Even the most docile animals can be unpredictable. Dogs who are triggered to attack may seem like otherwise kind animals, however, the right type of provocation, whether intentional or not, can lead dogs to attack quickly and without hesitation. Such attacks can lead to serious contusions, puncture wounds, broken bones, or even death. If you were injured by a dog bite after the dog was provoked, make sure you understand your rights and how the court may view the case.
What is Provocation?
A provoked animal can be prompted to bite when it might not have otherwise, or it might make the animal become more aggressive. Such instances can sometimes affect liability in a personal injury case. A dog might be provoked by gestures, verbal taunts, physical contact, or other potentially threatening behavior. Besides these obvious behaviors, people might also unknowingly provoke a dog to attack. For example, stepping on a dog’s tail, going near a favorite dog toy or food bowl, or moving between a dog and its owner could inadvertently provoke aggressive behavior.
Does Provocation Affect Liability?
According to Michigan’s “strict liability” statute, an owner is responsible for the actions of his or her animal if it attacks or harms someone when it is not provoked. This rule applies no matter where the attack takes place and regardless of whether or not this incident is the dog’s first attack. However, if a dog is provoked, is the owner still considered liable? Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer. Liability for dog bites and attacks typically vary on a case by case basis. If you were involved in a dog attack where the animal may have been provoked, it is important to seek counsel with an experienced dog bite attorney immediately.
Are Children an Exception?
When it comes to provoked animal attacks, the responsibility of children is debatable. Children, especially young children, are not always fully aware of the impacts of their actions, and what in their mind may be considered play might be considered aggression from the perspective of the dog. If a child approaches the dog and attempts to pet it, the child technically provoked the dog. However, if the owner was aware the animal could potentially be aggressive or dangerous towards children, the owner had a responsibility to warn the child away or keep the animal restrained.
If you or someone you love was injured in a dog attack, especially when the animal was provoked, it is important to seek legal help immediately. An experienced dog bite lawyer can review your case and help gather evidence to protect your rights and seek compensation for the injury you suffered. Instead of attempting to fight the legal battle alone, choose to work with a skilled attorney you can trust.
Contact Goodman Acker P.C. today to get started on your Detroit personal injury case.
Diana Lewis for Goodman Acker: Dog Bite Injuries & Provocation
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