Under Massachusetts common law, the owner or keeper of an animal usually considered docile, such as dogs, cats and birds, is liable to an injured person only where there is evidence that the animal was dangerous or had dangerous propensities. There is a statute that imposes greater liability on the owners and keepers of dogs, however. It provides that, if a dog causes bodily injury or injury to property, the owner and the keeper of the dog, or guardian of the owner or keeper in the case of a minor owner or keeper, is responsible, unless the injury occurred in response to the victim taunting, teasing, or abusing the animal, or while the victim was unlawfully trying to enter the animal owner’s property.
Building Your Case
Seek medical attention. This is done for two reasons; one is that animal bites are prone to infection even if they seem minor. Second, it is important to have medical documentation to support your claim of injury.
Try to establish ownership or custody of the animal. Identifying the owner or custodian of the animal is imperative to your case. Photographs of the dog or the information from the dog’s license can be helpful in this regard.
Document the events surrounding the attack. Write down a detailed account of the events that led to the attack. If possible, take photographs of clothing and wounds.
Seek legal counsel. Personal injury lawyers can help you build a solid case for your claim. In animal attack situations, determining and proving negligence on the part of the animal owner is key. Animal attack laws can be tough to sort through on your own. Be sure to retain a personal injury lawyer who has a strong focus on Massachusetts animal attack litigation.
Dog attacks can range from minor to severe enough that the victim needs multiple surgeries to make a full recovery. Compensation can include, but is not limited to, medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and emotional distress. If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog, we invite you to contact us for free case evaluation.