Posts tagged with "dog attack"

Should I sue after a dog bite?

Let’s get one thing clear: No case is guaranteed. There is always a risk factor from the human element involving the whims of a judge or jury. That being said, dog bite cases are some of the easiest cases to win and victims have the best odds of prevailing.

In fact, Massachusetts has a strict liability for dog bites: The owner of the dog is responsible for the injury. It’s written right into the general laws. Chapter 140, Section 155 to be exact.

Some people think dogs are entitled to one free bite; they’ve never bitten a person before and the owner couldn’t possibly have known that they would bite someone. That won’t protect you. Your dog bit a person causing a serious injury to someone who was minding their own business and you own that dog, that’s your responsibility.

If you’re an adult and your dog bites someone, you are responsible. If you’re a minor and your dog bites someone, your parents are legally responsible. The damages will usually be covered by homeowners insurance.

That cover the overwhelming majority of dog bite cases. There are two big exceptions, however, spelled out plainly in the law.

 

The Exceptions to the Dog Bite Law

The dog owner is not responsible if you were bitten while being cruel to the dog. The exact words of the law are that you can not be “Teasing, tormenting or abusing” the dog. If that was happening, it’s entirely expected (and possibly justified with adults) for the dog to fight back.

The law also says the dog owner is responsible so long as the bitten person was not “committing a trespass or other tort.”

If you jump my fence and my dog bites you, I have a good defense. You’re on my property. If you’re attacking me and my dog jumps in to protect me, the only thing I expect to pay for is a steak for Fido.

If you have a “Beware Dog” sign it probably won’t protect you from a lawsuit. If you verbally warn a person that your dog bites and they reach out and get bitten, the person would probably be found to be 40 percent responsible for the bite, and you would be 60 percent responsible as the dog’s owner. That’s still a majority of responsibility and you would still be liable for damages.

 

Have You Been Bitten?

If someone from your family has been hurt by a dog, give us a call at 1 (888) 330-6657 or contact us and we can talk to you about your rights and possible next steps.

Massachusetts boy attacked by dog may lose arm as a result

Children love animals. However, they may not be able to appreciate the risks associated with animals that are territorial or otherwise act aggressively. Unfortunately, it is this very innocence that makes a child particularly susceptible to dog bites.

Recently, a Massachusetts boy was attacked by the family bull dog after he let the dog into his house. The boy’s father has requested that the dog be put down, as it tends to act territorially. The bite damaged the boy’s brachial artery on his upper arm. The boy may lose his arm as a result of the attack.

There are many instances where someone could be attacked by a dog, be it a family pet or that of a stranger. When a person is a victim of an animal attack, they may be compensated through the pet owner’s insurance. Many times homeowner’s insurance will cover animal attacks. That being said, coverage may vary if the animal was not at the homeowner’s place of residence when the attack occurred. To this end, a person’s car insurance might also cover dog bites, if the bite occurred in an automobile. In addition, while the first attack may be covered by insurance, subsequent attacks may not be covered. So it is important for pet owners whose pets attack once to take measures to ensure the pet will not attack again.

Dog bites can be a serious threat to the community in which they live. Pet owners need to take all precautions necessary to ensure their pet will not bite another person. The failure to do so could result in an injured victim and an insurance claim or even a lawsuit against the pet’s owner.

Source: My Fox Boston, “Mass. boy in danger of losing arm after dog bite,” April 4, 2013

Dog euthanized after mauling a Massachusetts boy

As many in Massachusetts can attest, dogs can bring lasting company and joy to the lives of their owners. However, dog owners must never underestimate the possible dangerous propensities of their pets, including the possibility of dog bites. For if a dog were to attack another individual, it could result in severe injuries for the victim and serious consequences for the dog and the dog’s owner.

A 6-year-old pointer-hound mix was euthanized after attacking a 6-year-old Massachusetts boy. The attack occurred while the dog owner’s teenage daughter was babysitting the victim. The dog bit the boy on the face, causing an injury that required over 400 stitches to repair. In addition to the physical injury, the boy has also suffered severe emotional trauma as a result of the attack, saying that he is now “ugly.”

When a person is bitten by a dog, they may be able to sue the dog’s owner in a court of law. There are two theories the lawsuit could be brought under. Some states follow the theory of strict liability. Under strict liability, the dog’s owner is liable for dog bites, even if that owner took steps to avoid attacks, such as posting signs or chaining the dog. Even if the owner had no reason to believe their dog was dangerous, they could still be held liable.

However, in other states a dog owner is liable for attacks only if they know or should have known that their dog had dangerous propensities. It is not always easy to determine what constitutes a dangerous propensities. Some factors the court will consider are the dog’s size, breed, whether the dog was kept for protective purposes and whether the dog has bitten someone in the past. If the owner put up “beware of dog” signs or told someone the dog may attack, that could also be used to show the owner knew the pet had dangerous propensities.

Victims of pet bites could receive compensation for medical expenses and pain and suffering. This compensation could be vital in allowing the victim to recover, physically and emotionally from a serious animal attack.

Source: boston.com, “Dog that attacked Mansfield boy ordered put down,” Feb. 28, 2013