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Personal Injury Cases in the News: Dog Bite Cases

Personal Injury Cases in the News:

Dog Bite Cases


     A good discussion of the law of dog bite cases is found in Hill v. Sacks, 256 Mich App 443 (2003). In that case, Plaintiff’s young child was awarded a judgment by a jury in Monroe County, Michigan. This judgment was reviewed by and affirmed (agreed to) by the Michigan Court of Appeals.


     The case was brought pursuant to the so-called dog bite statute, MCL 287.351. The Court of Appeals noted that the statute creates almost absolute liability against the owner of a dog for a bite unless the owner can establish “provocation.” Where the animal is not provoked the owner may not successfully argue that the injured person was partly to blame or what judges call comparative fault. In other words — unless there is provocation the victim’s comparative fault will not count as damages. Therefore, the Court of Appeals denied the owner’s appeal and held:


“Similarly, we conclude that the dog-bite statute does not allow for consideration of any comparative negligence on the part of the dog-bite victim, excluding possibly where the negligence may relate to the defense of provocation. The dog-bite statute by its clear and unequivocal language does not allow consideration of any negligence or fault, as that term is generally used, on the part of the owner of the dog. If the other considerations contained in the dog-bite statute are satisfied, there i no liability where provocation exists, and there is liability where provocation is lacking.” Bradacs, supra at 267.

If you or a loved one have suffered an injury from a dog, or other animal, you may have a remedy in court for monetary compensation. Guy Vining of the Vining Law Group, PLC has represented a dozen or more victims of animal attacks with settlements ranging from $15,000 to more than $300,000. Please feel free to call Guy Vining for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights.

[Guy Vining practices personal injury law from his Metro-Detroit office in Taylor, Michigan. He has represented clients in personal injury actions for over 25 years in such areas as: car, boat, motorcycle, and truck accidents; slip, trip, and falls including black ice and defective design; medical and dental malpractice, denial of insurance benefits for wages, medical and home assistance to automobile accident victims.]