German shepherd attacks a man and bites his hand

Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Bites

Ronald S. Weiss, Attorney Sept. 1, 2023

Dog bites can have far-reaching consequences beyond physical injuries. Injuries resulting from dog bites can require costly medical care, cause emotional trauma, and have a long-lasting impact on the victim’s life.  

After a dog bite incident, it’s critical that you focus on healing and recovering from your injuries. However, you probably have many questions on your mind, preventing you from dedicating your time and energy to your treatment. Let us put your mind at ease. Ron and Gerald Weiss are here to provide you with the guidance you need during this difficult time.  

Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Bites

Below, we provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about dog bites, but if you need more specific information, reach out to Ron and Gerald Weiss.  

What should I do immediately after a dog bite incident?

While being attacked by a dog can be a frightening and traumatizing experience, it is vital that you take the following steps after the incident to protect your right to compensation:  

  1. Call 911 for immediate medical attention 

  1. Write down the dog owner’s contact information 

  1. Take pictures of your injuries and torn/bloody clothing 

  1. Speak to witnesses and write down their contact information 

  1. Ask the dog owner for their pet’s rabies vaccination records 

  1. Discuss your case with a dog bite attorney 

A skilled attorney can help you evaluate your compensation options and understand your rights in the aftermath of a dog bite incident.  

Who can be held liable for your dog bite injury?

Dog owners are legally responsible for controlling their pets. Both Michigan and Ohio have a statewide leash law, which requires owners to control their dogs and requires that dogs be leashed at all times when off the owner’s premises. Thus, a dog owner can be liable for a dog bite injury if (a) the dog was unleashed at the time of the incident or (b) the dog was on a leash but the owner failed to control the pet to prevent the attack.  So even when the dog is on a leash, the dog owner is responsible for his or her dog.

How to prove liability in a dog bite claim?

Both Michigan and Ohio are strict liability states, which means dog owners can be held liable (responsible) for injuries their dogs caused, regardless of whether the dog has bitten anyone before. While the strict liability rule generally makes it easier to prove your claim and obtain compensation, you still need to strengthen your claim. Presenting a strong case can help disprove the owner’s provocation claim, which is often used as a defense in dog bite cases.  

What damages can you recover in a dog bite case?

In the aftermath of a dog bite incident, you might want to know how much your case is worth and what types of damages you can recover. However, no two dog bite cases are exactly alike, which is why you may need the assistance of an attorney to provide an estimate of what your case is worth and identify the recoverable damages, which may include medical bills, loss of income, diminished quality of life, disfigurement (if you were left permanently scarred), pain and suffering, and others.  

Can you still pursue a claim if you were partially at fault?

A dog owner may argue that you were at fault for the dog bite incident. Some of the most common situations in which the victim may be found partially or fully liable include: 

  • trespassing 

  • provoking or bothering the dog 

  • ignoring the “beware of dog” sign 

  • refusing to listen to the dog owner who tells you not to pet their dog 

In both Michigan and Ohio, as well as other states, it is important to work through these issues with an attorney that is specifically familiar with dog bite claims.

How long do you have to pursue compensation after a dog bite incident?

In Michigan, victims of dog bite incidents have three years from the date of the injury to bring a claim and pursue compensation. In Ohio, the statute of limitations is typically shorter at two years.  There are significantly different rules for minors, so be careful when reviewing your situation.

Do you need an attorney for a dog bite claim?

A skilled attorney can help you understand the laws pertaining to your claim and advocate for your rights. You can focus on getting better and recovering while your attorney handles all the legal affairs on your behalf. If you or someone you love has been bitten by a dog, Ron and Gerald Weiss can address all your questions during a free case evaluation. 

Let Our Experience Guide You

Our dog bite attorneys can help you with every aspect of your claim to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve. Contact our office today to set up a free consultation. While we are located in West Bloomfield, Michigan, and Toledo, Ohio, we handle dog bite cases throughout both states.