Dogs are America’s pet — loyal, loving and full of life. As recently as 2013 it was reported by the Boston Business Journal that 1 out of every four households in Massachusetts owns a dog. This means there is a very good chance a dog owner lives close to you.
Dogs come with some setbacks –they can poop in the wrong places, tear up furniture, but worst of all they can bite. Dog bites are serious injuries and happen more often than you think — about one in 60 Americans suffers from a dog bite every year. This leads to millions of dog bite victims seeking medical attention and an estimated 30,000 must go through reconstructive surgery. Children often receive the worst dog bites.
At Goldberg and Weigand, our attorneys have dealt with numerous cases of dog bite injuries with varying severities. Massachusetts has very strict laws when it comes to dog bites, so if you or a loved one have suffered from a dog bite injury – Goldberg & Weigand is here to help.
How Severe Can Dog Bite Injuries Be?
A dog bite can come in several forms depending on the breed of the dog, the size and age of the victim, the duration of the attack and how quickly the victim received medical attention.
The Massachusetts Department of Health has reported that any head, neck or face injuries coming via dog bite are most commonly found among young children. It has been reported by the MDH that 73 percent of children under four years old who have been bitten by dogs have been injured in the head, neck or face area. The same fact applies to children of ages between 5-14, where 50 percent suffer face, neck and head injuries from dog bites.
Some of the common injuries associated with dog bites are as follows:
- Sprains and Strains
- Tissue Loss
- Fractured Bones
If you or a loved one have been bitten by a dog, the first thing you need to do is seek out immediate medical attention. Even if the injury doesn’t seem severe, you still need to be checked for infections or diseases and prescribed antibiotics. All bites need to be documented by your local animal control office as well.
Homeowner’s insurance claims will normally pay out any damages received by a Massachusetts dog bite lawyer. A Massachusetts dog bite attorney can help you file these claims and make sure the insurance company pays out your claim in full.
Massachusetts Dog Bite Law
According to MGL c. 140, 2. 155, the owner of a dog is strictly liable for injuries suffered in a dog bite attack. The only exception in Massachusetts is when the victim was trespassing or committing a crime on the property, including abuse of the dog who bit them.
Any child under the age of seven is assumed to be innocent in provoking a dog bite. However, if there is a suspicion that the child was abusing or provoking the dog the burden of proof would fall on the dog owner.
Not all dogs are going to have aggressive tendencies, but those dogs who have exhibited a history of violence should have that documented. In Massachusetts, you do not have to prove a dog had a history of violent behavior to file a claim for a dog bite injury. This is not the case in most states, but the Massachusetts state legislature has gone out of its way to protect the 6,300 dog bite injury victims the state sees every year.
How Do I Prevent a Massachusetts Dog Bite Injury?
While there is plenty of advocacy on behalf of Pit Bulls and Rottweilers, the statistics show these two breeds are most responsible for dog bite deaths. With responsible training and supervision, you can prevent these breeds or any breeds from being a risk to the public at large.
The American Kennel Club suggests dog owners properly socialize their dogs with other people before taking them out into the public. Having your dog know simple commands like “sit”, “stay” and “heel” can go a long way too.
The Massachusetts Dog Bite Lawyers at Goldberg and Weigand can make sure your scars and lesions are paid for and your suffering is compensated. Call us today for your no obligation, free consultation.