Newaygo, MI asked in Animal / Dog Law for Michigan

Q: What michigan statute protects a dog owner if their dog bit someone

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1 Lawyer Answer
Hillard Fried
Hillard Fried
  • Ann Arbor, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: In the typical personal injury claim, the injured party must prove that the party who caused the mishap was negligent. If the injury victim fails to prove negligence, he loses.

In contrast, the victim of a dog-bite is not required to prove negligence. That is known as “strict liability”. Thus, the victim needs only to establish that a dog attacked him, that the victim was injured, that his injuries and losses are compensable and that the defendant in the law suit owned the dog at the time of the incident.

The statute that you seek is MCL 287.351. That statute provides, in sum and substance, that there are two defenses to a dog-bite claim. The first defense is that the victim provoked the dog. The second defense is that the victim was a trespasser on the dog owner’s property. In the context of the statute, a person is trespassing if he is on the owner’s property without any right or permission.

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