Being bitten by a dog can result in serious injury. You may suffer from permanent scarring, the bite mark can get infected causing much greater injury, and if the bite is severe enough, it can even break bones. When a person is seriously injured by a dog bite, they often wonder if they can sue the dog owner to receive compensation for their injuries. In Dorchester, the answer is almost always yes, with only a few exceptions.
Massachusetts is a strict liability state, meaning that dog owners are responsible for any injuries their dog causes. This is the case even if the dog has not bitten anyone in the past, and even if the owner tried to control or restrain the dog to prevent injury. This is unlike other states that have a “one bite rule,” which means that dog owners cannot be sued the first time their dog bites someone.
When an injured individual wishes to file a lawsuit for a dog bite, the dog’s owner is not the only possible plaintiff. Under Massachusetts law, a keeper of a dog may also be held liable for a dog bite or injury if the dog was in their care and custody at the time. For example, if the dog was under the care of a vet or a dog walker at the time, that person may be the one to file a lawsuit against.
There are only a few instances in which a dog owner may not be liable when their dog bites someone. These include when the injured individual was trespassing on the dog owner’s property, committing another wrongful act such as breaking into a vehicle or provoking the dog. If the injured individual was not behaving in any of these ways, they only need to prove that the dog caused the injury.
It is also important for those injured to remember that a dog does not need to bite them in order to file a lawsuit to claim compensation. Again, they must only prove that the dog caused them to sustain injury. This means that if a large dog jumps on a person on a sidewalk and that person falls and hits their head, they could still sue for a dog bite and claim compensation for their injuries.
Filing a personal injury lawsuit against another person is never easy, even when the laws are as clear as they are when they pertain to dog bites in Dorchester. For example, your homeowner’s insurance company may become involved, which can always present a challenge. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, not paying out large or even fair settlements to good people who suffer an injury.
For this reason, when it comes to the question of whether you can sue for a dog bite, you should speak to a dedicated dog bite attorney to be sure about your options. A lawyer could speak to the insurance company on your behalf and help you get an accurate estimate of current and future expenses and pursue the full amount of compensation you may be entitled to through your dog bite lawsuit