Dog bites – no laughing matter: Seek justice with a Michigan dog bite attorney
Dog bites often are the subject of animated cartoons or comic strips, but a dog bite is no laughing matter, as this traumatic event can cause serious injury that requires a Michigan dog bite attorney to deliver justice.
A bite can result in permanent scarring, nerve damage and produce a significant risk of infection. Many times there is psychological harm that lasts well beyond the physical injury, and a Michigan dog bite lawyer can help you get the justice you deserve.
If you or a loved one is the victim of a dog bite you should call Cochran, Foley & Associates Michigan dog bite lawyer team at 800-322-5543 and ask for Terry Cochran or Lynn Foley. Both possess the special Michigan dog bite law knowledge needed to make sure all necessary evidence has been gathered and to determine what legal action should be taken to protect your loved one’s interests.
The most recent study of dog bite injuries in the U.S. shows that dogs bite about 4.7 million people each year. Of these, some 800,000 people required medical attention. Each year 1.8 percent of the U.S. population is bitten by a dog and 0.3 percent of the U.S. population seeks medical care as a result of an attack. An understanding of Michigan dog bite law can ensure justice.
Tragically, almost half of all dog bite victims are children.
Dog bites in Michigan
In Michigan, the dog owner is responsible for any damage caused by an attack from their dog. Michigan’s Dog Bite Statute (MCL 287.351) states in part:
“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 owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”
The key elements to prove in a Michigan dog bite case are that the defendant was the owner of the dog in question and that a bite occurred.
Although sometimes difficult to prove, ownership is usually established by licensing and vaccination records, as well as by the testimony of witnesses. In most Michigan dog bite cases, there is substantial physical evidence of a dog bite, allowing the second element to be established.
Many people believe that “every dog is allowed one bite”. This is simply not true under the Michigan dog bite laws. The Michigan dog bite laws are clear that good prior behavior from the dog will not exonerate the owner from responsibility.
One of the frequently asserted defenses concerns issues of provocation. Even in Michigan, it is common for an insurance company to assert that a child in some manner “provoked” the dog and is actually responsible for a resulting bite. But this assertion is almost always incorrect. If a dog has bitten you or your child, contact Cochran, Foley & Associates immediately.
The Michigan Dog Bite Statute allows action to be taken against a dog owner for a period of up to three years from the date of the incident. That’s why you need to seek immediate legal advice if you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite in Michigan.
There are several circumstances that allow additional time for a dog bite victim to file a claim. The most common example is children younger than 18. As a legal minor, a child bitten by a dog has until his or her 19th birthday to commence formal proceedings with the proper court. However, it is advisable to seek more immediate legal counsel.
When things go wrong
Determining the value of a dog bite claim can be complicated. Before an attorney can engage in serious negotiations regarding settlement, the degree of permanent damage needs to be ascertained. There often is a need to wait months to determine the extent of any permanent scarring. If you or your loved one is a dog bite victim contact Cochran, Foley & Associates for a free consultation.
The attorneys at Cochran & Foley have the skills, legal knowledge and experience needed to protect you and will seek to win payment for your injuries, expenses, and loss.
An attorney will lead you through the steps needed to recover actual damages and may even assist in punitive damages being awarded.
Levels of responsibility
Actual damages can be awarded for medical bills, lost income, funeral expenses, pain and suffering, mental stress, permanent disability and similar hardships.
Punitive damages, above and beyond those actually incurred by the victim, are intended to punish the guilty party for reckless or inappropriate behavior. Punitive damages also can function as a deterrent for others.
Cochran & Foley will seek payments for expenses resulting from the dog bite, and ensure justice by pursuing punitive damages.
Cochran & Foley devotes its practice to representing individuals who are the victims of dog bites, burn or workplace injuries, nursing home abuse, medical malpractice, or accidents. Essentially, if a person has been involved in any tragedy involving negligence and requiring compensation, Cochran & Foley will provide whatever legal services are required.
Above All Else, Seek Justice
Victims should not hesitate from filing a lawsuit for fear of filing a frivolous lawsuit. That is propaganda created by the insurance industry. Let your attorney, not an insurance agent, determine what’s frivolous and when justice should be pursued.
In America, a jury makes a decision on damages after hearing all of the evidence. The jury award is designed to compensate the injury victim. A fundamental right of all Americans is a trial by jury, allowing our fellow citizens to hear our case and to make a decision. Do not give up any of your rights as a citizen!
Statutes of limitation limit the length of time you have to file a lawsuit. If you fail to file a lawsuit within that time period you may forever be denied the justice due you. If you have been bitten by a dog and believe that you have a case, it is critical that you seek legal help quickly.
If you believe you are a victim, let Cochran, Foley & Associates fight for your rights. There is no obligation for case evaluation and no fee is charged unless a recovery is made.
The Law Offices of Cochran, Foley & Associates, P.C. is dedicated to representing individuals and families who have suffered catastrophic losses as a result of injuries, disabilities and death. The firm does not represent insurance companies or corporations but instead bases its practice upon representing individuals and families.