Are Dog Owners Liable For Dog Bite Injuries In Massachusetts?

Dog attacks can occur almost anywhere ― in a park, in a friend's home, on a sidewalk or any place people and dogs are together. However, if you or a loved one is ever the victim of a vicious dog attack or dog bite, you may be asking yourself, "Who is responsible for my injuries?"

Well, the short answer is that, under Massachusetts law, dog owners are strictly liable for all injuries and/or damages caused when their dogs attack, including damages related to lost wages and medical expenses.

The Massachusetts statute that governs dog liability is one of the strongest in the country ― offering personal injury victims a great deal of legal protection, regardless of whether you were bitten, scratched or knocked down by a dog. In fact, under this statute, dog owners may be liable even if they are not actually negligent.

For instance, there are only three things you need to show in order to collect compensation for your dog-attack injuries:

  • The injuries you sustained were caused by a dog
  • The person you seek to hold liable is the dog's owner or keeper, which is anyone who exercises care, custody or control over the dog
  • At the time of the dog attack, you were not trespassing, committing an illegal act, or teasing or abusing the dog

Importantly, if the dog attack victim is under the age of seven, the law presumes he or she was not trespassing or tormenting the dog at the time of attack ― meaning the burden is on the dog owner to prove such actions occurred.

If you are the victim of a dog attack or bite, the dedicated and experienced lawyers at Goldberg & Weigand, LLP, are available to explain your options, protect your rights and help you collect the compensation your deserve. Contact us today to schedule your FREE initial consultation. You can reach us online or call us 24 hours a day at 508-775-9099. We help dog-bite victims from Hyannis to New Bedford and Southeastern Massachusetts, including Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.

We Help Explore All Of Your Legal Options

In the rare instances when the dog-bite statute does not apply ― such as when the person at fault is not the dog's owner or keeper ― you still have legal options. For instance, you may still be able to seek damages under the old common law rule, which establishes liability when it is known that a dog is dangerous or has violent tendencies.

In any case, it is important to remember that you may be entitled triple the amount of your actual damages if a court or hearing authority has previously deemed a dog dangerous before you were ever attacked.

These are merely a few of the many legal issues you need to be aware of if you are the victim of a dog attack. Given the complexity of these laws, you will need an experienced attorney to guide you through the process. You need Goldberg & Weigand, LLP.

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