Dog Bites

Michigan recognizes two different causes of action for Dog Bite injuries.: 

First is the common law cause of action based on whether or not the dog owner knew of the animal’s propensity to viciousness Grummel v. Deeker, 294 Mich 71 (1940).  This is quite different from the “one free bite rule” that many jurisdictions adopt.  This means that a cause of action may exist even without evidence of a prior dog bite, or that there may be no cause of action even where evidence of a previous bite can be shown.  The ultimate element is the dog owner’s knowledge of the animals violent tendancies.

Secondly, a statutory cause of action exists under Michigan’s Dog Bite Act otherwise found at MCL 287.351 et seq..  The elements of liability under the statute are:

  • Ownership of the animal;
  • a bite;
  • lack of provocation;
  • and the person is legally on the premises.
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