The word from the legal world

Dog Bite Liability in Michigan

Generally, a dog owner in Michigan is strictly liable for a dog bite that occurs regardless of whether it occurs on the premises of the dog owner..

Michigan law states:

“If a dog bites a person, without provocation, while the person is on public property, or lawfully on private property, including the property of the owner of the dog, the owner of the dog shall be liable for any damages suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog, or the owners knowledge of such viciousness”

What Compensation Can I Receive Following a Dog Bite?

The homeowners insurance company for the dog owner shall be responsible for any pain, suffering, fright, shock, embarrassment, humiliation, depression, anxiety, stress, as well as any disfigurement that may occur as a result of the dog bite (this includes permanent scarring). Additionally, a person who is bitten by a dog can receive compensation for lost wages, medical care and treatment, as well as any anticipated future medical care and treatment including potential surgeries that arise out of the dog bite.

What are the Potential Defenses Free Dog Owner in a Dog Bite Case?

There are two major defenses in a dog bite case:

The first defense is TRESPASS. If a person is unlawfully upon the premises, the dog owner is no longer strictly liable for the dog bite. However, a person who has permission or implied permission to enter your premises, or to be on your property, the person will still be afforded non-trespassers status. As an example, a person delivering a package has the implied permission to enter onto the property. Furthermore, a jogger has the implied permission to jog or walk on the sidewalk in front of the property. However, a child who jumps a fence to retrieve a ball on another individual’s property does not have permission to enter that property, and the owner of the dog will not be held strictly liable under that circumstance.

The second defense is PROVOCATION. If an individual provoked a dog by abusing it, poking at it or otherwise teasing it, the dog owner will not be held strictly liable for the dog bite that occurred as a result. Additionally, taking food away for interfering with food eating for a dog may be considered provocation under the law.

An insurance company will often attempt to use the provocation defense when there are no witnesses to the bite.  It is for this reason that it is important to canvass the area of the bite for any potential security cameras or ring doorbell cameras to help prove your case.

How to get Compensated for Your Dog Bite?

In order to obtain compensation, for your dog bite, you must know the identity of the owner of the dog. It is important to write down an address of where the dog came from, and to obtain witness statements from anyone who may have seen the dog bite. It is also important to call the police and have an animal control or police report made. The official animal control or police report will be key evidence for your case.  Additionally, the police will speak to the dog owner and obtain their statement which also can be used at a later date in your lawsuit.

It is important to take pictures of the wounds from the dog bite. Create a photo story of your wound care/healing over the course of time. It is important to take photos at regular intervals so that the healing process can be documented for later use in your lawsuit. These photos will help the insurance company or jury appreciate the level of pain that you went through as a result of your dog bite.

Dog Bites to USPS, UPS, FED EX, Amazon, Pizza or Other Delivery Drivers

Persons who deliver food or packages to home and businesses are afforded the same protections as anyone else under Michigan Law.  Dog owners will be held strictly liable for injuries that arise out of the dog bite including bite wounds or injuries that occur during the struggle with the dog.

Hire an Expert

Femminineo Law has been handling dog bite cases for over 25 years. David Femminineo will make the insurance company for the dog owner pay you maximum compensation for your injuries. Call 855-65-CRASH or go to

Hire the best personal injury lawyers in Michigan

Femminineo Law, PLLC is Michigan’s finest personal injury firm. He has succeeded in recovering hundreds of millions of dollars for victims of highway accidents, medical malpractice, slips and falls, and for wrongful death matters throughout the State of Michigan.

Scroll to Top