Dog Bite Cases

Smith & Johnson has a history of record setting results for our clients. In one dog bite case that we tried in Leelanau County, our client received the largest dog bite verdict in the history of Grand Traverse, Leelanau and Antrim County court system. Our clients expect the best, and we deliver.

How to File a Lawsuit after a Dog Bite

In Michigan, an owner of a dog that bites another is strictly liable for damage caused (e.g., physical disfigurement, pain, and medical bills). [MCL 287.351], providing the victim was on public property or lawfully on private property, and the victim did not provoke the dog.

Dog bite lawsuits can fall under the strict liability provision, and dog owner negligence can also be claimed in some cases. Negligence can be based on unreasonable action, unreasonable failure to act, or on animal ordinances or animal control law in your area.


Michigan law states that the owner of the dog is liable no matter the past behavior of the dog. The defendant will usually argue the dog’s typical nature, and they will try to prove events that led up to the dog bite. Having a dog bite lawyer from Smith & Johnson allows you to approach your case with the necessary guidance.

Injury to Another Animal

Sometimes a dog will slip their leash or run away from home. This can result in a dog-on-animal injury. The goal of this personal injury litigation is usually to return the animal owner to their financial state before the injury. If the animal passes away, this will typically result in the victim being compensated for the fair market value of the animal. When there are damages to the animal, the defendant will usually be liable for the consequential damages to the animal. This typically includes veterinary bills as long as they would not have happened without the injury.

How Much is my Dog Bite Case Worth?

Every dog bite case is different and yields different results. Some factors that go into the settlement amount include:

  • Severity of the injury
  • Location of the injury
  • Permanency of the results
  • Psychological trauma
  • Total medical costs
  • Circumstance of the bite

What to do if Bitten by a Dog

After taking the necessary safety precautions, take some time to record the bite and evaluate your injuries. Pay attention to the pain you feel and any restrictions you’re feeling in your body. Keep notes of as many details as you have. You can also include video taken by a witness and any photos you have. Anything you have in writing from the hospital or doctor’s office should be kept as well.

You have up to three years from the date of the attack to file a claim. If the victim is under the age of 18, they have until their 19th birthday to file the claim. However, it is in your best interest to contact a personal injury attorney at Smith & Johnson as soon as possible after a dog bite. 

Dog Bite + Personal Injury Lawyers

Regardless of the breed or the dog owner’s belief that their dog would never bite someone, the reality remains: dog bite incidents do happen. And when they do, you need a law firm with experience in handling your personal injury case arising out of a dog bit incident.

Because our Personal Injury team of lawyers, Tim Smith and Brad Wierda, have been helping dog bite victims in this area of personal injury law on a daily basis, we are able to help those who have been involved in dog bite incidents in Northern Michigan and the State to protect their legal rights under the Michigan dog bite statute.

At Smith & Johnson, Attorneys, P.C., our team is available and ready to meet with you for a FREE consultation regarding your personal injury case.

Please contact Tim Smith at Smith & Johnson now, TOLL-FREE at 1-866-946-0700, to schedule your free consultation and protect your legal rights.

Our Dog Bite Personal Injury Lawyers

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