The dog is the standard for household pets in the United States. In 2013, the Boston Business Journal reported 25 percent of homes in Massachusetts to have a dog. Look down your street — every fourth house has a dog living in it.
Dogs can be great companions, but they also come with several drawbacks. Dogs will pee on the floor and tear up furniture. Worst of all, dogs can bite you or a stranger. Dog bites can be severe injuries and happen to 1.7 percent of Americans every year. That equates to almost six million people across the country.
How Severe Are Dog Bite Injuries?
The size and severity of a dog bite depend on the dog’s breed, size, and the age of the victim. The length of the attack and the timeliness of the medical attention for the victim is a factor.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Health, injuries to the head regarding dog bites occur most frequently with small kids. Nearly three out of every four children less than four years old received dog bites to the head, neck, or face area. For kids between the ages of 5-14, 50 percent of dog bites came to the face, neck, and head.
Standard injuries related to dog bites include:
- Tissue Loss
- Fractured Bones
- Sprains and Strains
If a dog has bitten you, you need to contact medical personnel right away. Infections and disease can begin to develop directly after the bite occurs, so don’t delay because the injuries don’t seem severe. Make sure your bite is documented by animal control as well.
When seeking compensation for your dog bite injury, a homeowners insurance policy will be primarily responsible for paying out those damages. When the insurance company doesn’t want to cooperate, you’ll need a Cape Cod personal injury lawyer on your side.
Massachusetts Dog Bite Law
MGL c. 140 Sect.155 states the dog owner or keeper is solely responsible for the damages doled out by their dog. The minor exception Massachusetts allows for is if the victim was trespassing or committing crimes on the property in question. The exemption includes the abuse of the dog who bit the criminal in question.
Massachusetts law states children under seven years of age is presumed innocent for provoking dog bites. The only exception is when suspicion arises that the child engaged in abuse or motivated the dog. In that case, the burden of proof will fall on the owner of the dog.
Dogs who have histories of violent behavior need to have those histories documented. To submit a claim for your dog bite attack, the state of Massachusetts says you don’t have the burden of proof. Dogs don’t need documented histories of violence. Massachusetts has 6,300 dog bite victims a year, so the laws go out of their way to make sure victims are protected.
How Do I Prevent a Massachusetts Dog Bite Injury?
Pit Bulls and Rottweilers have plenty of supporters on their side. However, statistics reveal the two breeds are responsible for a majority dog bite fatalities. If trained and supervised responsibly, these breeds can be prevented from being a public problem.
According to the American Kennel Club, dog owners should familiarize their dogs with people before taking walks in public. Your dog should know simple commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “heel” to prevent any accidents.
At Goldberg and Weigand, our Cape Cod dog bite lawyers will make sure the homeowner’s insurance pays out for your injuries. Call our Hyannis office at any time of the day at 508-775-9099 for a free, confidential consultation.