Dog Bites and Other Injuries Caused by Dogs
Dogs can be wonderful pets. They provide companionship, security, and services for a wide range of individuals, from the police to the disabled. For many, the saying that “a dogs is man’s best friend” is true. But sometimes dogs injure people. The most common cause of injury is a dog bite, but dogs can injure people in other ways. A dog chasing a car, motorcycle or bicycle can cause a serious crash. On a city or town sidewalk, something as small as a fluttering leaf or piece of paper can cause a dog on a leash to lurch after it, pulling the feet out from under an unsuspecting pedestrian with a force greater than as if they had hit a patch of ice. There's no better way to cause a permanent back or head injury than a head-over-heals fall onto a concrete sidewalk. A large, friendly dog like a Labrador Retriever, with strong legs and sharp claws, can jump up on and scratch a small child causing long, deep lacerations on the child's face. This may result in permanent scarring or the need for reconstructive surgery. These non-dog bite related injuries can be even more devastating than being bitten. A car crash caused by a dog could result in the death of the driver or passenger.
In Massachusetts, the owner or keeper of a dog is strictly liable for injuries caused by the dog unless the injured person was trespassing on the owner’s or keeper’s property or was teasing, tormenting or abusing the dog in some way. The law presumes that a child under the age of seven was not trespassing or teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog. That presumption is rebuttable, however, if there is evidence that the child was doing any one of these things. In Massachusetts, there is no such thing as a “first bite” rule. It doesn't matter if this is the first time that the dog has bitten someone; the owner or keeper is still responsible, absent any of the exceptions set out above. Similarly, it doesn’t matter if this is the “first time” that a dog has caused some other kind of accident. A dog owner or keeper is responsible in the absence of the exceptions above.
For dog owners, remember: just because you've owned your dog for years and never had a problem, your dog could unexpectedly cause injuries at any given time. Use care when you have your dog around others. Never allow your dog to run loose in a public place where the dog could harm someone. Beware of others around you when you walk your dog. Use care when approached by a child or even adult who wants to pet your dog.
If you or a family member has been bitten or seriously scratched by a dog or injured in some other accident caused by a dog, please call KJC Law Firm for a free consultation. We can help you get compensation for medical care, lost wages, rabies immunizations, scarring, and pain and suffering associated with the injury. The dog accident lawyers at KJC Law Firm have more than 90 years of experience litigating major cases. We have the resources to investigate your claim, hire the necessary experts, and get you the compensation that you deserve. KJC Law Firm represents injured people from communities all across Massachusetts, including the Greater Boston area, Cambridge, MetroWest, Cape Cod, Fall River, Lowell, Worcester and Springfield.