Massachusetts Dog-Bites and Animal Attacks

Each year in the United States, there are almost 800,000 dog bites requiring medical care. Most of these dog bites involve children under 18 and dogs that are known to the person attacked. These attacks can be very serious and can result in permanent injury, even death.

There is no "free bite" for dogs under Massachusetts law. Dog owners in Massachusetts are required to restrain and control their dogs at all times to ensure the safety of members of the general public and of their dogs. A dog's owner is liable whether the attack occurred on public or private property. Under Massachusetts General Laws Ch. 140 Section 155, dog owners and keepers are strictly liable for personal injuries caused by dog attacks except in cases where the person injured was trespassing, teasing or tormenting the dog. There is no defense available to the dog owner in cases where the person injured was under 7 years old at the time of the attack.

A landlord or property manager, who is not the owner or keeper of the dog, may also be liable, in cases where he or she knew or should have known that the dog was dangerous, yet continued to permit the dog to remain on the premises.

In addition to compensation for the physical injuries suffered as a result of a dog attack, you may be entitled to compensation for injuries incurred while you attempted to escape. These types of injuries often happen when bicyclists are knocked to the ground or when pedestrians are forced into traffic.

What Should I Do After A Dog Attack?

After a dog bite, you should seek immediate medical treatment to make sure that the dog was not carrying any disease and to prevent infection or worsening of your injuries. You should also get as much information as possible about the dog, including the identity of the dog's owner, the name and a description of the dog and its medical history. It is also important that you report the attack to the local dog officer and photograph your injuries.

What If The Owner Of The Dog Has No Insurance?

In most cases, dog bite injuries are usually covered under the homeowners insurance of the dog's owner. In Massachusetts, homeowners insurance covers bodily injury and, sometimes, provides coverage for medical treatment costs. A talented personal injury lawyer can make a difference in cases of limited, or potentially limited, insurance since he or she can attempt to secure insurance coverage from alternate sources.

Contact Our Western Massachusetts Dog Bite Lawyers

If you or a family member has been injured in a dog attack, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, physical pain and suffering, and any disability or disfigurement resulting from the attack. Contact one of our offices in Western Massachusetts or Southern Vermont to schedule an appointment with an attorney. You can reach us at 413-358-4652 in Massachusetts or 802-681-4687 in Vermont. You can also reach us toll free at 800-365-9913 or via email. There is no fee for your initial consultation.

All cases are handled on a contingent fee basis — you will not have to pay any attorneys' fees unless we win compensation in your case.