The Legal Rights of a Dog Bite Victim: What You Need to Know

Woman with her aggressive dog walking outdoors, closeup concept for blog

Under Michigan law, a dog bite victim has the right to financial compensation in most circumstances. The only exception is if the dog was provoked.

Compensation for a dog bite victim can include payment of medical expenses, lost wages, and the cost of plastic surgery for scar revision or reduction. A victim of a dog attack may also be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering and the cost of psychological treatment for emotional trauma experienced because of a dog bite. Many bite victims suffer emotional trauma, nightmares, and fears about being near animals that bite. This psychological trauma can significantly impact the mental health of a dog attack victim and impair their ability to lead a normal life.

Common Injuries Suffered in Dog or Animal Bites

An animal bite is a scary and traumatic event. The physical injuries can be severe, and the psychological trauma can last a lifetime. Common injuries in dog bite cases include:

  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Puncture wounds
  • Scratches
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Infections
  • Fractures and broken bones
  • Rabies
  • Nerve damage
  • Psychological trauma

An experienced dog bite lawyer at Muth Law, P.C., can help if you are injured in a dog attack.

Michigan Imposes Strict Liability in Dog Bite Cases

Many states have dog bite negligence laws. Michigan does not. Instead, Michigan imposes strict liability in dog bite cases, placing almost absolute liability on dog owners. If a dog attacks someone without provocation on public or private property, even the property of the dog owner, the dog owner is liable for any injuries suffered by the dog bite victim.

Under Michigan law, provocation is the only defense in a dog bite case. Provocation is defined as “something that provokes” the dog by inciting, angering, or irritating it. Provocation does not need to be intentional. Even an unintentional act can provoke a hostile response in a dog. But proving provocation in dog bite cases can be difficult, especially if there were no witnesses.

Despite Michigan’s strict liability laws in dog bite cases, you may have been denied compensation after a dog bite injury. A dog bite lawyer from Muth Law can evaluate your situation and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Proving Liability in Dog Bite Cases

To obtain compensation for a bite victim, your dog bite lawyer must prove:

  • Injuries to the dog bite victim were caused by the bite;
  • The dog bite victim did not provoke the dog; and
  • The victim was in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the dog owner, when the dog bite occurred.

To qualify for protection under Michigan’s strict liability dog bite law, the injury must be due to a dog bite and not some other behavior by the dog. For example, if you were on a public sidewalk and the dog ran out of the owner’s yard and knocked you down, strict liability does not apply. However, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries by showing that the dog owner was negligent and did not use reasonable care in controlling the dog.

Muth Law Fights for Dog Bite Victim Rights

If you or someone you love was attacked by a canine, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help. Contact Muth Law today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your dog bite case. We will listen as you tell us about your injuries, and we will answer your questions based on over 35 years of serving Michigan as a dog bite lawyer.

To contact Muth Law, call 734-481-8800, email us at, or complete our online form. We look forward to helping you and your family.

Categories: Dog & Animal Bites