Even when we believe a dog would not hurt even a fly, a friendly household pet may nonetheless find cause to attack someone in certain unfortunate circumstances. Furthermore, while some dog bites are fairly innocuous, others can lead to serious injuries or, in rare cases, even death.
If a dog bit you because the owner was negligent in some way, you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries—and accordingly, you might benefit from a consultation with a Roxbury dog bite lawyer. An adept personal injury attorney could advise you on your rights in such circumstances and help you pursue financial recovery for your damages. En Español.
In some states, a dog owner may be absolved from liability when a dog bites someone for the first time and the owner has no reason to believe the dog is aggressive or violent. However, Massachusetts is not a state that follows that rule. Massachusetts generally imposes strict liability upon dog owners for injuries caused by a bite, even if the owner had no reason to suspect their dog had a propensity to bite someone.
According to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 140 §155, an owner is liable for injuries caused by a dog bite unless the injured party was trespassing or otherwise provoked the dog into biting them. If the injured party is under age seven, it is presumed that they are innocent of any contributory negligence and the owner bears the burden of proof to establish otherwise.
In certain circumstances, determining fault for a biting incident may be complicated. As mentioned above, one possible example of an exception to strict liability is where the injured party provoked the dog into biting.
It is important to establish fault appropriately because of Massachusetts’ modified comparative negligence law. Listed under MA Gen L ch 231 §85, this law bars recovery by an injured claimant where that person is more than 50 percent responsible for their own injury. If the claimant is deemed 50 percent or less responsible for the accident, the law allows them to recover but permits the court to reduce their damage award by the amount of negligence attributable to them.
Thus, if an injured party in a dog bite case suffered $1,000 in damages but was deemed 40 percent responsible for the biting incident by the court, their recovery would be limited to $600. A Roxbury dog bite attorney could assist in determining the likelihood of recovery in a given case.
For negligence claims such as a dog bite incident, Massachusetts generally imposes a three-year statute of limitations under MA Gen L ch 260 §4. It is therefore advisable to have a prompt discussion with a skilled lawyer as soon as possible after such an injury occurs to avoid missing crucial filing deadlines and being barred from recovery.
Damages vary in dog bite cases, but those which might be available may include both economic and non-economic damages. A Roxbury dog bite lawyer could help determine the extent of a damage claim arising from a dog bite incident and what forms of restitution a bite victim may be eligible to receive, such as:
As much as people believe dogs are a man’s best friend, dogs can and do attack sometimes. Unfortunately, dog bites can cause significant damage, possibly leading to permanent scarring and other injuries.
If you suffered injuries from a dog bite, you could benefit from a discussion with a Roxbury dog bite lawyer. Legal professionals could assess your situation and help ensure your rights against the dog owner and other responsible parties are upheld. Call today to schedule a consultation and get started on your case.