Massachusetts Dog Bite Attorney
Dogs are often our beloved friends and companions, but when they attack, they can leave physical and emotional scars. Dog bite injuries should be taken seriously, as these can cause scarring, trauma, disfigurement, and other lifelong consequences. Thousands of people seek emergency medical treatment for dog attacks each year, and children are particularly at risk for these injuries. It is even possible that a dog attack can be life-threatening or fatal.
These attacks can also incur expensive medical bills, and you should not be responsible for paying these unexpected costs. If you or a loved one has been attacked by a dog, you deserve compensation to cover your medical expenses. Our Medford dog bite attorneys at Brooks Law can help you take legal action, and can help you recover the damages you are owed for your injuries.
Get the help you need. Contact Brooks Law.
Liability for Dog Bites
In many instances, the owner of a dog is responsible for injuries caused by the animal. There are exceptions, however, so it is important to get help with your claim from a qualified personal injury attorney. Massachusetts has a statute that handles dog-related injuries, which holds the owner or handler of the dog responsible for injuries that were caused, provided that the victim was not trespassing, committing another tort, or provoking the dog.
This law applies not only to dog bites, but also other injuries caused by a dog. These injuries can include:
- Fall injuries from being knocked down
- Scratches or cuts
- Facial injuries
- Puncture wounds
Under Massachusetts dog bite laws, property damage is also the responsibility of the owner or handler. Injured livestock or other pets, broken fences, and chewed personal items may also be protected by these statutes.
In Massachusetts, dog bites are considered to be strict liability. This means that the dog owner is still responsible for the injuries caused by their dog, even if they had no prior knowledge that the dog may bite or cause injury. The victim of a dog bite does not need to prove that the owner was negligent or responsible for the injury, only that the dog that caused the injury belonged to them.
Supporting Your Claim
It is not necessary to prove that the owner had prior knowledge that the dog may have been dangerous, but it may support your case if you are able to prove that. There is a reasonable risk when it comes to animals. Even the best behaved dogs can bite when scared or injured, and animals can behave unpredictably. But certain factors can increase the risk of a dog attack or injury. These can include:
- Threatening behavior: Growling, lunging, baring teeth, barking aggressively, chasing people, and other behaviors can be indications of an aggressive animal.
- Jumping: Even friendly dogs may jump and cause injury, but jumping can also signal behavioral or training issues.
- Dog fighting or protective training: It is illegal to train a dog to fight in Massachusetts, but some dogs are illegally trained. Dogs that have been trained for guarding or personal protection may also attack.
- Complaints about prior behaviors: Dogs with prior complaints regarding their behavior often do attack or injure people.
- Dangerous breeds: Any breed of dog can become dangerous, but specific breeds have a higher risk than others. Commonly, breeds such as pit bulls, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers, and other breeds that have been bred for defense are considered “dangerous breeds.”
Evidence to Support Your Claim
The ownership or keepership of the dog must be established in order to hold the owner responsible. Often, owners or keepers will identify themselves, but if they do not, there may be other ways to locate the owner of the animal. Registration forms, microchip registration information, and veterinary records may be used to identify the animal’s owner.
Keepership can be more difficult to prove. Keepership is temporary possession of the animal for the purpose of providing some form of care, such a boarder, veterinary employee, or a groomer. Keepers of the animal are responsible for its behavior until the owner resumes custody and control again. Records from professionals such as veterinarians, groomers, or other animal care professionals may be used to prove that the dog was entrusted to their care at the time of the injury.
Medical records can be used as evidence of your injuries. Ambulance bills, imaging results, doctor’s notes, and other records can demonstrate the severity of your injuries. Police reports may be used to support your testimony as well.
Compassionate Legal Support from Andover Dog Bite Attorneys
At Brooks Law, we understand the stress and frustration that can occur when you are faced with a personal injury claim. Our team is dedicated to helping our clients through this difficult time, and we will work tirelessly to help our clients understand their case and answer their questions. We are proud to offer our clients personalized, unique solutions for their legal needs. Our Andover personal injury lawyers also offer services in Portuguese and Spanish.