Although only 50.4% of Massachusetts households have pets, the lowest out of all 50 states, many residents still suffer dog bites and attacks every year. Anyone can be attacked by a dog, but young children and the elderly are the most susceptible to attack. Luckily, Massachusetts has some of the best laws, especially for cases with young children, to help victims of dog bites and attacks.
Victims of such attacks have up to three years to file a lawsuit on the incident. As long as the case is filed within this time period, the Massachusetts Dog Bite Statute is applicable. This law states that pet owners are strictly liable for any personal injury—as well as damaged property—caused by their dog.
What distinguishes Massachusetts’s dog bite laws from those of other states’ is strict liability. In almost all circumstances, the owner of the dog is responsible for the attack as long as the injured person was not trespassing or provoking the dog, even if the dog has no history of violence or attack. Furthermore, strict liability covers all cases in which the victim is a child under seven years old, as the children are always presumed to be innocent of trespassing and provoking.
Dog bite and attack cases are extremely common among family members, friends, and neighbors. No owner wants to be responsible for a dog bite or attack, just as no one wants to be bitten or attacked by a dog. Knowing the laws and responsibilities regarding dog bites and attacks can help prevent issues that may arise with such an incident.
“Good training, proper fencing, healthy pets and responsible owners are key to helping dogs and humans live in harmony.”
Owners should review their insurance policies for clauses on injuries caused by their dogs. Similarly, everyone should be aware of the potential steps to be taken in the case of an injury—whether to body or to property—caused by a dog attack or bite. If you or someone you know has experienced a dog attack or bite, Dussault and Zatir have been very successful handling dog bite/animal attack cases in Massachusetts as well as Rhode Island.
If you have a dog bite injury due to someone else’s negligence, call Dussault & Zatir today at 508-999-2000.