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Boston Dog Bite Lawyers

Representing Victims of Animal Attacks

Some of the most serious or harmful personal injuries by something you may not expect—dog bites. Dog bites and dog attacks on innocent and unsuspecting victims can lead to serious injuries, disfigurement, and scarring, and result in large medical fees, lost wages, and mental trauma. Many dog bites and dog attacks are unavoidable and caused by the dog owner’s negligence and failure to keep their dog under control.

At Mitcheson & Lee LLP we take pride in representing victims of dog bites and dog attacks. When deciding to file a claim for a dog bite or dog attack, it is important to speak with knowledgable attorneys who are familiar with dog bite cases and who have the experience necessary to navigate through the different insurance and liability aspects of the case. Our Boston dog bite lawyers work to ensure that victims of these attacks receive just compensation for their injuries.

Have you been attacked by a dog or other animal? Call (617) 934-3207 today to schedule a complimentary consultation.

Massachusetts Dog Bite Statute

In Massachusetts, dog owners are strictly liable for injuries caused by their dogs. In other words, Massachusetts does not have a "one bite" rule which would absolve a dog owner from liability if the dog had never shown aggression in the past.

Under the General Laws of Massachusetts, Chapter 140: Section 155, owners are strictly liable for injuries caused by their dogs unless the victim was:

  • Trespassing
  • Tormenting or abusing the dog
  • Committing a crime

Children under the age of seven are presumed to be incapable of committing these acts and are therefore exempt from these rules.

It is not required that you be bitten by a dog to have a claim against the dog’s owner. If the dog is in any way responsible for your injuries – such as, the dog caused you to fall as you were riding down the street on your bicycle – you may be able to file suit against the owner.

Does Negligence Play a Role?

Since Massachusetts is a strict liability state, injured parties are not required to prove that a dog owner acted negligently in order to seek compensation. Dog owners and handlers are still liable for injuries their dogs cause even if they take reasonable precautions to restrain and control their dogs.

Who Pays for Dog Bite Injuries?

Injuries caused by dog bites and dog attacks are covered by homeowner’s insurance. If the dog owner does not have homeowner’s insurance or if the insurance policy does not provide coverage for dog bites and dog attacks, you may still be able to receive compensation by pursuing the dog owner.

Compensation for dog bites may include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages and other income
  • Permanent scarring and disfigurement
  • Pain and suffering
  • Out-of-pocket expenses

What to Do if You've Been Bitten

Knowing what to do after a dog bite can be critical to protect your health as well as any legal action you may need to pursue. If you have been bitten or attacked by a dog, your first steps should be as follows:

  • Seek medical treatment as soon as possible, especially if your injuries are severe or if you were bitten by an unfamiliar dog. If you need to perform first aid, place a clean towel over the injury to stop the bleeding and keep the injury elevated. Wash the wound with soap and warm water and apply an antibiotic cream and bandage.
  • If you can, take photographs of your injuries before they are treated.
  • Identify the dog's owner and discover the dog’s vaccination status. Dog bites, especially puncture wounds, can have a high risk of infection for diseases such as rabies, tetanus, Capnocytophaga, and more. Depending on the dog's vaccination history, you may need to receive various booster shots to minimize your risk of infection.
  • Exchange contact information with the dog's owner or caretaker as well as any witnesses to the attack.
  • File a report with your local animal control agency. This will help to create a written record of the incident and prompt an investigation which may be beneficial to your case.

Massachusetts Dog Bite FAQ

Being bitten by a dog is a frightening experience that will no doubt leave you with several concerns about your legal rights. Our skilled Boston dog bite attorneys can answer all of your questions and help you determine the most appropriate course of action in the aftermath.

Q: How much is my dog bite claim worth?

Every dog bite case is different and will therefore have a different value depending on the unique circumstances at play. However, dog bite cases involving more severe injuries such as broken bones, permanent scarring, nerve damage, amputations, or high-risk infections tend to yield higher financial awards than those involving minor cuts or punctures. An attorney from our firm can help you get a more reasonable expectation of your case's worth during a confidential consultation.

Q: How long do I have to file a dog bite lawsuit in Massachusetts?

Dog bite lawsuits have strict time limits. You have three years from the date of a dog bite to bring a claim against the dog owner in Massachusetts. If you miss the filing deadline, your case will most likely be dismissed and you will be unable to pursue compensation for your injuries. For this reason, it is important you take action and speak to an attorney early to maximize your chances of success.

Q: Will I have to go to court?

Most dog bite cases settle through out-of-court negotiations. While court is always a possibility, just like with any legal matter, Massachusetts' victim-friendly dog bite laws make court and trial highly unlikely in most circumstances.

Q: How long will my dog bite claim take to resolve?

Every case is different, therefore it is impossible to predict the exact timeline of your dog bite case. Generally speaking, you don't want to enter the settlement negotiations phase of your case until you have received all medical treatments related to your injuries as this will help your attorney to make the right demands. As such, dog bite cases involving more serious, long-lasting injuries can be expected to take longer to resolve.

At Mitcheson & Lee LLP, we strive to obtain justice for our clients who have fallen victim to vicious dog bites and dog attacks. Call (617) 934-3207 or complete an online form to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our Boston dog bite lawyers.