Pets are precious to many of us, but dog bites can have serious and long-term consequences. These injuries involve the possibility of infections, including rabies and other diseases, and must be treated as soon as possible after a bite has occurred. If you or someone close to you has suffered a dog bite in Massachusetts, it is important to reach out to a skilled injury attorney who can look into the details of your case. Based at an office in Kingston, Plymouth County dog bite lawyer Michael S. Mehrmann can thoroughly review your situation and counsel you on your legal rights and options. If your health care provider failed to treat your bite appropriately, moreover, he can help you bring a medical malpractice claim against them as well.Understanding Your Legal Options Following a Dog Bite Incident
Dog bite laws are set forth in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 140, Section 155, often known as the “Dog Bite Statute.” In order to establish liability under Massachusetts’ Dog Bite Statute, the plaintiff must show that the dog caused an injury or property damage to someone who was not trespassing, teasing, tormenting, abusing, or committing a tort at the time of the incident. If an action under this statute is brought on behalf of a child under the age of seven, it is presumed that the child was not trespassing, teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog. However, the defendant can rebut this presumption.
It is important to note that the Dog Bite Statute does not only apply to dog bites but also applies to other injuries caused by a dog. For example, if you are standing on a sidewalk, and a dog jumps on you and knocks you to the ground, the dog’s owner or keeper would likely be liable for your injuries. Similarly, if a dog breaks or damages your property, such as if it chews on your watering hose, the dog’s owner or keeper would probably be accountable for compensating you for your losses. However, liability is not always so straightforward, so you should consult a dog bite attorney in Plymouth County to assess the strength of your claim.
Massachusetts has some of the strongest protections for dog bite victims, especially young children. This is because, unlike many other states, Massachusetts imposes liability on dog owners and keepers for the first time that a dog bites; in other parts of the country, a dog often gets “one free bite” before liability attaches. Massachusetts is a “strict liability” state, which means that an owner or keeper is liable for a dog bite even if the dog has never exhibited violent behavior, or the owner or keeper was unaware of the dog’s potential for violence. In addition, the statute applies even if the dog owner or keeper took reasonable care to restrain the dog or prevent it from causing harm.
Each case is different in terms of the events leading to the injuries and the scope of the injuries, and the amount of compensation that a plaintiff will be entitled to receive will vary accordingly. Generally, however, depending on the nature and extent of a dog bite victim’s injuries, a Plymouth County dog bite attorney may be able to help them obtain damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation costs, property damage, scarring and disfigurement, and more.
Due to the statute of limitations in Massachusetts, dog bite victims have a limited time in which to file a case. Under Massachusetts law, a plaintiff has three years from the date of the injury to file a claim in civil court. Failing to file within this time frame could mean losing your legal right to pursue compensation altogether. Put another way, if you do not file your claim within three years, you will be barred from having your case heard at all unless an exception to the rule applies.Contact a Compassionate Dog Bite Lawyer in Plymouth County or Surrounding Areas
Dog bites can lead to devastating, often lasting injuries. If you or your loved one has been injured by someone else’s pet, you should seek legal counsel. At the Law Offices of Michael S. Mehrmann, we are ready to help you navigate your claim and pursue the compensation that you deserve for your harm. We assist injured people in areas such as Kingston, Plymouth, Carver, Pembroke, Marshfield, Hanson, and Duxbury. To learn more about your legal rights and options, call 781-585-3911 or contact us online for a free appointment. Michael S. Mehrmann also assists people who need a premises liability lawyer to bring a claim following an accident on someone else’s property, or victims who need guidance in cases arising from motor vehicle collisions.