers receive substantial larger settlements than those without an attorney, even after paying the legal fees. For child dog bite cases, it is necessary to get court permission to settle a case so having an attorney is essential for the victim.
If you or a loved one was attacked by a dog, consider reaching out to a seasoned Michigan dog bite lawyer to discuss seeking compensation. By enlisting an attorney who is familiar with navigating state law, you could focus on your recovery with the knowledge that a caring legal professional is on your side.
Michigan Dog Bite References and Resources