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In the United States, dog bites injure about 1,000 people each day, and they require medical treatment for their wounds. Dog bite laws vary from state to state.
The Massachusetts dog bite law dictates that the dog owner or party in control of a dog who causes injury or death to another person is strictly liable. This means the dog owners or parties in control of the dog are legally obligated to compensate that victim for the injuries and losses suffered in the attack.
Notice that the law says the owner or caretaker is responsible for all injuries, not just those caused by a dog bite. If a dog attacks and injures someone without ever actually biting the person, the owner is responsible for these injuries.
If you have been injured by a dog, schedule a free consultation with Parker Scheer LLP today.
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How Do Attorneys Prove Fault in Dog Bite Cases?
Unlike other kinds of personal injury cases, which require the plaintiff to prove fault on the part of the defendant, a victim of a dog attack requires far less proof. The victim need only show that the dog inflicted the injuries (as opposed to by some other cause) and did not result from the “teasing or tormenting” of the dog prior to the attack.
The victim will also need to prove that he was not trespassing at the time of the accident. In many instances, a homeowner’s insurance policy, held by the dog’s owner at the time of the attack, will provide coverage to the victim for the injuries and any losses sustained.
Furthermore, in Massachusetts, if the victim is a minor under the age of seven at the time of the attack, it is presumed that the victim did not perform any “teasing or tormenting” and the full burden of proof falls on the defendant.
What is Scienter, Negligence, and Negligence Per Se in Massachusetts Dog Bite Cases?
Victims in Suffolk County and throughout the state also have the option to use the other reasons for liability, which are scienter, negligence, and negligence per se. Scienter is the knowledge that the dog has previously acted in a manner similar to the one at hand. For example, that the dog who bit the victim has a history of biting people.
Negligence refers to the actions the dog’s caretaker did not take that should have been taken, or any unreasonable actions they did take. It can also refer to the absence of the ordinary care that should have been taken with the dog. When the dog’s caretaker violates an animal control law, regardless of whether he or she is the dog’s owner, it is negligence per se. An example of this would be violating a leash law.
Which Dog Breeds Are the Most Dangerous?
Every dog in this state is capable of attacking someone under certain circumstances. However, there are certain dog breeds that are more likely to be provoked to attack. Some of the dog breeds that have attacked the most people include Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Cane Corsos, German Shepards, Jack Russell Terriers, Bulldogs, Great Danes, Boxers, and Pit Bulls.
What Are the Most Common Dog Bite Injuries?
The dog bite attorneys at Parker Scheer LLP have extensive experience representing adults and children injured by dogs in Massachusetts. Victims of a dog attack can experience a wide range of injuries, and often experience both physical and psychological harm. Some of the most common injuries include the following:
- Bites: Puncture and tear wounds caused by dog bites harm the skin and flesh of the victim and can lead to severe scarring or partial amputation of fingers or toes. If puncture wounds are not properly treated after a dog attack, the wounds can become infected and lead to serious health complications.
- Facial Scarring: The face is the most commonly attacked part of the body. These wounds can lead to scars and disfigurement that last a lifetime and will require painful, costly reconstructive surgeries to try and conceal the damage.
- Head Injury: These injuries most commonly result from being knocked over or into something by the dog, resulting in an injury to the head. The severity of this injury can range from a small bump to a brain injury.
- Broken or Fractured Bones: Similar to head injuries, these usually result from being knocked over or pulled down while attempting to run away from the dog.
- Emotional Injury: For many people, the emotional injuries sustained in a dog attack are more painful than the physical injuries. People who have been injured by a dog may experience flashbacks or post-traumatic stress disorder. Children may be the most vulnerable to emotional injuries after a dog attack. In fact, children often have a hard time becoming comfortable around dogs again after an attack.
- Death: Dog attacks result in approximately 18 deaths across the United States each year.
These injuries can completely disrupt a person’s life. If you have sustained any of these injuries, contact our team right away to discuss your case.
Contact Our Dog Bite Law Firm Discuss Your Case Today
If you have been bitten or attacked by a dog, contact us for a free confidential case review and receive a response within hours. You can also call our office at (617) 886-0500.
Some of our other practice areas include car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, wrongful death, medical malpractice, pedestrian accidents, and slip and fall accidents. You will not need to pay any legal fees until we have helped you recover damages.