MASSACHUSETTS DOG INJURY ATTORNEYS
At Dolan Connly, P.C. we represent children and adults who have been injured as the result of bites and other injuries caused by dogs. Aside from severe physical injuries, which can include scarring, disfigurement and infection, injuries caused by dogs often cause emotional distress for both the injured person and their family. Injured persons also suffer damages such as lost wages when they are unable to work.
Under Massachusetts law, you have the right to file a claim against the owner of a dog that bites or injures you. It is not required that the dog actually bite you. If the dog causes you to trip and fall, or causes other injuries without touching you, you have a right to file a claim.
What is the dog bite law?
In Massachusetts, dog owners are held to a higher duty of care. The law states that a dog owner (or keeper) is strictly liable for bites or other injuries caused by his/her dog. This law applies unless the injured person was abusing or tormenting the dog.
What does this mean?
The Massachusetts dog bite law means that the owner of a dog is automatically liable for injuries caused by his/her dog. This mean that even if the dog's owner took reasonable care to restrain the dog or to prevent it from harming someone, the owner is still liable for any injuries caused by the dog. For example, if the owner took steps to secure the dog on a leash, but the dog gets loose and bites someone, the owner can still be held liable for the resulting injuries. If a dog knocks someone down or causes someone to fall off a bicycle, the dog's owner can be held liable for the resulting injuries.
Do you have to prove the dog was dangerous or aggressive before it hurt you?
No. It does not matter if the dog has not acted aggressively before or if the dog had not bitten anyone before. If the dog causes an injury and even if it was the dog's first injury, the owner can be held liable. The only exception to this strict liability dog bite law is if the injury was caused because the injured person was intentionally abusing or tormenting the dog.
Is there insurance to cover injuries caused by dogs?
Dogs usually live with their owners or keepers at their homes. As a result, if the owner has a homeowner's insurance policy, then that insurance policy covers bodily injuries, lost wages and other damages to a person injured by the owner's dog. These insurance policies can also contain clauses that provide medical payment coverage to the person injured by a dog. The same insurance policy that applies if a person is injured on the homeowner's property, also applies to injuries caused by the homeowner's dog. The homeowner's insurance policy even covers injuries caused by a dog that do not occur on the homeowner's property. For example, if the dog injures someone on a public sidewalk, a street or at some other location, the dog owner is still liable and the homeowner's insurance policy offers coverage to the injured person.
TYPES OF INJURIES CAUSED BY DOGS:
DOGS CAN BITE
We all know dogs to be beloved pets but, we also know that sometimes dogs bite and cause serious personal injuries. Most of these injuries happen to people who are unfamiliar with the dog. Dog bites to both adults and children can cause scarring, disfigurement, infection and psychological trauma. Dog bites sustained by children, because of their small size, are frequently on the face.
DOGS CAN CAUSE FALLS
Dogs do not have to bite to cause injuries. Dogs can cause serious personal injuries when they jump on a person or when they bump into and knock a person to the ground. We have all seen two dogs get into an altercation. The owners of the dogs try to separate them and in the process, sometimes people are injured. These types of injuries are also covered by the Massachusetts dog bite law and the dog owner's homeowner's insurance policy.
DOGS CAN ATTACK
Dogs have also been known to attack and scare joggers, bicyclists and pedestrians. A charging dog can cause a person to sustain injuries while the person is trying to get away from the dog. These types of injuries are also covered by the Massachusetts dog bite law and the dog owner's homeowner's insurance policy.
MASSACHUSETTS DOG BITE LAWYERS
At Dolan Connly, P.C. we have over twenty years of experience in handling cases involving injuries caused by dogs. Below is just a sample of the variety of claims and cases we have handled for clients who suffered injuries and other damages caused by dogs.
A client sustained a dog bite in the course of his employment as an electrician. The client was working on an electrical project outside a home when he was asked by the homeowner to enter the home to look at another project. The homeowner did not restrain his Weimaraner dog while our client was in the home, despite knowing the dog was not comfortable with unfamiliar people being present in the residence. When our client was in the process of walking from one room to another, the dog unexpectedly bit him in the back of his leg. The client tried to get the dog to unlock its grip on his leg and in the process, he twisted his back. In addition to the dog bite, the client sustained significant injuries to his low back, hip and groin, including radiating pain into his legs and feet. The client underwent treatment including fusion surgery to his back and hip surgery to repair a labral tear. The client also lost wages due to his inability to work after the incident and filed a workers' compensation claim. We represented the client in litigation filed against the homeowner. This litigation was settled during mediation for $750,000.00.
A teenage boy sustained bite injuries and loss of a tooth when bitten in the face by a neighbor's dog. The boy was on the dog owner's property and went to pet the dog when it jumped up and bit at his face impacting his braces. Luckily, the tooth was replaced by his dentist and the client's face was not permanently scarred. This claim was settled for $95,000.00.
A postal worker who was delivering mail went to close the front gate of a yard when the homeowner's dog bit at his finger. The bite was a small break in the skin of his finger that developed into a cellulitis infection which extended into his left hand and then up into his arm. The case settled shortly after it was filed in Court for $70,000.00.
A jogger who ran on a sidewalk was nipped at by a small sickly-looking dog. Because the client was unable to contact the dog's owner, the client was administered the Rabies Vaccine. We were able to locate the dog's owner and it was later determined the dog did not have rabies. The claim settled for $20,000.00.