At the Greater Boston Law Firm of Altman & Altman, LLP, we understand that a dog bite can be both a physically and an emotionally traumatic event, often resulting in serious injuries, scarring, disfigurement, nerve damage, or death. In addition, these attacks can cause permanent psychological harm. In many cases, the victim of a dog bite in Massachusetts has a legal right to recover damages.
Dogs that bite are often showing a form of aggression. This may be dominance aggression, which is typically shown to a family member who has tried to pet, hold, pick up, or remove something from the dog, or disturbs it while it is sleeping.
Defensive or fear aggression happens when a dog is scared and lashes out at a known or unknown person who comes up to the dog too fast or too closely. When unknown people approach the dog's owner or home and a dog attacks, it is considered protective or territorial aggression.
A dog, or a group of dogs, can bite small animals or children. This is called predatory aggression. If a dog is hurt or in pain, it can show pain–elicited aggression to those it knows or does not know.
Dogs who bite family, strangers, or other animals may also be showing redirected aggression, which is when someone tries to pet or go near a dog when it is aggressive for another reason (i.e., barking at another person or thing besides the one approaching it). Regardless of the motive, dog bite injuries fall under strict liability law. If you or a loved one is a victim of a dog bite, you have a claim against the dog owner, which is often made through the homeowner's insurance policy.
Legal Rights of Dog Bite Victims in Massachusetts
If you have been attacked or bitten by a dog in Massachusetts and have suffered injuries, the owner of the dog may be held liable under MA law - Massachusetts is a strict liability state with respect to dog bites. The owner does not need to be negligent in order to be held responsible for the damages caused by the dog. In addition, it is not necessary to prove that the dog is vicious or has caused any injuries in the past. It is, however, necessary to prove the defendant's ownership of the dog, that there was no trespassing, and that the victim did not provoke the dog.
In addition, children under the age of 7 are typically presumed to have not trespassed, teased, tormented or abused a dog, though it may be challenged.
What to Do After a Dog Bite or Attack
First, know which animal bit you, particularly if it is a stray or an animal with an owner. If you don't know, you may need to be tested and treated for rabies. Next, seek medical attention. If you have a facial wound, ensure that a plastic surgeon, rather than an emergency room doctor, closes the wound in the most cosmetic way possible. Follow all medical advice for wound treatment and healing.
If the dog's owner, or the owner's insurance rep contacts you, only ask for the name of the insurance company, address, phone number, claim number, the name of the insured person, and the amount of money for medical expenses. Do not talk about anything else money–related, make an appointment, agree to be photographed or tape recorded, or write or sign any document until you have retained your own attorney.
The person bitten should also try to get the name and address of the dog's owner, dog license information if possible, and the contact information of any witnesses. Photograph all injuries and bloody clothing as a result. If, on the other hand, your dog bites someone, there are also things you can do.
MA Dog Bite Attorneys at the Law Firm of Altman & Altman, LLP
For over 40 years, the Greater Boston Law Firm of Altman & Altman, LLP has been providing clients with outstanding legal representation throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Our experienced attorneys will handle every aspect of your Massachusetts Dog Bite Lawsuit or Claim and will stand by your side during every stage of the process. We will not hesitate to take your dog bite case to trial if an acceptable settlement agreement cannot be reached.
Our experienced Boston Dog Bite Lawyers have successfully handled numerous dog bite claims, recovering damages for victim's medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss in quality of life. The personal injury attorneys at Altman & Altman, LLP combine attentive, compassionate service with accomplished legal counsel to satisfy our client's needs. We are ready to immediately start protecting your rights and fighting for the compensation that you deserve. If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite injury, give our experienced injury lawyers a call for a free confidential consultation or Contact Us Online Our Firm represents victims of dog bites on a contingency fee basis - we do not charge a fee unless you recover.