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Dog Bite Assistance


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jon@jonfranklaw.com

37282 - 31 Mile Road, PO Box #698
Richmond, MI 48062

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Dog Bites

Learn Your Rights and Legal Options

Bitten? Legal Help This Way.

Is Your Dog Bite Incident a "Strict Liability" or "Negligence" Matter? You Should Not Worry About The Law; That is Your Lawyer's Job. Your Job is To Heal.

Michigan Law Protects The Victims of Dog Bites.

We are told that we should try to be the person our dogs think we are, and that is usually good advice; be friendly, warm, loving, helpful and protective. But what if someone else’s dog thinks we are hostile and dangerous? What if that dog attacks?

Throughout the United States, laws dealing with dog attacks fall into two categories, the first requiring the owner to have prior knowledge of the dog’s violent/vicious tendencies. This is cynically called the “one free bite rule”, because the owner will not usually be held liable, unless this has happened before; in other words, when it happens for the first time, they do not have to pay, and thus the bite is “free”.

The other category are the “strict liability” states, including Michigan, which impose liability on dog owners, for bites and attacks, even if there has never been a prior violent history.

Attacked by a dog?

You have rights. Don't get bitten again by the legal system, or by an insurance company.

Dog Bite Protections. Understand Your Rights in Michigan.

A dog owner will not be liable if it can be shown that the bite victim somehow provoked the dog. There is no hard and fast rule as to what constitutes provocation; it should be judged on a case by case basis, which means it should be decided by a jury, at time of trial, and not by a judge on a Motion for Dismissal (aka Motion for Summary Disposition; see Civil Court Procedure page)
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The term "common-law" merely refers to the body of law that has developed over time, from accumulating appellate court cases, dealing with specific subjects. Generally speaking, when a cases is appealed to a higher court, that higher court's ruling can have the force of law, because that higher court is interpreting what they consider to be the then current state of the law, on any particular subject. The term "common-law negligence" merely refers to the body of law that has developed over time, on the specific subject of negligence, its elements and defenses.
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Non-ownership of the dog, is a defense only to the strict liability provisions of MCLA §287.351. For example, if you are babysitting a dog, while its owner is out-of-town, and (heaven forbid) the dog attacks someone on your property, you cannot be sued under the strict liability provisions of the statute, nor can you sue the dog-sitter under the statute. However, you can sue and be sued, under a theory of common-law negligence, which is preserved in Michigan law under MCLA §287.288.
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The Client Bill of Rights

Get Yours.

Client Bill of Rights

  1. 100% Client Satisfaction Guarantee
  2. 48-Hour Open Door Policy
  3. The Lawyer You Hire Is The Lawyer Who Works on Your Case
  4. Candid Explanations in Plain Simple English
  5. An Idea Where Your Case is Heading
  6. One-Day Returned Phone Call/E-Mail/Text Policy
  7. Cell Phone Access to Your Lawyer
  8. Constant Immediate Updating
  9. You Have A Right to A Lawyer Who Will Respect Nos. 1-8 Above

Being a client sucks. It is a terrible and anxious experience, and I know, because I am not only a lawyer, but I have been a client before, myself. It can be awful, and the lawyer you hire should not make it worse.

Because different lawyers do different work, the problems that bring you to a lawyer will vary. However, one thing is in common: you have to put yourself and a highly sensitive problem into the hands of another person.  It means that there is a loss of control. A cloud hanging over your head.

Just you hire me to protect your rights, you have rights THAT EVERY LAWYER SHOULD BE WILLING TO PROTECT.  

I AM.

CLIENT BILL OF RIGHTS

1. 100% Client Satisfaction Guarantee

You have a right to be satisfied, and soon, that I am hard at work on your matter, and that your case is not “just another case”, but it is my cause.  I cannot guarantee outcomes of personal injury, criminal, or other court matters.  

However, if you are not completely satisfied within the first 30 days, or before the first Court appearance, whichever is sooner, that I am working hard on your case, then you can come get your file, or I will send it to you, and you can go hire another lawyer. 

YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO BE COMPLETELY SATISFIED THAT I AM WORKING HARD ON YOUR MATTER, AND THAT YOUR CASE IS MY CAUSE.  

2. 48-Hour Open Door Policy

If you feel that you need to sit down with me face-to-face to discuss your case, I WILL CLEAR MY SCHEDULE, SETTING ASIDE TIME TO MEET WITH YOU IN MY OFFICE.  Even if I am in the middle of trial, I will meet with you within 48 hours. 

YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO MEET WITH ME AT MY OFFICE, WITHIN 48 HOURS OF YOUR REQUEST, AND TO EXPECT ME TO CLEAR MY SCHEDULE, TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN.

3. The Lawyer You Hire Is The Lawyer Who Works on Your Case 

When you hire Jon Frank and The Frank Law Firm, PC, you hire Jon Frank.  You will not be shunted off to associates who are off-camera, and whose faces do not appear on websites, or TV advertising.  I am the lawyer who will answer your calls.

YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO EXPECT THAT THE LAWYER YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE GOING TO HIRE, IS THE ONE WHO IS ACTUALLY WORKING ON YOUR CASE.

4. Candid Explanations in Plain Simple English

Personal injury, no-fault, and criminal matters, while commonly settled “out of court”, are ultimately matters decided “in court”, and therefore, no guarantees can be made as to outcome.  Anyone who says otherwise, is not being truthful with you. 

So, too, where you hire me to deed a property into trust, handle a probate matter, or anything else that I might do as your lawyer, there is a process that we must follow, and as the “paying customer”, you are entitled to understand just what that process is.

These are often complex matters that need to be explained to you, by your lawyer.  Not only should your lawyer GLADLY explain the process to you, your lawyer should explain to you, in plain simple English – without formal, condescending “legalese”.

Not every lawyer is willing to give their client a full and candid explanation, for good or ill, and in plain simple English, of just what is going on with their case.

I AM.

THEREFORE, YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IS GOING ON WITH YOUR CASE, AND TO KEEP ASKING ME TO EXPLAIN IT, UNTIL YOU DO UNDERSTAND. 

Lawyers are paid to provide a service, and should not complain, when their clients ask for the service they have paid for.

5. An Idea Where Your Case is Heading 

As I just mentioned, there is a process that your matter will follow, from start to finish.  One of the biggest causes of client stress, is not knowing just what that process is – ahead of time.  Knowing what road you will be taking, makes the trip easier, not just as a traveler on an Interstate, but also as a client in a legal matter. 

THEREFORE, YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW IN ADVANCE, WHERE YOUR CASE IS HEADING, AS TO:

6. One-Day Returned Phone Call/E-Mail/Text Policy 

If it is important enough for you to reach out to me, to call, e-mail, or text, it is important enough for me to return the communication, and to do so promptly. 

YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO EXPECT ME WITHIN ONE BUSINESS DAY, TO:

7. Cell Phone Access to Your Lawyer

You have just hired me to help you through one of the most sensitive, gut-wrenching episodes you will ever have in your life, as long as you live. 

One of the deepest expressions of trust, one human being can give another, is to be vulnerable enough to ask for help.  By hiring me as your lawyer, that is what you have done.  Therefore, I make a point of giving my clients my cell phone number, so that they can contact me, day or night, 24/7/365, by phone or text message

While you ARE WELCOME TO MY CELL PHONE NUMBER, I have enabled my land lines, (586) 727-1900 and (877) FRANK-LAW (372-6552) to receive text messages. While I may not always be available to talk, I want to make it easy for you to contact me; if I am not readily available, I will get back to you, often within minutes or hours, but always within one business day.

YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO MY CELL PHONE NUMBER, AND TO HAVE ACCESS TO ME 24/7/365 BY CELL PHONE AND TEXT MESSAGE.  

8. Constant Immediate Updating 

It is bad enough to have to put your life in someone else’s hands.  When you have to put your life into my hands, you have an absolute right to be kept updated as to the progress of your matter.  My policy is to send a copy to you, by email, of all correspondence I send to other people (lawyers, insurance companies, prosecutors, police agencies, etc.).  

Receiving copies by email, will enable you to see what I am doing on your case, as I am doing it.

I will send you email copies, usually by “blind copy”, to protect your email privacy; sometimes, I will forward to you, a previously sent email. If you do not have email, then I will send you copies of outgoing correspondence, by regular mail. 

YOU HAVE AN ABSOLUTE RIGHT TO BE COPIED ON ALL OUTGOING CORRESPONDENCE ON YOUR MATTER, BY E-MAIL, OR BY REGULAR MAIL, WHEN THAT CORRESPONDENCE IS BEING SENT.

9. You Have A Right To A Lawyer Who Will Respect Nos. 1-8 Above 

If you are looking for a lawyer who can help guide you through your injury matter to a great recovery, at the earliest possible time, or someone who can help protect your rights in a drunk driving, or criminal matter, you have a right to a lawyer who will respect these rights you have as a client.

As a client, you should never have to worry or wonder if your lawyer cares about your rights as a client, or whether they respect you as a human being.  You deserve, and have a right to a lawyer, who will do both.

TEXT OR CALL ME, Jon Frank, at 877-FRANK-LAW, or at (586) 727-1900, if you want me to protect your rights as a citizen – and as a client.  You can email me as well, at jon@jonfranklaw.com.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Frequently Asked Dog Bite Protections Questions. Michigan Based Legal Answers.

What If The Dog Bit Me While Being Kept By Non-Owner?

Non-ownership of the dog, is a defense only to the strict liability provisions of MCLA §287.351. For example, if you are babysitting a dog, while its owner is out-of-town, and (heaven forbid) the dog attacks someone on your property, you cannot be sued under the strict liability provisions of the statute, nor can you sue the dog-sitter under the statute. However, you can sue and be sued, under a theory of common-law negligence, which is preserved in Michigan law under MCLA §287.288... Load complete answer.

Non-ownership of the dog, is a defense only to the strict liability provisions of MCLA §287.351. For example, if you are babysitting a dog, while its owner is out-of-town, and (heaven forbid) the dog attacks someone on your property, you cannot be sued under the strict liability provisions of the statute, nor can you sue the dog-sitter under the statute. However, you can sue and be sued, under a theory of common-law negligence, which is preserved in Michigan law under MCLA §287.288.

In the event the dog is being kept by a non-owner, there is nothing that prevents you from claiming damages from both the owner, on a strict liability theory, and against the dog-sitter, on a common-law negligence theory.

Why bother caring about these legal fine points? Because the owner might be collectible, while the "dog-sitter" is not, or vice versa.  These legal fine points may mean the difference of collecting cash, or not collecting cash.

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Is a Dog’s Breed Relevant to Damages?

We have all heard folks say that certain breeds of dogs are just, by virtue of their breed, dangerous animals; e.g., pit bulls. This may be untrue, and the dog’s violent tendencies may be a function of poor stewardship/management by the dog owner. I am not knowledgeable enough to offer an opinion, but there are various lists that point to various breeds as being more dangerous than others. I offer links to a couple here, without opinion as to their accuracy:.. Load complete answer.

We have all heard folks say that certain breeds of dogs are just, by virtue of their breed, dangerous animals; e.g., pit bulls. This may be untrue, and the dog’s violent tendencies may be a function of poor stewardship/management by the dog owner. I am not knowledgeable enough to offer an opinion, but there are various lists that point to various breeds as being more dangerous than others. I offer links to a couple here, without opinion as to their accuracy:

Again, I am not endorsing the accuracy of these lists, although some breeds, such as pit bulls and presa canario’s presence on this list should not surprise anyone.

Dangerous Dog Breeds and the Law

Does this mean that Michigan law recognizes that some breeds are dangerous by their very nature and breed? Actually, no. In fact, in one case, Taylor v Mobley, 279 Mich App 309; 760 NW2d 234 (2008), the Michigan Court of Appeals upheld a trial court’s ruling that a dog’s breed was irrelevant to the issue of damages, further holding that evidence of the dog’s breed may well be inadmissible under MRE 403, making inadmissible, otherwise admissible evidence that “is more prejudicial than probative”.

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Value of Dog Bite

The value of a dog bite depends on: .. Load complete answer.

The value of a dog bite depends on:

  • how much damage the dog has done,
  • whether it is readily visible,
  • how significant or even grotesque the injury may be,
  • whether the dog bite may have interfered with the victim’s physical functioning and
  • whether the incident has left psychological scars, etc.

As with many of these issues, this will be a fact by fact, case by case analysis, that only an experienced attorney can advise you on. Give Jon Frank a call today.

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Defenses Under The Dog Bite Statute

  1. Provocation.
  2. Trespassing.
  3. Initial lawful entry onto property, followed by proof of victim’s criminal/unlawful purpose for being on the property.
  4. No damages. Just getting bitten, does not create a right to sue, or to make a claim. There must be a showing of damage to the bite victim.
  1. Provocation.
  2. Trespassing.
  3. Initial lawful entry onto property, followed by proof of victim’s criminal/unlawful purpose for being on the property.
  4. No damages. Just getting bitten, does not create a right to sue, or to make a claim. There must be a showing of damage to the bite victim.

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