The effects a dog bite can have on your life can last forever. Often, this impact goes beyond the physical scars from a bite. In many cases, dog bite injuries can result in lasting pain and mental anguish. In the most severe cases, dog attacks are fatal.
If a dog has attacked you in Cambridge, a seasoned attorney could help you recover compensation. The ordeal you faced could carry with it significant medical bills or other expenses. It is unreasonable for you to bear the brunt of these costs following a bite. A Cambridge dog bite lawyer could advise you on whether you have a viable claim for monetary damages against the dog’s owner.
Handling Cambridge Dog Bite Injury Claims
There are two different approaches to owner liability following a dog bite: negligence rules and strict liability rules. States disagree on which approach to take, with some adopting a hybrid of both. While a plaintiff operating under a negligence standard may only recover compensation when they can show the dog owner should have known their animal was dangerous, the strict liability approach does not require prior notice. In Cambridge, the strict liability approach applies.
Dog bite liability is governed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 140, Section 155. This statute applies not only to dog bites but to any injury caused by a dog attack. A plaintiff can seek compensation for damages related to either bodily injury or property damage. Unlike under a negligence standard, a Cambridge dog bite attorney does not have to demonstrate that the dog owner knew or should have known their animal was dangerous. While this standard may seem like recovery compensation from a dog bite is a foregone conclusion, it is crucial to understand there are several defenses available to the dog owner.
Viable Defenses for Dog Owners
There are some viable defenses for a dog owner, and they are written into the language of the statute. If a jury agrees that the defense presented by a dog owner is viable, they could refuse to award compensation.
One of the most common defenses is provocation. If a plaintiff takes any verbal or nonverbal action intended to taunt or tease a dog, it could serve as a defense if the dog reacts by biting. Trespassers also do not have a viable claim for compensation. Finally, a defendant could have a valid defense if the plaintiff was committing a tort at the time the bit happens.
Deadline to File a Dog Bite Lawsuit
Like with every other type of lawsuit filed in Cambridge, dog bite cases must comply with the statute of limitations. The statute serves as the deadline for plaintiffs to initiate a lawsuit, and this deadline is strictly enforced. Filing suit after the deadline expires typically results in dismissal of a claim with prejudice. When this happens, a plaintiff’s chances of recovering damages are gone forever. In a Cambridge dog bite lawsuit, the statute of limitations expires three years from the day the bit occurs.
Speak with a Cambridge Dog Bite Attorney
The scars from a dog bite can be physical as well as emotional. When an injury is so severe that you are forced to miss work, a dog bite can also have a financial impact. An experienced attorney can help you seek compensation for the consequences resulting from a dog bite.
The laws related to whether or not a dog owner is responsible for the actions of their pet are complex. To understand if you have a claim against the animal’s owner, contact a Cambridge dog bite lawyer immediately.