One of the most important safety rules a parent can teach their child about a dog is to never approach a strange animal without talking to the owner first. A dog might look fluffy and cute but have a vicious demeanor toward strangers or children.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the choice of whether or not to interact with a dog. Sometimes, a dog will approach and attack your family when you are out for a walk, enjoying a park or visiting the house of a family friend.
Whether you suffered injuries out in public or at someone’s house, you may have medical costs and other expenses related to the attack. What rights do you have as the victim of a vicious dog in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts has strict liability standards for dog owners
Dogs can enrich people’s lives as companion animals or even serve practical functions as working dogs that protect the property or help someone to take care of other kinds of animals, like sheep. Despite their generally friendly nature, some dogs have a tendency to attack or bite humans. Others face abuse and mistreatment that cause them to become aggressive.
Owners have a responsibility to know their dog’s temperament, train them properly and restrain them appropriately. Keeping a dog on a leash while out in public is a crucial step toward keeping everyone safe. The same is true of fencing in a yard where a dog plays.
Under Massachusetts law, unless someone was in the process of breaking the law at the time of the dog bite attack or antagonizing the animal, the owner will have strict liability for the consequences if it attacks a human.
How can people ask for compensation when a dog attacks?
There are typically two avenues to financial repayment when a dog attacks you or someone in your family. The first involves filing an insurance claim.
Both renter’s and homeowner’s insurance policies usually cover dog bite attacks. Provided that the insurance company knew about the animal and that it does not prohibit coverage of the animal’s breed, the owner’s policy could pay for your medical care, property damages and any lost wages.
If the dog’s owner doesn’t have insurance that covers the animal or if the injuries you suffer are highly expensive, you may also need to consider pursuing a personal injury lawsuit against the animal’s owner.