What to do when you’ve been bitten by a dog

Being bitten by a dog can be a traumatic experience, both physically and emotionally. Even seemingly minor dog bites can be painful, entail a long recovery period and leave permanent disfigurement or a major scar. If you or a loved one was bitten by someone else’s animal, it can be difficult to know what to do, especially if the pet belonged to a friend or neighbor.

At Barberi Law, we can help you address the difficult questions after an animal attack, including:

  • My child was bitten by a neighbor’s dog. Is he or she liable for my child’s medical bills?
  • If I was scratched, but not bitten, can I still seek compensation?
  • If I was bitten while working, should I file a workers’ compensation claim?
  • What should I do to document my dog bite case?

Our legal team knows that many injured individuals are looking for information before they make a decision on whether to hire an attorney. We have created a free booklet detailing several of the most common questions and concerns that other clients have had when someone has been bitten by a dog. We invite you to contact our law firm to request the booklet without further obligation. If after reading it you want to learn more, we offer free initial consultations to all personal injury victims.

Frequently asked questions after a dog attack

Are there commonly recognized “dangerous breeds?”

Based on size, activity level and aggressiveness of play, several breeds of dogs have a higher probability for injuring a human. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has listed numerous high-risk breeds, including German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, Pit bulls, Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies.

My neighbor’s dog bit my daughter and left some nasty scars. They are good people, and I’m not the kind of person who files lawsuits. What should I do? 

Responsible dog owners maintain liability insurance, usually in the form of homeowners’ insurance policies. Most policies specifically cover dog bite damages and would provide a source of recovery for medical expenses, deductibles and damages for the pain and suffering associated with the bite. Consultations with qualified plastic surgeons are very helpful in determining the extent of the bite’s damage and whether the scars can be minimized. If your neighbor has insurance, we will ask him or her to cooperate with processing a claim, first explaining that he or she is not being sued and that we are hopeful that insurance will cover the damages.

I was riding my bike down the road when a mean dog chased me and bit me on the leg. What can be done to prevent this from happening again? 

Under Michigan law, although a dog doesn’t have to have bitten before for the owner to be liable to you for your injuries, a dog that does have vicious tendencies can be quarantined and the owner can be required by a court order to safeguard the public. This usually requires the assistance of the county animal control authorities or the prosecuting attorney. The keeper of a dog must always have the animal under his or her immediate control. No dog may legally stray from his or her property or owner’s control, and any bites that occur are serious matters.

Contact Our Personal Injury Lawyers

While a pet owner may have a “good dog,” it is not uncommon for many pets to react poorly to stress, a new environments or unsupervised children. If you or a family member was bitten by someone else’s dog, the pet owner and his or her insurance company can be held accountable. Contact our personal injury lawyers to learn more about your legal options.