Several people are there who suffer dog bites and they are innocent. And, in most of the cases the owners of the dog, don’t take any account or liability of the same. One of the most common things that happens in a dog bite is that it can result in serious bodily injuries and emotion trauma, fear, and expensive medical bills and injections too. But the good news is that, in Springfield and Chicopee, Massachusetts, the victims of the dog bites can now take legal action and get compensated for the damages. In this brief guide, you will get to know about the pivotality of learning the dog bite liability laws prevalent in Massachusetts and steps to take if you or your family member or chum have been bitten by a stray dog or a pet dog owned by someone. In case of a stray dog, the state will own the liability of the same.
Dog Bite Accountability in Massachusetts –
One of the most important things that you should know is that, Massachusetts is a state which follows strict liability. And, when it comes to dog bites, they make sure that the dog owner is held vicariously (master and servant) liable for acts of the dogs. As per the General Laws of Massachusetts, Chapter 140, Section 155 a owner of the dog or any dangerous animal will be held liable for the damages caused by their dog or the dangerous or exotic animal, regardless whether the animal has a history of aggression or had a history or not. Plus, this section applies to both the injuries caused to the person by bites or other harm caused by the animal.
Exceptions to the Law –
There are 2 main exceptions to this strict liability rule, and such exception are as follows –
- If you or the victim is trespassing or committing some other wrongful act or tort causing harm to someone at the hour of the incident.
- If you or the victim was teasing or tormenting or abusing the animal or dog before the bite or the injury occurred.
And, in case where the victim is a child under 7 years of age, then the entire burden of proof is on the owner of the animal or dog to show that the child was trespassing and trying to agitate the dog or animal.
What Should Be Done After a Dog Bite Occurs – Take Medical Help, and Report the Incident & Collect the Data –
No matter how serious the dog bite is, it is important that you keep yourself in priority and get medical help as soon as possible. A medical doctor can look your injuries and give proper medication and injections and treat you to stop the infections. Next, you should inform the local ACA, (animal control agency) or the police department in Springfield and Chicopee, Massachusetts about the incident. If you file a report then you can make a document of the event, which can be helpful in following a personal injury claim. Then, gather the contact information of the dog owner, like their name, address, phone number and insurance details, and medical injections given to the dog, like rabies injected or not etc. If you have any witness, then collect their contact information as well to provide to the police or when required in court matters.
Prepare Documents of the Injuries and Talk with a Personal Injury Lawyer –
Make sure that you take the pictures of the injury like torn or damaged clothing, marks on the body and blood and so on, and record all the medical treatment which the doctor gives you, including the visit to the doctor, prescription, and so on. Hiring a dog bite attorney Springfield is important. Because going through the tedious dog bite laws in Massachusetts can be tough. A personal injury lawyer who is highly qualified and knows the dog bite cases can help you to learn the rights and collect evidence and support your claim for compensation and help you through the legal process till the conclusion of the case.
Dog Bite Victims Compensation –
You can get compensation for medical expenses, like victims can seek compensation for medical bills and injections and medications, hospitalization in serious cases, surgery and ongoing treatment. Next, lost wages is another form of compensation, in which you can get compensated for taking leaves at workplace due to dog bite injury. Including the possible loss of future earning capacity. Other than these, there is also compensation for physical and mental agony and permanent scarring or disfigurement due to the bite. And, lastly, property damage compensation is also there, in which you can get compensated for the damage such as clothing, eyeglasses etc. and so on.