Usually, man’s best friend is gentle, trustworthy, and predictable. We must never forget that no matter what, they are still instinctual animals. They may resort to those instincts by attacking or biting if they feel frightened or threatened. When this happens, dog attack and bite victims can suffer immensely from the dog bite itself and ensuing complications.
If a dog bite or attack you recently injured you or someone you love, an experienced Bloomfield Hills dog bite lawyer can help you.
At Michigan Injury Lawyers, you can meet with a member of our legal team for free to find out if you have a personal injury claim worth pursuing, how much your claim might be worth, and what you should do next. The steps you take after a dog bite or attack can significantly affect the success of your claim. Contacting an attorney as soon as possible is in your best interest.
About Michigan Injury Lawyers
At Michigan Injury Lawyers, we have been fighting for injured victims and their families since 2008. With numerous decades of experience, our goal is to help you get your life back after suffering a personal injury.
We understand Michigan personal injury laws and can often secure a full and fair settlement on your behalf without going to trial. However, if a trial becomes necessary, we are fierce advocates for your rights in the courtroom, unafraid of insurance companies who don’t play fair.
When you hire one of our Bloomfield Hills dog bite lawyers to represent your case, you aren’t just another number to us. We know the pain and stress you and your family members endure, and we have the knowledge and experience to take care of you. Contact our office today to schedule your complimentary dog bite case consultation.
Do You Have a Dog Bite Case?
According to a study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur in the U.S. annually, and 800,000 of those bites result in the need for medical care. This means a dog bites one out of every 73 people in the U.S. every year. These are undoubtedly scary statistics.
Under Michigan dog bite laws, dog owners or handlers have strict liability when their animal bites or injures someone.
Strict liability means the dog’s owner controls and contains the dog in all circumstances. There is no one-bite rule.
In Michigan, if the dog bites or otherwise injures another party, liability is on the owner as long as:
- The victim didn’t provoke the dog
- The victim was bitten on public property or while lawfully on private property
It’s worth noting that trespassers bitten by canines in this state typically aren’t eligible to recover compensation for their damages.
Other circumstances that might void the ability to pursue a legal claim include:
- The dog was protecting its owner or another party under Michigan’s self-defense statutes
- The animal was a police or military dog being used correctly per the respective agency’s written policy
Even if you think these circumstances apply in your case, it’s still wise to contact a Bloomfield Hills dog bite attorney to discuss the situation. You don’t want to take the chance that you are entitled to monetary damages but don’t pursue them.
Strict liability means that the injured party isn’t required to prove that the dog had a history of biting or dangerous behavior or that the dog’s owner was negligent. On the other hand, if a dog previously bit someone, the law does enforce an extra duty of care on its owner. These owners are legally obligated to take all reasonable steps to protect other individuals from being bitten. If they don’t, the victim should hire a skilled Bloomfield Hills dog bite attorney to represent them.
Potential Complications from a Dog Bite
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that nearly one in five dog bite victims will need medical treatment after a dog bite.
- Crushing injuries
Approximately 5 to 25 percent of dog bite wounds will develop infections. Infections can increase the risk of hospitalization, scarring, and pain. They also increase their healing time. The risk of infection increases for deeper bite wounds, wounds with suspected joint involvement, wounds with swelling, and wounds on the hands, feet, face, and genitals.
In addition, individuals with an impaired immune response, such as the very young, very old, or those with diabetes or who are undergoing chemotherapy, are at a higher risk for infections after a dog bite.
Sometimes the culprit germ comes from the victim’s natural skin flora, and sometimes it comes from the mouth of the dog.
Common causes of infection after a dog bite includes:
In many cases, patients will be started on prophylactic antibiotics to help reduce the risk of infection. Sometimes dog bites are not sutured to prevent enclosing germs in the wound. Infections can significantly increase the cost and healing time of a dog bite, and you should discuss this with a Bloomfield Hills dog bite attorney.
Depending on the health and vaccination history of the dog who bit you, you might be at risk for developing rabies. This severe viral infection impacts the central nervous system and can cause death within only a few days. Although most humans receive vaccinations against tetanus, their effectiveness can wane, allowing dog bites to cause this disease.
Scarring and Disfigurement
Dog bites not only break the skin, but they can damage muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Some of these injuries will require dozens of sutures or staples to close. The more extensive the dog bite injury is, the higher the chance that the victim will suffer from scarring or disfigurement.
Those that have become infected are also at a higher risk. Despite excellent care from plastic surgeons and other specialists, dog bites are notorious for leaving scars. In some instances, the victim may require amputation of digits or an appendage.
Along with damaging skin and muscles, dog bites can also cause nerve damage. This type of injury can cause temporary or permanent loss of feeling and movement in the affected areas or body parts. Sometimes victims cannot return to work or participate in the activities they once enjoyed due to long-term nerve damage.
Emotional Problems and Fears
Physical scars are not the only type of scars injured individuals might have to deal with. Depending on their age at the time of the bite and other circumstances, some victims will live with emotional scars for quite some time. They may have a fear of all dogs and even suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
PTSD symptoms after a dog bite include:
- Trigger events such as seeing a dog or being in the same place their dog attack occurred
- Selective memory repression
- Refusal to discuss the attack
- Irrational sense of blame or guilt
- Isolation and disengagement
- Difficulty sleeping
- Constantly feeling on edge
- Easily startled
If the victim was a child, they may act out their attack, become clingy with their caregivers, wet the bed, or exhibit other regressive behaviors. Some victims may require extensive and expensive psychotherapy to help recover from the PTSD or other emotional scars left behind after their dog bite. An experienced Bloomfield Hills dog bite lawyer can help you pursue compensation for your emotional recovery after a dog bite.
Bloomfield Hills Dog Bite FAQs
What About Other Types of Injuries from Dogs?
People injured by a canine but not bitten will generally have to prove that the owner was negligent leading up to their injury. For instance, suppose a dog jumped up on someone, knocking them over and causing a concussion.
The victim will need to prove that the owner was aware or should have reasonably known that their dog can be a danger to someone else. They must also show that the owner didn’t take any necessary or reasonable actions to prevent others from getting hurt.
However, if the dog’s owner or handler broke any state or local statutes meant to benefit public health or safety, Michigan’s negligence per se law can automatically make them negligent. A seasoned Bloomfield Hills dog bite attorney can help those injured by dogs prove their case.
How Long Do You Have to File a Lawsuit After Sustaining a Dog Bite?
The statute of limitations is a law that refers to a time deadline for filing a lawsuit. Each state has its own statute of limitations, which can vary between types of cases. In Michigan, dog bites and other animal-related injuries generally have a three-year statute of limitations.
This three-year period begins on the date of the bite or attack. If the bite victim doesn’t file their legal claim within the deadline, they usually can’t recover damages. Unfortunately, this is true even if the injured individual cannot identify the dog’s owner during this period but does so later on.
When dog bite victims hire a Bloomfield Hills dog bite lawyer from our firm, they can rest assured that the attorney is taking every action to file their claim on time. Therefore, you must contact an attorney as soon as possible to protect your legal rights and options and to increase the chances of a better outcome in your case.
What Damages Can Michigan Dog Bite Victims Claim?
Being bitten by a dog is one of the most physically and emotionally traumatic experiences someone can have. As such, victims are entitled to seek damages under Michigan laws. Damages are the financial expression of the consequences of a personal injury claim that deserves monetary recovery.
Economic damages can include:
- Medical and surgical expenses
- Medical equipment
- Lost wages and income
- Damaged clothing or other property
- Legal fees
Depending on the severity of the bite, the victim may have extremely high medical bills. They (or if the victim was a child, their parents) might have to be away from work for some time.
Compensation for legal fees and damages done to the victim’s clothes, jewelry, or other property is also necessary since the ordeal is not the victim’s fault to begin with. Dog bite victims can determine what they should receive in economic damages by adding these expenses together and discussing their claim with a Bloomfield Hills dog bite lawyer.
Calculating or predicting non-economic damages is often more challenging. Non-economic damages do not depend on factors with a predetermined value.
Instead, non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
When Should You Contact a Bloomfield Hills Dog Bite Lawyer?
After receiving a dog bite that left a wound, you must receive immediate and proper medical treatment.
Once you have done so, reach out to a Bloomfield Hills dog bite attorney. Just as you trust your medical team to help fix your injuries and bring you back to the best health possible, you can trust an attorney to do all they can to help your legal and financial situation. Our firm has helped many dog bite victims recover damages from their injuries, allowing them some relief from financial and other stressors. Let us help you.
For your free consultation, contact Michigan Injury Lawyers by calling (313) 438-4357 or sending us a message online today. Don’t attempt to navigate this difficult situation on your own; our experienced Bloomfield Hills personal injury attorneys are waiting to hear from you and help you.
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