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Fighting For Boston Families For More Than A Decade

Boston Dog Bite Attorney

Dogs are really popular. They are known as man’s best friends, and their antics take up a large portion of internet videos. When they’ve been properly trained, they’re a joy to be around. Although dogs are adored, it is difficult to foresee when they will lash out and bite someone, and dogs’ teeth are sharp and their jaws powerful. A dog bite can even damage a person’s bones. 

An experienced Boston dog bite attorney at Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP can help you get the money you need for medical bills, lost wages, and more. We’ve been fighting for Boston families for over a decade–and have helped injured clients recover tens of millions of dollars over the years. To learn more about our practice areas and how we can help maximize your compensation award, call our law firm at (617) 391-9001 to schedule a free consultation today.

How Sweeney Merrigan Law, Llp Can Help After a Dog Bite or Attack in Boston

When you or a family member are hurt, you shouldn’t have to worry about money–but we all know how expensive medical care can become. If someone else’s dog caused the damage, they should be responsible for your costs. 

Most homeowners’ insurance policies cover dog bite claims. That doesn’t mean an insurance company will just cut you a check. You have to make a formal claim for damages. It can be tough to know what your case is worth in the first place–and even more challenging when the insurance company tries to convince you to accept less.

An experienced Boston personal injury lawyer at Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP can give you the edge you need. We have more than 100 years of combined experience and are ready to fight for you.

We’ll work hard to maximize your compensation award by:

  • Identifying all responsible parties
  • Bringing in respected experts to offer insight into the value of your injury claim
  • Fight back when the dog owner blames you for provoking the animal
  • Handle all negotiations with the insurance company

A dog bite isn’t an everyday occurrence in your life. If you were hurt, hiring an experienced Boston personal injury attorney can mean the difference between recovering full compensation or nothing at all. Call our law offices in Boston, Massachusetts today to learn more about how we can help. 

How Common Are Dog Bites in Boston?

According to city data, there are more than 7,000 dogs registered in Boston. Most people are cautious when it comes to controlling their pets. Unfortunately, Center for Disease Control (CDC) studies note that there are also about 4.5 million dog bites across the U.S. every year.

Thousands of Americans are hospitalized annually for dog bite-related injuries. Many of those dog bite victims are children. Some dog bite injuries even turn out to be fatal.

The Boston Public Health Commission reported about 300 dog bites in Boston during a single year. The majority of those dog bites involve a dog owned by someone other than the victim. 26% percent of all dog bite victims citywide were children under the age of 15. 

What Is My Boston Dog Bite Accident Case Worth?

Valuation is one of the most complex issues in a dog bite case. Accident victims have the right to be made “whole” again under Boston personal injury laws. In general, more severe injuries result in higher settlements and verdicts. That’s because your compensation award will depend on the cost of treating your injuries and how the injury impacted your life.

Some factors that could influence your settlement include:

  • The cost and nature of medical treatment required
  • The age of the victim
  • The trauma of the experience
  • Whether and when you’ll return to work

The emotional toll of a dog bite can be significant, especially for kids. If necessary, we’ll even bring in experts to testify about the intangible cost of the injury.

What Types of Damages Are Available to Dog Bite Victims?

Dog bite victims are entitled to compensation for their past and future medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. These out-of-pocket costs are called economic damages.

The owner of the dog might also be liable for additional damages, including non-economic damages. Those provide compensation for things like:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Disfigurement and scarring
  • Loss of consortium in wrongful death cases

Don’t let the insurance company decide how much compensation you deserve. Call an experienced dog bite lawyer at Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP today. We’ll bring in experts and specialists who can assess the damage and provide evidence about what your case is worth.

Can I Recover Damages if I’m Being Blamed for a Dog Bite in Massachusetts?

Dog owners often try to blame the victim for causing the dog to bite. In fact, the strict liability dog bite law in Massachusetts doesn’t apply if the victim provoked the dog. 

Under Massachusetts’s modified comparative negligence law, injured parties can recover compensation if they were less than 51% to blame. However, your compensation can be reduced in proportion to your share of fault.

It’s important to have an experienced attorney by your side if you’re being blamed for getting hurt. If you have questions about the shared responsibility rules and how they apply in dog bite cases, call our law offices to learn more about how establishing an attorney-client relationship can help.

What Is the Average Settlement Amount for a Dog Bite Injury Case in Boston, Massachusetts?

Data gathered by the Insurance Information Institute revealed that in the United States, dog-related injuries accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claim dollars paid out in 2015, totaling more than $570 million. This data also showed that the average cost per claim has increased by more than 94 percent nationwide from 2003 to 2015. In 2014, the average cost of a dog bite claim was $32,072, up 15% from 2013.  

Despite more recent data showing a drop in the total number of claims, the total cost of dog bite injury claims grew by 7.1 percent to $853.7 million in 2019, up from $796.8 million in 2019. In addition, the average claim cost jumped 12.3% to $50,245, up from $44,760 in 2019. 

It seems that the average cost of dog bite-related claims has been climbing for years in part due to soaring medical costs, and the Insurance Information Institute suspects this trend will continue. However, nothing is guaranteed. The key to a successful claim and a fair settlement is a strongly built case and skillful representation.

At Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP, we have provided numerous clients with reliable legal representation in their dog bites injury claims. Among our team are legal professionals like Attorney Erin McHugh, a trial attorney who has dedicated her career to assisting personal injury plaintiffs and successfully represented the injured and their families, recovering millions of dollars in settlements.

We’ll Fight to Recover Compensation for All of Your Dog Bite Injuries

Thousands of people are hospitalized for dog bite injuries every year. In many cases, the injuries can extend well beyond the actual wound. Dog attacks can knock the victim to the ground, causing serious injury.

In other cases, the wound might become infected and cause serious damage.

At Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP, we handle all dog bite injury cases in Boston, including those involving: 

Dog bite injuries can also turn out to be catastrophic and lead to the wrongful death of a loved one. If you sustained a serious dog bite injury or lost a loved one, our Boston dog bite lawyers at Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP are here to help. Don’t hesitate to give us a call for a free case review.

What Causes Most Dog Bites in Boston, Massachusetts?

Dog bites can happen for many reasons. It’s up to the owner to keep the dog under control so that others don’t get hurt.

Dog bites and attacks often happen because:

  • The dog is protecting its owner or property
  • The dog wasn’t feeling well or is startled
  • The dog feels scared or threatened
  • During play, the dog is excited and accidentally bites

Some dogs are more violent than others. However, you don’t have to prove that the dog was vicious to recover compensation. Boston dog ownership laws require owners and handlers to keep their dogs under control to prevent harm. In fact, the leash law requires dogs to be restrained at all times when in public.

Do I Have to Prove Negligence After a Dog Bite in Massachusetts? 

Dog bite victims don’t have to prove that the owner was negligent under Massachusetts law. The Massachusetts dog bite law is a strict liability statute. That means dog owners can be liable for the harm their dog causes even if they were reasonably careful.

To prove that you have the right to compensation, it’s necessary to show:

  • The defendant owned, or was responsible for, the dog 
  • The dog caused injuries or property damage
  • You weren’t somehow instigating, tormenting, or abusing the dog at the time
  • You were on the property legally

If the dog bite victim was under age seven, the law presumes that the victim was not trespassing or provoking the dog.

There is no “one bite rule” in Boston. You can recover compensation even if the owner had no reason to think the dog would become vicious. The strict liability law also applies to dog attacks.

For example, if the dog jumps on you and knocks you down, you may also be entitled to compensation if you get hurt.

Negligence-Based Claims

It may also be able to pursue compensation under a negligence-based theory. To show negligence, it’s necessary to prove that the person responsible for the dog did not exercise reasonable care to keep others safe.

In other words, you must prove that the owner breached a duty of care and caused your injuries. For example, if the owner failed to keep a dangerous dog confined and it attacked you, the dog owner may have been negligent.

How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit After a Dog Bite in Massachusetts?

Dog bites victims don’t have unlimited time to act. Massachusetts’s personal injury statute of limitations gives you three years to file a lawsuit if you were injured by a dog. 

To start the legal process, all you have to do is call Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP and arrange a free case review. We’ll answer any questions you have and make sure you meet the filing deadlines.

Contact a Boston Dog Bite Attorney for a Free Consultation

A dog can be a wonderful addition to any home. However, don’t underestimate the potential costs when a dog bites. Many people underestimate the extent to which a dog bite can cause harm. An experienced dog bite lawyer can help you determine the value of your injuries and obtain compensation for your pain and suffering. 

After being bitten by a dog in Boston, Massachusetts, you must act quickly to protect your legal rights. An experienced Boston dog bite attorney at Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP can fight to secure the financial recovery you deserve. The legal professionals on our staff have successfully recovered millions of dollars for their clients and may be able to secure fair compensation for you, too. Give us a call today at (617) 391-9001 or send in our contact form to schedule a free consultation.