A Look at Michigan's Dog Bite Laws

  • In Michigan, it’s possible to sue a dog owner after being bitten by his or her canine. However, there are several criteria that must be met in order to have grounds for an injury claim.


    Where Were You when the Dog Attacked?

    If you were on public property and someone's dog bit you, you can seek compensation. If you were on private property, it is still possible that you have a case, but there are some conditions that must be met:

    You Were Invited onto the Property or Were There for a Legal Reason

    This means that someone visiting for a party, or neighbor kids who were invited to play, can sue if bitten by a dog on the property. A delivery person, lawn care or maintenance crew, or other person there for valid professional reasons could also sue if bitten.

    You Were Not a Trespasser or Intending to Do Something Illegal

    For example, if there was a “no trespassing” sign and someone entered a property without being invited, he or she could be guilty of trespassing, making the owner not responsible for the dog bite. Likewise, if the owner can prove that someone was invited onto the property but was planning on committing a crime, the dog owner wouldn’t be considered negligent.


    The Dog Doesn’t Need to Be Vicious

    In some states, a lawsuit cannot be filed unless the owner was aware that the dog posed a threat or a danger to other people. In other words, if the canine had previously shown vicious tendencies and later bit you, only then could you sue. However, in Michigan, that is not a requirement.

    Michigan laws state that the owner of a dog has a duty of care to the public to ensure that they are not harmed by the dog, either on private property or public property. In fact, it is even possible to sue a landlord in Michigan if they allowed a tenant to keep a vicious dog that bit someone.



    To win an injury claim for a dog bite, it must be proven that you did not provoke the dog into biting you. If the owner can demonstrate that you did, you might not receive any money.

    It’s important to hire an attorney to prove that you didn’t provoke the dog and why you should be compensated for your injuries.


    Dog Owner Defense

    Typically, the only defenses for the animal’s owner are to claim that you either provoked the dog into biting or were trespassing. If the defendant can't prove either, you have an excellent chance of winning your case and getting compensated for medical bills, lost wages, pain-and-suffering, and other losses related to the dog attack.


    Dog Bite Lawyer in Detroit

    To discuss your dog bite case in detail, call 248-213-4900 and arrange a free consultation with David Christensen Law. Alternatively, you can also visit our website.