Massachusetts Dog Bites and Injuries
Every year, approximately 4.5 million people are injured by dogs in the United States. Unfortunately, nearly 800,000 of those incidents require serious medical attention, and many of these injuries occur in Massachusetts. Injuries caused by dogs include those that occur from dog bites as well as the serious injuries arising from collisions caused by dogs – frequently with the elderly, children, and cyclists. Dog bites can cause wounds, permanent disfigurement and scarring, and even death. Dog collisions can cause fractures and sprains, as well as brain injuries and concussions. These injuries often lead to severe pain and suffering, as well as psychological trauma.
At Harriman Law, we are admittedly dog lovers. When it comes to Massachusetts Dog Injury law, however, it is important to understand that your claim to recover compensation for the harm you incurred as a result of a dog bite or injury is against the owner or keeper of the dog (or their insurance carrier) and not, in any way, against the dog itself. If you are injured by a dog bite or as the result of a dog collision, you have a right to seek compensation for, at a minimum:
- Your medical bills and expenses
- Your injury and any temporary or permanent impairment, disability, scarring, or disfigurement it caused
- The past, present, and future impairment to your earning capacity (including your lost wages)
- Your pain and suffering
Massachusetts is a strict liability state when it comes to all injuries caused by dogs – including those caused by dog bites and dog collisions. Pursuant to the Massachusetts Dog Injury statute, (M.G.L. c. 140, §155), a dog owner is civilly liable for your injuries if his or her dog bites or injures you in any way. It is not necessary to prove that the dog’s owner acted negligently or even knew in advance that the dog was likely to cause an injury due to a pattern of vicious behavior. To recover under Massachusetts law, you must only prove that you were harmed by the dog, that you were not teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog, and that you were not trespassing at the time the injury occurred. If your minor child under seven years of age has been injured by a dog bite or collision, the Massachusetts Dog Injury statute presumes your child was not teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog at the time the injury occurred.