A dog attack could cause more injury than commonly believed. In some cases, victims have suffered mental trauma potentially impacting their lives moving forward. Fortunately, the law makes it possible for victims to recover compensation for damages should they prove that the at-fault party is liable for their accident.
If a dog has caused you harm, it is important to seek immediate medical care. Once you ensure your medical condition is secure, you could benefit from calling an experienced injury attorney next. A Somerville dog bite lawyer could guide you throughout the claims process while providing you with professional representation necessary for filing a successful claim.
Somerville Dog Bite Statute
In Somerville and throughout the state, liability for a dog bite injury is primarily governed by what’s known as the “Massachusetts dog bite statute. The statute, found at Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 140, Section 155, sets out the manner of establishing civil liability for a dog bite injury.
The dog bite statute adopts a strict liability theory, which is typically easier to prove than a negligence claim. To obtain compensation under the statute, a Somerville dog bite lawyer must demonstrate that a dog caused injury or property damage to a person. They must also show the person that was injured was not committing a tort, trespassing, or antagonizing the dog at the time of the bite.
There is no requirement that the dog owner was aware of the dog’s violent nature. Outside of the three defenses listed in the statute, establishing these claims is straightforward.
It is also worth noting that the statute is not exclusive to dog bites. The statute applies to any injuries caused by a dog, including injuries from being knocked over. In addition to bodily injuries, a dog owner could also face liability for any property damage their animal commits.
What is Strict Liability?
Negligence claims are typically more challenging to prove than with a strict liability standard. This is because the plaintiff is required to show the dog owner acted negligently. This could involve anything from failing to comply with a leash law to not restraining a dog the owner knew was violent.
It is rare to see negligence claims for a dog bite. Since strict liability actions are available in most cases of dog attacks, there is often little reason for a plaintiff to seek compensation with a negligence claim. However, there are some rare circumstances where a negligence claim could make sense. For instance, while a person committing a tort of their own may not recover compensation through the dog bite statute, they might have a viable negligence claim. Discussing these options with a Somerville dog bite lawyer could be in the best interest of anyone with a prospective dog injury claim.
Discuss Your Claim with a Somerville Dog Bite Attorney
If you have suffered a dog bite, your injuries could be significant. In addition to the pain that comes with a bite, scarring and infection are also common. The cost of dealing with these medical injuries often significant.
With the help of a Somerville dog bite lawyer, you might not have to shoulder those expenses on your own. To learn how you could hold the owner of the dog responsible, call right away to schedule a free consultation.