Dog bite incidents can be extremely traumatic, both physically and emotionally. Boston dog bite attorney Michael O. Smith understands how severe animal attack injuries can be, and is prepared to fight for you if you were bitten by someone else’s pet. Mr. Smith handles a broad range of personal injury matters, including dog bite cases. If a dog bit you, he can help you pursue a claim for you injuries against the dog owner. Contact our office today to discuss your case.Dog Bites in the U.S.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. While most injuries do not require medical care, one in five bites does require some form of medical attention. Dog bites can cause disfigurement, nerve damage, and other devastating injuries. At least 27,000 dog-bite victims needed reconstructive surgery in 2012.
Children in particular are more susceptible to dog bites. The CDC estimates that half of all dog bite victims each year are children. They are more likely to be bitten by dogs than adults, and children between the ages of 5 and 9 have the highest rate of dog bite injuries.Strict Liability for Dog Bites in Massachusetts
If you were bitten by a dog in Massachusetts, you can hold the dog owner accountable for your injuries through a personal injury suit. Dog bite laws vary from state to state. Some states allow a dog to get what is essentially a pass for its first bite. In other words, the dog owner will be liable if he or she knew, or had reason to know, that the dog would bite. Once the dog owner is on notice of the dog’s behavior, he or she is liable for any future dog bites.
Massachusetts, however, does not follow the one-bite rule. Massachusetts has a dog bite statute that holds dog owners strictly liable for dog bites, regardless of whether or not the dog owner is on notice of any previous dog bites. The plaintiff does not have to show negligence on the part of the dog owner. It also does not need to provide evidence of previous bites by the dog or a history of aggression.
A plaintiff, however, must show the following to hold the defendant liable in a dog bite claim:
- Defendant is the owner or keeper of the dog;
- Plaintiff was not trespassing; and
- Plaintiff was not teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog.
If the victim is under the age of seven, there is a rebuttable presumption that the victim was neither trespassing nor tormenting the dog.
Personal injury claims in Massachusetts generally have a three-year statute of limitations. If a dog bit you, it is important that you seek medical attention, and if possible, photograph your injuries and get the dog owner’s information. You should also consult with a dog bite attorney who can begin to build your case and protect your rights as soon as possible.Compensation for Dog Bite Injuries
A victim of a dog bite may recover damages from the dog owner. You can receive compensation for your medical care and treatment, pain and suffering, and more. Some dog bites can be fatal, especially when they involve small children. If your relative was killed by a dog, you can recover damages through a claim for wrongful death. You may be able to recover for your family member’s medical and funeral bills, pain and suffering, and loss of companionship.Dog Bite Attorney Fighting for You
Boston personal injury lawyer Michael O. Smith can provide the dedicated representation you need to hold a dog owner accountable for your injuries. Mr. Smith can advise you on your case and will act quickly to secure your rights. He will work towards a settlement on your behalf, but is prepared to go to trial if necessary. He is committed to giving each client and each case the personalized attention they need to get results. Mr. Smith works with clients throughout the Boston area. Call our office today at 617-263-0060 to schedule an initial consultation at no cost. You can also reach us via our online form.