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Boston Dog Bite Attorney

If you reside in Boston, taking advantage of our beautiful area might involve activities such as jogging or spending time at a nearby park with your loved ones. Unfortunately, what can start out as a fun outing could quickly turn into a nightmare if you or someone close to you becomes a victim of a dog bite.

According to the National Library of Medicine, more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States. Many of these victims sustained severe injuries that required hospitalization. Section 155 of the Massachusetts General Laws permits individuals who have been bitten by a dog while lawfully present on someone else’s property or in a public area to file a lawsuit for their injuries and medical bills.

Our Boston dog bite attorneys at Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP are available to assist if a dog has attacked you or a loved one. We have provided information below about the most common concerns and questions about dog bites and your rights.

Do I Need a Lawyer if I Was Bitten by a Dog?

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. 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

If you were hurt, hiring an experienced dog bite lawyer in Boston can mean the difference between recovering full compensation or nothing at all. 

What Types Of Damages Are Available to Dog Bite Victims?

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. 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 dog’s owner 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

When a careless animal owner is negligent or inadequately protects other people from the potential threat posed by his pet, they are fully liable for any damage caused. 

Proving 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. 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 are less than 51% to blame. However, your compensation can be reduced in proportion to your share of fault.

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. Additionally, there is no “one-bite rule” in Boston. 

However, you 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. Massachusetts’s personal injury statute of limitations gives you three years to file a lawsuit if a dog injured you. 

The Boston Dog Bite Attorneys at Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP Are Here to Help

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 Boston 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 Personal Injury Lawyers can fight to secure the financial recovery you deserve. The legal professionals on our staff have successfully recovered millions of dollars for their clients, including co-managing partner J. Tucker Merrigan, a 2022 Rising Star and 2023 Best Lawyer. Give us a call today at 617-391-9001 or send in our contact form to schedule a free consultation.



Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Bite Lawsuits

Who can file a dog bite lawsuit?

Anyone who has been injured or suffered damages as a result of a dog bite or attack can file a dog bite lawsuit.

What is the statute of limitations for a dog bite lawsuit?

The statute of limitations for a dog bite lawsuit in Massachusetts is three years from the date of the injury.

What is the process for filing a dog bite lawsuit?

The process for filing a dog bite lawsuit typically involves hiring a personal injury lawyer, gathering evidence, filing a complaint, and negotiating a settlement or going to trial.

What are the chances of winning a dog bite lawsuit?

The chances of winning a dog bite lawsuit depend on a variety of factors, including the strength of the evidence, the skill of the legal team, and the laws of the state where the lawsuit is filed.

Can a dog bite lawsuit be settled out of court?

Yes, a dog bite lawsuit can be settled out of court through negotiations between the parties involved. This can be a faster and less expensive option than going to trial.

What should I do if I am bitten by a dog?

If you are bitten by a dog, seek medical attention immediately and report the incident to the appropriate authorities. Gather as much information as possible about the dog and its owner, and contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal options.

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