If a dog injured you or a loved one, you may have an injury claim against the dog’s owner. If you were injured by a dog while on someone’s property with permission or injured in a public place, the dog owner might be responsible for your injuries. Spada Law Group can represent you after a dog bite injury and after other injuries caused by dogs.
Come in for a free consultation to learn your legal options, and we can explain the best route depending on your situation and injuries. Call us to schedule a free consultation today: (617) 889-5000.
When a Dog Owner is Responsible for a Dog Bite Injury or Other Dog Injury in Massachusetts
When a dog bites you or your child, the dog’s owner should be held responsible for the harm it caused. Massachusetts has one of the strictest dog bite laws in the country, particularly when a child is bitten. Our personal injury attorneys can help make sure the law is applied when a dog attacks you or a family member.
When a dog bites someone, in most cases, you will file a claim with the dog owner’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. It is important to note that the insurance policy will compensate you for your medical care and injuries. Even if you are hurt by a neighbor, friend or family member’s dog, a lawsuit for injuries will not require the dog owner to pay out of pocket. Their insurance company will provide coverage for your injuries. In fact, we’ve even pursued claims against a victim's sibling for dog injuries before.
Massachusetts Law Protects Dog Bite Victims and Dog Injury Victims
Massachusetts has one of the strictest dog bite laws in the entire country. Massachusetts’ dog bite statute states that if a dog harms you, the dog’s owner is liable for any damage or injury the dog causes you. In Massachusetts, owners are responsible for any harm a dog causes, “any damage to either the body or property of any person,” not just for bite injuries.
It doesn’t matter if this is the first dog bite incident or if the dog has never shown aggression before. The dog’s owner is still liable for any harm it causes. The Massachusetts statute is strict liability, meaning that if a dog hurts someone, the owner is responsible even if they acted responsibly.
If you are injured while on someone’s property when you had an invitation, or an implied invitation, the dog’s owner is liable for your injuries. Suppose you order something online, and UPS, FedEx, Amazon, or another delivery person delivers it. In that case, you owe them a duty because they have an implied invitation to come onto your property to deliver the package.
Any person on your property to perform a service is also owed a duty of reasonable safety from your dog.
What if You Were Partially at Fault for Your Dog Bite Injury?
If the dog bite victim was trespassing on the dog owner’s property or teasing or abusing the dog, those actions can be considered an exception to the law and may make a dog owner not liable for a victim’s injuries.
If the dog bite victim is a child under seven years old, it doesn’t matter if the child was trespassing or teasing the dog. Massachusetts law holds that young children are not responsible for their behavior towards the dog and that it is up to the dog’s owner to control the animal around children.
Types of Injuries in Dog Bite Cases and Dog Injury Cases in Massachusetts
Dog bites are not the only type of injury that dogs can cause in Massachusetts. If a dog causes your injury, no matter the type of injury, you may be able to recover.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year, and 800,000 of them require medical attention. More than 50% of dog bite victims are children. Any size or breed of dog can attack and bite a person — it’s not the dog’s breed that makes it aggressive, but the way that it is raised and treated, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. No specific breed of dog is “safe.” Dogs that are unfamiliar with or uncomfortable around people, especially young children, might be uncharacteristically aggressive or defensive.
Large and small dogs can cause a great deal of harm. Even if a dog did not bite you, you could be knocked over or otherwise injured by a dog.
Common Injuries Caused by Dogs in Massachusetts Include:
- Head Injuries: A dog may cause you to trip or fall and hit your head.
- Permanent Scarring or Disfigurement from a Dog Bite: If you were bit by a dog, its teeth can tear your skin, tissue, and muscles and cause serious scarring or disfigurement. Particularly prevalent is facial scarring and disfigurement.
- Infections: If you were bit or scratched by a dog, its teeth or nails could cause an infection. Dogs carry dangerous bacteria in their mouths, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which is resistant to antibiotics and can cause a life-threatening infection, and Clostridium tetani, which causes tetanus.
- Eye Injuries: If a dog scratched your eye, it could impair your vision.
- Arm and Leg Injuries: When a dog attacks someone, it is very common that they try to protect themselves by hitting or kicking the dog, or by covering their face or body with their arms and legs. This can lead to skin tears, cuts, muscle damage, or even fractures or broken bones.
- Rabies: After any type of dog attack, the possibility of rabies is an extreme concern. Rabies is deadly and has a short time window for effective treatment.
- Emotional Injuries: You may experience fear and pain after a dog attack. Suffering from anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder after a dog attack injury is common.
- Diseases: You could catch rabies or other diseases commonly carried by dogs.
- Other Damages: Damage to nerves, tendons, tissues, and bones is common in dog bite and injury cases.
Damages Available in a Boston or Massachusetts Dog Bite or Injury Claim
Victims of dog bites, dog attacks, and other dog-related injuries can require extensive medical treatment and have lasting consequences. Every injury is unique, but there are common categories of damages.
- Medical bills
- Plastic surgery
- Physical therapy
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Other Miscellaneous expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent scarring to disfigurement
- Developing a mental health disorder (anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, severe fear of dogs)
- Loss of quality of life
- Social anxiety or even humiliation due to the visibility of the dog injuries
How to Win a Dog Bite or Dog Injury Claim in Boston or Massachusetts
Even if a dog never showed signs of aggression and had no history of hurting people, a Massachusetts dog owner can still be held liable for your injuries.
The dog owner’s homeowner’s liability insurance policy may cover your injuries. We negotiate with the insurance company and attorneys for the other side to get a settlement that compensates you for your injuries. Most cases settle, but if our lawyers cannot get a reasonable settlement, we can take the matter to court.
To file a successful dog bite injury claim in Massachusetts, you must prove:
- Who owns the dog or who was responsible for the dog at the time of the attack or injury
- The owner allowed you to be on the property when the dog bit you (or that you were in a public place)
- Your injuries resulted from the dog (either a dog bite or some other action).
- The attack was not solely caused by provoking the dog (If the injured victim is a child under seven years old, this factor doesn’t apply).
If a Dog Bite or Dog Injury Claim Doesn’t Work, We Can File A Lawsuit
Suppose the dog owner’s insurance company doesn’t offer a fair settlement amount. In that case, Spada Law Group can file a lawsuit against the insurance company to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
Spada Law Group will investigate the incident, gather all necessary evidence, interview eyewitnesses, discuss the case with medical experts, manage all communications with the insurance company, handle all negotiations, and more.
Massachusetts statute of limitations for all personal injury lawsuits is three years. That means a lawsuit must be filed within three years from the date of the injury.
If you lose a loved one due to a dog attack, we can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the dog’s owner. While not very common, a wrongful death lawsuit for a dog bite or dog injury is also possible. An average of 34 people are killed by dogs each year, according to statistics tracked by DogsBite.org.
How Spada Law Group’s Dog Bite and Dog Injury Attorneys can Help
If you live in the Greater Boston area or anywhere in Massachusetts and were attacked by a dog, our personal injury attorneys can help. We know the law and will fight to get you the compensation you need to recover from your injuries.
We understand that you may be reluctant to sue a friend or neighbor. Still, it is important to realize that dog owners usually have coverage for these kinds of injuries under their homeowner’s insurance policies. Dog bite treatments—including emergency room visits, plastic surgery, and ongoing counseling for trauma—are expensive, and you shouldn't have to pay for this care out of your own pocket. Schedule a free consultation with our attorneys if a dog injured you or your child.
Injured By A Dog in Boston or Massachusetts? Reach out for a FREE Consultation With A Dog Bite and Dog Injury Lawyer
Dog bite and dog injury cases can be quite serious. Injuries from a dog bite can be life-changing.
If you or a loved one were a victim of a dog bite or dog injury in Massachusetts, you have rights and may be able to get compensation for your medical bills, time lost from work, pain and suffering, and more. Our dog bite attorneys are here to guide you every step of the way.
Over the last three decades, we’ve helped thousands of people in Massachusetts get the recovery they need after a dog attack injury. Recently, Boston Magazine named Attorney Spada one of Boston’s Top Personal Injury Lawyers. As personal injury lawyers, you never pay us a penny until we win your case. We’re here and ready to help.
We have three offices but proudly serve the entire state with the ability to meet with you remotely from the comfort of your own home. Contact us for a free consultation so we can learn more about your dog bite or dog injury case and see how we can help you get the recovery you deserve after your situation occurs.