Being bitten or attacked by a dog can be a life-altering experience. The physical and emotional scars that result from such incidents can have long-lasting effects, and often leave victims with significant financial burdens. If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite injury in Kalamazoo, Michigan, it’s essential to understand your rights, including your right to fair compensation.
At Conybeare Law Office, we are dedicated to advocating for dog bite victims. Our team of experienced Kalamazoo dog bite lawyers understands the physical and emotional toll that these incidents can have on individuals and their families. We are committed to providing compassionate and aggressive representation to ensure that our clients receive the financial compensation they need to recover and move forward.
Why Hire Conybeare Law Office for Your Dog Bite Claim?
When you’re seeking compensation after an unprovoked attack in Kalamazoo, hiring Conybeare Law Office can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. Here are some compelling reasons to choose our firm:
- Extensive Experience: Our Kalamazoo dog bite lawyers have extensive experience in handling personal injury cases, including dog bite claims. We have successfully represented many clients in similar situations and will aim for maximum compensation for you.
- Compassionate and Personalized Approach: We understand the physical and emotional trauma that accompanies a dog bite incident. At Conybeare Law Office, we take the time to listen to your story, understand your unique circumstances, and tailor our legal strategies to meet your specific needs. You are not just another case to us; you are a valued individual deserving of the highest level of care and attention.
- Aggressive Advocacy: When it comes to fighting for your rights, our animal bite lawyers don’t back down. We are known for our aggressive advocacy on behalf of our clients. We negotiate fiercely with insurance companies and, if necessary, are fully prepared to take your case to trial to secure the compensation you deserve.
- Full Legal Support: We handle all aspects of your case, including gathering evidence, dealing with insurance adjusters, assessing damages, and advocating for your rights. With our firm by your side, you can focus on your recovery.
- Proven Track Record: Our firm has a strong track record of achieving successful outcomes for our clients. We have secured significant recoveries in dog bite cases, providing our clients with the financial resources to cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. We are committed to delivering the same level of excellence to you.
Michigan Dog Bite Laws Explained
Michigan follows a strict liability rule when it comes to dog bites. This means that a dog owner is typically held responsible for any injuries caused by their dog, regardless of whether the owner knew about the animal’s aggressive tendencies or if it was their first bite. The owner is considered liable unless the victim provoked the dog or was trespassing at the time of the incident.
Unlike some states, Michigan does not have a “one bite rule,” where the animal owner may be relieved of liability for the first bite. Instead, there are two theories of liability: one based on statute and the other based on common law.
- Under Michigan’s dog bite statute, the owner can be held liable for the first bite if certain conditions are met. The victim must have been lawfully on the property and the victim must not have provoked the dog.
- Michigan also recognizes liability under common law. In these cases, the victim needs to prove that the owner knew or should have known that the dog had vicious tendencies or propensities.
If you have been a victim of a dog bite incident in Kalamazoo, it is crucial to consult with an experienced dog bite attorney who can assess your case, determine the most applicable theory of liability, and guide you through the legal process. Contact Conybeare Law Office today for the experienced legal representation you deserve.
What To Do If Your Child is Attacked by a Dog
Every year, approximately five million people are bitten by dogs in the United States. Most of these victims are children, with those aged between five and nine suffering the worst physical injuries. If your child has been attacked by a dog in Kalamazoo, it’s essential to take immediate action to ensure their safety and protect their rights.
- Seek Medical Treatment: The first priority is your child’s health and well-being. If the injuries are severe or life-threatening, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Even if the injuries appear more minor, it’s crucial to have them assessed by a medical professional. Dog bites can lead to infections, nerve damage, or other complications that may not be immediately apparent.
- Gather Information: Identify the owner’s name, address, and contact information. If there were witnesses to the incident, obtain their names and contact details as well. Take photographs of your child’s injuries and any visible signs of the dog or the location where the attack occurred.
- Report the Incident: Contact the local animal control agency or law enforcement to report the dog bite attack. Provide them with all the details you have gathered, including the dog owner’s information, witnesses, and any supporting evidence. Reporting the incident helps create an official record and may contribute to preventing future attacks.
- Preserve Evidence: Preserve any physical evidence related to the dog attack. This may include torn clothing or any other items involved in the incident. Keep copies of any medical records, bills, or other documentation related to your child’s injuries and treatment.
- Consult with a Dog Bite Attorney: It is crucial to seek legal representation from an experienced dog bite attorney. They can assess the circumstances of the attack, evaluate your legal options, and guide you through the process of pursuing a civil claim for compensation.
What to Do if You’re Attacked By a Dog
Adults who are attacked by dogs should generally follow the same steps taken by parents of minor victims. However, the exact steps may vary, especially if you were bitten while carrying out your duties as a mail carrier, delivery driver, or other occupation that required you to be on the owner’s property.
One option involves filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, which applies if you were on duty at the time of the attack. These claims provide wage loss benefits while you recover and cover medical bills related to your injuries.
The second claim involves filing a lawsuit against the dog owner to seek financial compensation for your economic (wage loss and medical bills) damages, as well as your pain and suffering damages. This includes mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, and other non-economic damages arising from your injuries. A dog bite lawyer in Kalamazoo can guide you through the legal options available to you.
Compensation for a Kalamazoo Dog Bite Claim
Compensation for a Kalamazoo dog bite claim is intended to provide financial recovery for the damages suffered by the victim. The specific amount of compensation awarded can vary depending on various factors, such as the severity of the injuries, the impact on the victim’s life, and the extent of the dog owner’s liability. Here are some key elements that may be considered in determining the compensation:
- Medical Expenses: Compensation typically includes reimbursement for all medical costs related to the dog bite, such as emergency treatment, hospitalization, plastic surgery, and future medical care expenses required for ongoing treatment or therapy.
- Lost Wages: If the dog bite caused the victim to miss work or resulted in a reduced earning capacity, compensation may cover the wages lost during the recovery period or the future income that may be affected by the injuries.
- Pain and Suffering: Non-economic damages, including physical pain, emotional distress, psychological trauma, scarring, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life, may be considered when determining the compensation amount.
- Property Damage: In cases where personal property, such as clothing or personal belongings, is damaged or destroyed during the dog attack, compensation may be provided to cover the costs of repair or replacement.
- Rehabilitation and Therapy: If the bite injury victim requires ongoing therapy, counseling, or rehabilitation services to recover from the physical and emotional effects of the attack, compensation may include the expenses associated with these treatments.
If you have been a victim of a dog bite in Kalamazoo, consult with the skilled personal injury attorneys at Conybeare Law Office. We are dedicated to protecting your rights and pursuing the compensation you deserve for your dog bite claim.
How Can a Kalamazoo Dog Bite Lawyer Help?
When you’re struggling to recover from a devastating dog attack, you shouldn’t face the added burden of pursuing your own claim. A Kalamazoo animal bite attorney can provide invaluable assistance in the following ways:
- Case Evaluation: A dog bite lawyer will thoroughly evaluate your case by gathering evidence, reviewing medical records, assessing the extent of your physical and psychological injuries, and determining the liability of the dog owner. They will provide an honest assessment of the strength of your claim and the potential compensation you may be entitled to.
- Building a Strong Claim: Your personal injury lawyer will handle all the necessary paperwork, documentation, and communication with insurance companies on your behalf. They will gather evidence, interview witnesses, and consult with experts, thereby ensuring that your claim is well-supported and presented effectively.
- Negotiating with Insurance Companies: Insurance companies often try to minimize bite settlements or deny claims altogether. A skilled bite injury attorney will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, advocating for a fair and reasonable settlement that accurately reflects the damages you have suffered.
- Trial Representation: If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiations, a dog bite lawyer will be prepared to take your case to trial. They will provide strong and persuasive representation in court, presenting your case effectively and fighting for the maximum compensation you deserve.
- Maximizing Compensation: Your personal injury lawyer will work tirelessly to pursue the full range of compensation available to you. They will seek to recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, scarring, and any other losses resulting from the dog bite incident.
Dealing with a dog bite injury can be overwhelming, especially while trying to navigate the legal process. Our experienced lawyers will handle all the legal aspects of your case, allowing you to focus on your recovery and providing you with peace of mind knowing that your rights are being protected.
How Long Do I Have to Bring a Bite Injury Lawsuit Against the Owner in Michigan?
The statute of limitations for dog bite cases in Michigan is generally three years from the date of the incident. This means that you have three years from the date you were bitten or attacked to file a dog bite lawsuit seeking compensation for your injuries. It’s important to understand that if you fail to take legal action within this time frame, the court will dismiss your case and you will lose your right to compensation.
In certain circumstances, there may be an extended timeframe. One notable example is when the victim is a child. As a minor, a child who has been bitten by a dog typically has until their 19th birthday to initiate formal legal proceedings. However, it is important to note that waiting until the child reaches that age is not necessarily in their best interest. Taking prompt action ensures that the child’s rights are protected, evidence is preserved, and the legal process can be initiated efficiently to secure the compensation they deserve.
What Happens After I Report the Attack?
When you report a dog bite incident, whether to animal control or the local police, an investigation will be initiated. The primary purpose is to thoroughly document the incident, as many dogs have a history of repeated biting incidents. Additionally, the investigator will verify whether the dog involved is up to date on vaccinations, including rabies. In certain cases, the county may impose a quarantine period for the dog, typically to ensure public safety and prevent the spread of diseases.
Animal control officers will create a record of the incident, particularly for damaging bites that require medical attention. If you wish to obtain a copy of the report, you or your Kalamazoo dog bite lawyer can make a request through the Freedom of Information Act.
What is the Provocation Defense?
In Michigan, the provocation defense is a legal argument that the dog owner may raise to dispute liability in a dog bite case. It asserts that the victim provoked the dog in some way, leading to the attack, and therefore, the owner should not be held responsible for the resulting injuries. The provocation defense essentially claims that the victim’s actions or behavior caused the dog to react aggressively.
For provocation to be a valid defense, the dog owner must demonstrate that the victim engaged in acts or behavior that would reasonably provoke a normally docile dog. Common examples of provocation may include physically assaulting the dog, taunting or teasing it, or engaging in behavior that could reasonably be perceived as a threat.
If a provocation defense is raised in your dog bite case, you should consult a knowledgeable bite injury lawyer. They can assess the circumstances, gather evidence, and build a strong argument to counter the provocation defense, protecting your rights and seeking the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Get a Free Consultation From a Kalamazoo Dog Bite Lawyer
At Conybeare Law Office, we understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll that a dog bite can have on your life and are committed to achieving a fair resolution that helps you move forward. Trust in our knowledge, compassion, and dedication as we stand by your side, seeking justice and providing the support you need during this challenging time. To schedule your free initial consultation, call 269-769-BEAR or fill out this contact form. Remember: if it’s not fair, call the Bear!