Establishing Liability in Boston Dog Bite Cases

Dog bites can be very painful and expensive to treat, and they may leave permanent scarring or other disfigurement. According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, on average over 6,000 dog bite injuries occur in this state each year. About 150 of these patients end up spending time in the hospital.

Many dog bite victims—or their families working on their behalf—utilize their legal right to hold the dog owner liable in a court of law to help pay for these damages. When establishing liability in Boston dog bite cases, it is usually best to consult with a seasoned dog bite lawyer. An attorney who is familiar with dog bite laws could help victims seek fair compensation for their traumatic and often disfiguring dog bite injuries.

Strict Liability in Dog Bite Cases

Establishing liability in Boston dog bite lawsuits requires understanding that dog owners are responsible for the actions of their dogs, even if the dog’s past temperament or behavior is otherwise perfect. Some states provide protections for dog owners who had no reason to believe their dog was a danger to others the first time their dog injures another party.

However, this “one bite” rule is not the law in Massachusetts. Under Massachusetts General Laws 140 §155, dog owners are strictly liable for injuries caused by their dog, no matter the dog’s past behavior.

Strict Liability Exceptions

There are a few exceptions to this law. If the victim was trespassing, committing another tort, or was teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog at the time of the injury, the dog owner cannot be held liable. In these cases, the victim may not have a valid case or may not be able to recover all their damages.

Using Negligence to Establish Liability for a Dog Bite

Negligence is frequently used to help establish liability in Boston dog bite cases. When a person is not acting in a manner that a reasonable person would in the same or similar circumstances, they may be acting negligently.

A dog owner in this state has a duty of care to keep their dog from biting or otherwise injuring other parties. This may mean keeping the dog away from people, keeping it on a leash, having a fenced yard, or even verbally warning others if they feel their dog is a danger. If the dog then injures another person, the dog owner may have breached their duty as per the strict liability law applicable to Boston.

To the benefit of the defendant, the victim must have an injury that caused damages for a lawsuit to have merit and prove that the dog bite was the direct cause of their injury and damages. Recoverable dog bite damages can include pain and suffering, medical bills, and even disfigurement.

How an Attorney Could Help Show Liability in a Boston Dog Bite Lawsuit

As a plaintiff, establishing liability in Boston dog bite cases is essential to recover compensation. Even though strict liability applies to dog owners, it is important to show the court how and why the defendant is the liable party and that they owe you compensation for your damages.

A knowledgeable lawyer could help you with every aspect of this endeavor. If you are ready to get your case started, call an attorney today, as delays in doing so may limit your future legal options.