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Recovering Compensation for Injuries from a Dog Attack

A dog attack resulting in bites, gashes, scratches and other physical harm can be a traumatic experience. If you’ve been a victim of such an incident, legal remedies are available to help you recover compensation. However, there are important factors that bear on who is liable for such an attack and on what grounds.

Some U.S. states follow the “one-bite” rule, which means that the liability of a dog’s owner or keeper depends on whether the animal has demonstrated a propensity for viciousness in the past. However, Massachusetts has a strict liability rule for dog bites. A state statute provides that the dog’s owner or keeper is held liable for any injuries caused by the animal, regardless of its prior behavior or the owner’s or keeper’s knowledge of its aggressive tendencies. This rule makes it unnecessary to prove negligence on the owner’s part.

However, there is no right to recover damages by a person who, at the time of the attack, was doing either of the following:

  • trespassing or committing another tort on the property where the incident occurred
  • teasing, tormenting or abusing the dog 

If the injured person was under seven years of age at the time of the attack, the law presumes that the child was not trespassing, committing a tort or teasing, tormenting or abusing the dog. However, the defendant can overcome that presumption by presenting competent evidence.

The strict liability statute applies only to lawsuits against dog owners or keepers. In some cases, another person may be liable for the attack, such as the owner of the property where the attack occurred. In such cases, the plaintiff must prove negligence, such that the person failed to take proper precautions to contain or restrain the dog despite having knowledge about its aggressive tendencies. 

If you’ve suffered a dog attack and meet the legal requirements for bringing a lawsuit, you have the right to pursue compensation for various damages, including:

  • Medical expenses — These include all costs associated with treating your injuries, including doctor visits, x-rays, medications and surgeries.
  • Lost wages — If your injuries prevent you from working, you can seek compensation for income lost during your period of disability.
  • Pain and suffering — This encompasses the physical and emotional distress caused by the attack, including scarring, fear, anxiety and PTSD.
  • Property damage — If your clothing or belongings were damaged during the attack, you may be able to recover their replacement costs.

Seeking legal recourse can help alleviate financial burdens and turn your attention to returning to full health. A personal injury attorney experienced in dog bite cases can guide you through the legal process, gather and present evidence and negotiate with the dog owner’s insurance company in your behalf. 

At Feinberg & Alban PC, we represent dog bite victims throughout the Greater Boston area. If you or a loved one has been injured in such an attack, call us immediately at 617-232-5950 or contact us online.

Feinberg & Alban, P.C. fervently protects your rights
  • The Boston firm of Feinberg & Alban, P.C. specializes its practice in the area of personal injury.

    The attorneys serve the entire state of Massachusetts in addition to affiliating with lawyers in other states to handle cases outside of Massachusetts.

  • $7.7 Million Award for Feinberg & Alban Client in Personal Injury Trial

    Boston Attorneys Win Highest Injury Verdict in Massachusetts in 2011 & 2012.

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