If your toddler suffers a dog bite, it is not an anomaly. Out of the 4.5 million people who get bitten by dogs every year in America, the most common victims are children. And kids are more likely to have severe injuries than other dog bite victims.
As a parent, you want to do everything possible to keep your toddler safe. This includes holding anyone who causes him or her harm accountable. If you are wondering if you can sue the dog owner for the attack, keep reading to learn about dog bite laws in Michigan.
Dog bite statute
Michigan is one of a few states that has a specific law regarding dog attacks. In order for the law to apply, the following factors must be present:
- The bite causes an injury
- The victim does not provoke the dog
- The victim is lawfully in a private area or public place
Of course, when the victim is a toddler, what constitutes “provoking” may be different. For example, a toddler who is simply trying to play with a dog may not be fully aware of what he or she is doing.
Each state has its own method for handling dog bites. Most states either follow a “strict liability” or “negligence” rule. Michigan law falls under the strict liability category. This means that dog owners cannot evade responsibility by claiming they were unaware that their dog is dangerous. Owners are always liable even if the dog has no history of biting or acting aggressively.
Statute of limitations
It is vital to know that you have a deadline for taking a personal injury lawsuit to court. Michigan gives you three years from the date of the attack to bring a dog bite claim. If you want to pursue monetary compensation from the dog owner, make sure you file your claim before this three-year window closes.