DOG BITES FAQ
1. Who is responsible for dog bites?
In Massachusetts, dog attacks are governed by M.G.L. c. 140 § 155. The law imposes “strict liability” on dog owners and/or keepers of the dog. The law holds an owner or keeper of a dog strictly liable if the dog causes personal injury or property damage if the injured person was not trespassing, committing a wrongful act, or teasing the dog.
2. Can I still recover if the dog injured me, but never bit?
Yes, Massachusetts law does not only apply to dog bites; it also applies to any injury a dog causes to an individual. For example, if you are in a park or private residence and a dog jumps on you and causes you to fall and be injured, you may have a claim against the owner or keeper of the dog.
3. Can I still recover money for my injuries if the dog never bit or injured anybody before?
Yes, it is important to know that in Massachusetts, owners and keepers of dogs are still liable for personal injury or property damage even if they did not have any prior knowledge that the dog would bite or cause injury.
4. What types of damages can I recover?
Damages include, but are not limited to payment for pain and suffering, scarring, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and economic loss.
5. How long do I have to bring a claim or file a lawsuit against the responsible party?
Generally, there is a three-year statute of limitations to file a lawsuit against the responsible parties, with limited exceptions. Which means, if you do not file a complaint in court against the proper parties, you will never be able to recover monies from them or their insurance company for your injuries.
However, if the dog is owned or kept by the Commonwealth or a city and town, there are strict time-sensitive notice requirements that that must be made long before the three-year statute of limitations. There are also many different notice and time requirements that may apply depending on the type of claim or the responsible party.
That is why it is critical to contact us immediately after a dog bite injury. Also, most of the time, we can resolve the claim with the responsible party’s insurance company long before the statute of limitations expires or the need to even file a lawsuit.
Let us show you what our knowledge, experience, and skills can do for you or your loved one. Your dog bite case will always be our top priority. Call or contact us today!