I WAS BITTEN BY A
WHAT SHOULD I DO?
March 9, 2021
Dog bites may not be the most common injury in the United States, but nearly 5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Many of those wounds require emergency treatment and some even require surgery and hospitalization. Some victims suffer from trauma caused by the experience and some carry physical and emotional scars forever.
If you were injured by a dog bite, you may be able to recover compensation for medical expenses, therapy, lost wages, and pain and suffering under Massachusetts dog bite laws. The first step is understanding a little about the law and talking to an experienced personal injury attorney about your potential claim.
At the Law Office of James A. Maniatis, I help clients throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts pursue personal injury claims against owners of dogs who failed to take reasonable care to protect others. I have offices located in Shrewsbury, Southborough, and Webster, Massachusetts to serve you.
DOG BITES UNDER MASSACHUSETTS LAW
Massachusetts law specifically addresses injuries caused by dogs, including bites. A dog owner may be liable for injuries if:
The dog caused personal injury or property damage
The victim was not trespassing, committing another civil offense, or provoking the dog
The law does not require that the dog had been aggressive in the past or be of a certain breed. The law also applies to injuries other than bites, such as a dog jumping on someone and causing them to fall and sustain an injury.
WHAT TO DO FOLLOWING A DOG BITE
There are four important steps you should take after sustaining a dog bite that can help you when pursuing a personal injury claim:
Exchange Information — Obtain the name, address, and phone number of the dog owner and information about the dog’s veterinarian and vaccine history. Also, obtain the names and contact information for any witnesses to the event.
Seek Medical Attention — Some dog bites may not look like much, but they can be deadly if left untreated. Dog bites can result in serious infections, including rabies if the dog’s shots are not current. You should have a doctor examine the bite and treat it as needed, which may require stitches, or even surgery and hospitalization. Your healthcare provider will also report the incident to law enforcement as required by law.
Document the Incident and Evidence — Take photos of the bite prior to and following medical treatment and throughout your recovery. You should also write down your account of what happened while it is fresh in your mind and continue documenting information such as your pain levels, problems with mobility, or difficulty of function in affected areas. You should also document any mental health problems you may experience, such as nightmares or panic when you are around other dogs after the incident. Keep a record of all expenses you incur as a result of your injuries and obtain copies of medical reports documented by physicians and nurses, as well as lab and radiology reports.
Hire an Attorney — An experienced personal injury attorney can help you with the continued documentation of your injuries, interviewing witnesses, obtaining law enforcement reports, and investigating the incident, the dog, and its owner.
CHOOSE AN EXPERIENCED ATTORNEY
Pursuing a personal injury claim after an attack is not easy. Where you were at the time of the attack and what you were doing are critical to a successful claim. The dog owner, property owner, and their insurers will attempt to prove that you were trespassing or provoked the animal in some way. They are all motivated to keep you from being compensated for your injury.
There is also the challenge of whether any potentially liable party, such as the dog owner, property owner, or property manager carries premises liability insurance. You can benefit from having an attorney experienced when searching for any available coverage or other means of compensation.
DOG BITES ATTORNEY SERVING WORCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS
Countless clients from Shrewsbury, Southborough, Webster, Westborough, Northborough, Grafton, Boylston, Millbury, Upton, Dudley, and Oxford, Massachusetts, have counted on me at the Law Office of James A. Maniatis to help them pursue personal injury claims, including dog bite claims. If you have been bitten and are not sure what to do, call my office today to schedule a free consultation.