Know Your Rights if a Dog Bite Injures Your Child

When children are involved in a dog attack, the injuries sustained can be severe. Children tend to be less capable of defending themselves when fending off a dog attack, and because children are shorter, they have a higher risk of being bitten on the head, neck, and face.

Animal bites can be especially harmful as they can lead to life-threatening infections. If a dog bite in Massachusetts has injured you or your child, contact our office today to learn more about your rights.

Massachusetts Dog Bite Laws

The ‘Massachusetts Dog Bite Statute’ outlined in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 140, Section 155 states that dog owners may be held civilly liable if their dog injures a person.

The statute applies when a dog causes personal injury or property damage and the injuries sustained were not a result of someone trespassing or provoking the dog at the time of the incident.

The law applies to any injury caused by a dog, for example, a dog jumping on someone in a public place, causing the person to fall and break a bone.

Holding Owners Liable

Under the Dog Bite Statute, if a dog causes injury or property damage, the owner may be held liable even if the dog has never acted aggressively before.

The strict liability statute means that an owner can be held liable even if reasonable care was taken to restrain the dog or prevent an act resulting in injury. In the event a dog gets loose from a leash and causes injury, the owner can be held liable.

Criminal Liability

Unlike a civil lawsuit filed under the dog bite statute requiring the owner to pay damages to the injured party as compensation for their medical bills and other losses, criminal liability may include imprisonment, probation, fines, or community service.

Criminal liability can result from an attack that is encouraged or allowed by a dog owner and can only be brought on by local or state authorities.

Filing a Claim After a Dog Bite Injury

Recovering from a dog bite can be a long process. Children, in particular, may even suffer post-traumatic stress as a result of an attack or disfiguring injuries.

It’s critical to connect with a personal injury attorney to establish a clear order of events soon after an injury. Compensation may be necessary to help you or your child recover money spent on hospital bills, medication, physical therapy, etc., following an injury.

The statute of limitations for dog bite injury claims in Massachusetts is three years, so even if you failed to file a claim immediately, you might still be able to seek compensation for past injuries sustained. Contact our office today to discuss your personal injury case with an experienced attorney well versed in Massachusetts laws.

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