angry dog behind chainlink fence


The playful nip of a puppy has been replaced by the searing sting of unexpected teeth. A dog bite, once a childhood mishap, now casts a shadow of anxiety and concern.

As a Michigander, understanding your rights and responsibilities in the aftermath of a dog bite is crucial. So, let’s navigate the legal landscape together, exploring the dos and don’ts of building a strong dog bite claim.


The Dos:

  1. Seek Medical Attention: Your health is paramount. Seek immediate medical care for any bite, no matter how minor it may seem. Document the injury through photographs and medical records, as these become vital evidence in your claim.
  2. Report the Bite: In Michigan, dog bite incidents must be reported to animal control officials. This helps track the dog’s history and ensure proper safety measures are taken. Remember: Prompt reporting can prevent future incidents.
  3. Gather Evidence: Collect witness statements, if any, and document the scene of the attack. Take pictures of the wound, the animal, and any relevant details like leash laws or signage. This evidence strengthens your claim and paints a clearer picture of the incident.
  4. Act Promptly: Time is of the essence in legal matters. Contact a personal injury attorney experienced in dog bite cases within a reasonable timeframe. They can guide you through the legal complexities and ensure you don’t miss crucial deadlines.

The Don’ts:

  1. Provoke the Dog: Resist the urge to retaliate against the dog, even if anger simmers. Provocation weakens your claim and further exposes you to potential harm.
  2. Ignore the Bite: Don’t dismiss a seemingly minor bite. Bites can lead to infections, scarring, and long-term physical and emotional trauma. Seek medical attention and legal guidance for thorough evaluation.
  3. Discuss the Incident on Social Media: While sharing your experience is understandable, refrain from posting details or photos on social media. This can jeopardize your claim and potentially influence insurance companies or legal proceedings.
  4. Attempt Negotiations on Your Own: Navigating legal complexities can be tricky. Engaging with insurance companies or the dog owner without legal counsel can put you at a disadvantage. Let experienced professionals represent your interests and fight for fair compensation.
  5. Rush into Settlement: While an offer might seem tempting, don’t rush into a quick settlement. Consult with your attorney to fully understand the extent of your damages and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Remember: You are not alone in this journey. Dog bites can be life-altering, leaving emotional scars alongside physical ones. In Michigan, understanding your rights and taking the right steps empowers you to seek justice and rebuild your life.

Speak with a Dog Bite Attorney in Michigan

At Smith & Johnson, we have extensive experience handling dog bite claims. We understand the physical and emotional toll these incidents can cause, and we are committed to helping you navigate the legal process in pursuit of every dollar you deserve. Contact Tim Smith ( or complete our Contact Form to schedule a free initial consultation with a dog bite lawyer in Michigan.