Dog Bite Laws in Massachusetts

February 8, 2016

These days, almost everyone has a pet dog. Although our furry friends often don’t pose a safety threat, unfortunate dog bites and injuries still frequently occur. In a recent report, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention publicized that 4.7 million people fall victim to dog bites every year throughout the country. The most likely and vulnerable victims of these accidents include mail deliverers, children, and elders.

Children are often the most vulnerable and severely injured victims of dog bite incidents. Every year, at least 400,000 children are bitten by dogs. Young children are often defenseless and fragile, leaving them susceptible to more serious injuries. Additionally, serious dog bite injuries often leave children emotionally distressed and afraid of dogs.

These unfortunate dog bite injuries often require significant medical treatment. Dog bites often cause jagged lacerations and severe blood loss to the victim’s face, arm, and legs. Due to the seriousness of these injuries, hospital treatment after a dog bite can cost up to thousands of dollars. In 2011, a staggering 30,000 plastic surgery procedures were undertaken in order to replace damaged tissue caused by a dog bite. If you have incurred a substantial amount of medical expenses as a result of a dog bite injury, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Stress of a dog bite

Adults are far more aware of the possibility of a dog bite than children are. Unlike adults, children don’t often understand the relationship between a pet dog and the likelihood of being bitten. When a child suffers a dog attack and subsequent injury, the child endures far more physical pain and suffering. The shock of the incident leads to unwarranted stress and trauma, which could have a lasting impact on the child. The emotional and mental impact of the attack often lasts much longer than the physical injuries sustained.

Types of dog bite injuries

When a dog bites a victim, the dog views its victim as prey and aims to kill or seriously injure as a source of food.  Oftentimes, brutal dog attacks lead to serious injury because the dog aims at the victim’s head and throat. As the victim struggles to ward off the dog by hitting and kicking, the dog eventually retreats.

As a result of an attack, the victim is often left with deep wounds and lacerations to the throat, face and arms. Any skin that has been ripped off the victim may need grafts and plastic surgery to restore skin growth. If required, plastic surgeons must restore the face to as normal as possible. Worse injuries to the victim’s eyes or ears may never fully recover. If there is serious blood loss or irreparable damage to the esophagus or windpipe, the dog bite victim may eventually succumb to the injuries.

Massachusetts law protects dog bite victims

In order to protect members of the public, Massachusetts imposes strict dog-bite laws on owners. In Massachusetts, dog owners are held strictly liable for any harm their animals cause to others. Medical treatment for a dog bite can result in thousands of dollars in medical treatment. If the victim requires time-off of work to recover from their injuries, they may lose wages.  If the victim has encountered any trauma after being bitten by a dog, he or she may require psychological counseling in order to recover from the emotional suffering. The costs of all of these side effects are covered under Massachusetts personal injury law. In Massachusetts, the victim can file a personal injury claim against the dog’s owner to recover from the financial hardship of an injury that was not his or her fault.

Do I need a dog bite attorney in Massachusetts to file a personal injury claim?

Hiring an experienced dog bite lawyer is not required in Massachusetts. However, it is highly advisable and in the victim’s best interest to attempt to recover as must as you can for the costs of your injuries. Filing a personal injury compensation claim often requires gathering evidence, consulting with witnesses, and appraising medical reports. The process can quickly become overwhelming for an injured victim attempting to file the claim without proper representation. You can attempt to file the claim alone, but it is not likely the dog owner’s insurer will co-operate with you.

An experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney will be able to predict the value of your claim and your likelihood of success. Your attorney will know which facts are necessary for your claim and the proper way in which they should be presented to the insurer.  Insurance companies often want to avoid paying money to claimants if they can get away with it. Without proper representation, insurers will attempt to offer you a small amount of money in hopes that you will accept. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to represent your interests and negotiate a higher settlement on your behalf.

An experienced Massachusetts dog bite lawyer will ensure all your financial hardship is covered in the claim, as well as the legal costs, so that you no longer have to suffer financially. For most personal injury claims, especially dog bite incidents, you don’t have to worry about up-front legal costs. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means that a percentage of your final settlement will cover the cost of hiring an attorney. Your attorney won’t get paid until you do! If you have been injured from a dog bite that wasn’t your fault, you could be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries at no cost to you.

Please contact us for additional information.

How can we help?

Fill out our contact form below for your free, no obligation case review.

Primary Contact Form

I would highly recommend Michael Kelly to anyone who is seeking a knowledgeable, experienced, and dedicated lawyer.

Frensis P.

Michael D Kelly profile image


Michael D. Kelly has a diverse background that provides a breadth of legal knowledge that he draws upon in serving his clients. Kelly compiled an excellent academic record during his three years at New England Law in Boston.