My five-year-old son and I were invited over to the neighbor’s house this past weekend to play outside in the neighbor’s bouncy house. My neighbor has two dogs which were also outside. My son and the neighbor’s children were having a great time when my son slid down the slide of the bouncy house and landed near one of my neighbor’s dogs. He must have startled the dog because the dog snapped and bit my son on the hand, which required several stitches. The surgeon who repaired my son’s hand said that it will heal fine but there will always be a scar. Is my neighbor liable for my son’s injuries?
Yes, most likely. Generally, under the Michigan dog bite statute, an owner of a dog is strictly liable if his or her dog bites a person without provocation while the person is lawfully on public or private property, regardless of whether the dog ever bit anyone in the past. Provocation is the only defense.
In your case, since you and your son were lawfully on your neighbor’s property when your son was bitten, the only defense would be whether or not the dog was provoked. This is a somewhat complicated area of the law because provocation can be intentional or unintentional. You should contact me immediately. I offer a free initial consultation.
And remember, we do not get paid unless you win!