In America today, it’s impossible to walk down the street without seeing a dog. Indeed, Americans love their pets, and it’s estimated that there are about 90 million dogs sharing homes with humans in our country. While, most of the time, humans and dogs interact in a way that is not only peaceful, but also mutually beneficial, this isn’t always the case. To be sure, there are approximately 4.5 million dog bites reported per year in the country.
Being attacked by a dog can be a frightening experience, and may leave a person with serious physical and psychological injuries. If you’ve been attacked by a dog in Massachusetts, here’s a look into what you should know about dog bite liability in our state–
Dog Owners Held Strictly Liable for Damages in Massachusetts
Some states require that a dog bite victim prove that the dog owner knew of the dog’s propensity for violence (based on past behavior) in order to hold the dog owner liable for damages caused by their dog – Massachusetts is not one of them. To be sure, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 140 Section 155 reads that the owner or keeper of a dog should be held liable for damages caused to another by their dog; there is no requirement that the victim proves negligence. This is called a strict liability statute.
Defenses to Strict Liability
There are a few instances where a dog owner can argue that they shouldn’t be held liable for the actions of their dog based on the dog bite victim’s actions. Defenses to the strict liability rule, also found in Massachusetts General Laws, include:
- The person’s property or body weren’t actually damaged/injured;
- The person who was bitten was trespassing or committing another tort at the time of the attack; or
- The person who was attacked was teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog.
The statute continues to read that if the victim was a minor child age six or under, it will be presumed that the child was not trespassing, committing a tort, or teasing or abusing the dog.
Recovering Compensation After a Dog Bite
A dog bite can result in significant damages. Including fractured bones, scarring and disfigurement, traumatic brain injuries, and psychological harm. These losses are expensive to treat and can be limiting. A person who is attacked by a dog may need to take time off of work while they heal, resulting in lost wages. They may also face permanent disability or disfigurement in some cases.
Our lawyers at the office of Tetzel Law, LLC want to help you recover compensation for the full value of your losses, both economic and noneconomic, following a dog bite. We can help you to build your case, prove that the dog owner should be held liable, and negotiate your settlement.
Call Our Law Firm Now
To start the process of filing your dog bite claim and recovering the compensation that you deserve, please call our law firm today at (617) 933-3858 or send us a message directly. We offer free consultations for all personal injury claims.