Dog Bites


In Michigan, owners of dogs are strictly liable for a bite caused by their dog.   What does that mean?  An injured person does not generally have to prove negligence because the owner is strictly liable pursuant to MCL 287.351.  There are defenses to strict liability such as provocation or trespassing.

In addition to strict liability, a dog bite incident can give rise to common law negligence.  It is harder to prove.  An injured person must demonstrate that the owner knew of the dog’s dangerous propensities and failed to warn the injured person.


 The most obvious injury is a dog bite leaving a permanent scar.  Many other injuries can occur.  For example, a person could get knocked down during the bite and tear cartilage or ligaments in a knee.  Some breeds of dogs refuse to release their bite grip and can tear muscles or tendons.


The dog owner’s homeowners insurance usually provides coverage.

People renting property often do not have a policy of insurance to cover their dog.

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