You May be Shocked to Learn That… if you are bitten by a vicious dog with a history of violent behavior, depending on where the dog owner lives, you may not recover a dime for your injuries.
As she did every morning, Mary headed out for her 5-mile run. She greeted her neighbors in the rental complex but was wary of one front yard because the dog there always barked viciously when she went by. Luckily, his owner was there and called the dog back, pulling hard on the leash to keep the dog from lunging at Mary.
On her way back, however, she was not so lucky. As she walked past the apartment the dog broke free of his leash and began chasing Mary, who was frightened into running even faster. The dog caught-up to her and attacked, sinking his teeth into her right calf and removing a large portion of muscle and tissue. The owner came running out to grab the dog and bring him back to the house.
The ambulance arrived, staunched the wound and got her to the hospital as fast as possible. The bite had not only punctured the skin and muscle, but had also torn the nerves and tendons in her leg. A few months later, Mary was left with permanent nerve damage and scarring, not to mention exorbitant medical bills.
She consulted a lawyer about suing the dog’s owner but was shocked to learn that in Massachusetts, if you suffer an injury or death because of an attack by a dog that is owned by someone who rents their apartment (rather than owns a house) for which no liability insurance is available, it is unlikely you will be able to recover anything. Massachusetts law does not require a dog owner to carry liability insurance and many dog owners are completely uninsured.