Massachusetts Dog Bite Injuries
If you or someone you know has been a victim of a dog bite in Massachusetts, you could be entitled to compensation for your physical and emotional injuries. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, approximately 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year. Of those bites, one in five requires medical attention.
The article below will explore why dogs bite, what you should do if you're ever bitten, common dog bite injuries, the Massachusetts law concerning dog bites, and how a Massachusetts dog bite lawyer can help victims get just compensation for their injuries.
Why Dogs Bite
Dogs are usually happy animals. They make great companions, and they can provide years of love and fulfillment to their owners. Despite this, dogs are still animals that must be understood and respected. Dogs may bite for a variety of reasons, including fear, pain, territorial issues, or simply because they have been improperly trained or socialized. Contrary to popular belief, dogs don't bite out of spite or revenge. In most cases, a dog bites because it feels threatened in some way.
That being said, there are certain circumstances that may increase the likelihood of a dog biting:
Unfamiliar environments and people
Lack of socialization or proper training
Feeling threatened, scared, or provoked
trying to protect their territory or owners
Medical conditions like aggression or rabies
Sensitivity to loud noise, touching, or handling
What can you do to help prevent dog bites?
Always ask permission before petting an unfamiliar dog;
Avoid playing rough games with dogs;
Don't approach an unknown dog while they are eating, sleeping, or chewing on a toy;
Refrain from approaching a dog that appears nervous, scared, or anxious;
Don't stare directly into the eyes of an unfamiliar dog.
What To Do if You're Bitten
If you are unfortunate enough to have been bitten by a dog, here are some steps to take:
• Seek medical attention immediately and document all of your injuries with photos and medical records as soon as possible. Even if the wound appears to be superficial, there may be underlying damage that needs to be addressed or monitored.
• Get the contact information of the dog's owner and any witnesses to the incident.
• Report the bite to your local animal control office.
• Get in touch with a Massachusetts dog bite lawyer who can advise you on what to do next.
Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bites can cause serious physical and emotional injuries, especially to children. Depending on the severity of the incident, an injury could range from minor abrasions and lacerations to punctures or significant tissue loss. In more serious cases, crush injuries or fractures may be suffered as well as sprains and strains and even permanent scars. In addition to physical harm, there is also a risk of contracting infections such as rabies or C canimorsus after being bitten by a dog.
Massachusetts Law Concerning Dog Bites
Massachusetts is a strict liability state when it comes to the law pertaining to dog bites. This means that if you are bitten by a dog, the dog’s owner is legally responsible for any injury or property damage caused by their dog, regardless of whether they had prior knowledge of their pet's aggressive behavior. In other words, you don't have to prove that the owner was negligent in order to receive compensation.
In general, a dog owner is liable for any attack caused by their pet if the victim was bitten while lawfully in a public place or a private residence, with some exceptions. These exceptions include injuries caused by dogs who may have been provoked or scared, as well as those sustained by trespassers on the dog owner’s property.
If the incident was particularly severe or occurred through the negligence of the owner, a Massachusetts dog bite lawyer may be able to help victims seek punitive damages as well. Punitive damages are meant to punish the dog owner for their negligence and deter them from similar behavior in the future.
Victims of dog bites may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, emotional distress, and pain and suffering. The circumstances of the incident and severity of the injuries will determine how much compensation you can expect to receive. With the help of medical records, photos of the injuries, and eyewitness testimony, an experienced Massachusetts dog bite attorney can help prove the full extent of your damages and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
At the Law Office of Patrick J. Regan, we are dedicated to helping victims of dog bites get justice and just compensation for their injuries. With more than 30 years of experience in personal injury law, Attorney Patrick J. Regan is well-equipped to handle all aspects of your case and fight for the best possible outcome for you.
If you or someone you know has been bitten by a dog in Massachusetts, call our office at (978) 744-1220 or fill out our contact form for a free case evaluation. We will discuss your legal options and get working right away to getting you the compensation that you deserve. It's important to know that you have options and resources available to help you through this difficult time.