A dog can be man’s best friend, right up until they aren’t. There are few things more traumatic and terrifying than a dog attack. A dog bite can cause serious injury with lifelong consequences, especially if a bone is broken, a nerve is damaged, or the wound gets infected. Medical recoveries and psychological healing can be both expensive and extensive, and dog bite victims might not be able to pay for everything on their own.
Strict Liability for Dog Attacks
In Massachusetts, the dog bite statute (Chapter 140, Section 155) asserts that the state uses a “strict liability” rule. Under strict liability, an owner can almost-always be held accountable and financially liable for the damage their pets cause. Even if a small dog that had no prior aggressive tendencies bites someone, and that dog is on a leash and on their owner’s property, the owner can be held liable.
There are three situations where a dog bite or attack can be legally “overlooked”:
- The dog bites someone trespassing illegally.
- The dog bites someone committing a crime, usually one that involves creating a dangerous situation, such as assault.
- The dog bites a person who intentionally provoked or harmed the dog first.
Even the aforementioned stipulations are open to interpretation on a case-by-case basis. For example, if you were looking for a friend’s house, entered a stranger’s yard, saw no warning signs regarding a dog on the property, and were subsequently attacked, you could probably still file a lawsuit against the owner. It is unreasonably dangerous to train an animal to attack on sight and not take better steps to keep it contained.
The dog bite claim of Massachusetts also extends to any harm caused by the intentional behavior of a canine. Many large dogs like to knock people over as a form of play. Even though it is not malicious, it can cause serious harm to someone, especially if they are older or were on concrete at the time. A dog’s owner can be held financially liable for any damages related to such an incident.
If you were hurt by a dog in any way in Massachusetts, let our Worcester personal injury attorney know during a free initial consultation. With the help of the Law Office of Robert W. Kovacs, Jr. you may be able to secure maximum compensation for your injuries.