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Massachusetts Laws Point to Owners for Dog Bite Liability

Devastating dog bite injuries and other animal attacks often happen to small children and older adults who are less able to defend themselves. Serious injuries may result in far more damage than a cut or puncture wound. When an animal causes in injury to another person, the owner or keeper of the animal may be held liable.

Massachusetts dog attack law

Massachusetts does not have a “one free bite” rule. Under Massachusetts law, a dog’s owner, or parents if the owner is a minor, is strictly liable for any injuries caused by a dog, unless the victim was trespassing, teasing, tormenting or abusing the dog. A child under seven is presumed not to have trespassed, teased, tormented or abused the dog and the burden is on the dog owner to prove otherwise.

Children under 14 years of age are most often attacked

In 2006, over 6,300 Massachusetts residents incurred dog bite-related injuries that required medical attention. Of those, 146 dog bite victims had to be admitted to a hospital for treatment. Children ages 10–14 were bitten more often than any other group. More attacks occur in the spring and summer than in the fall and winter.

Simple ways to avoid dog attacks

The head, neck and face are the areas most likely to be severely injured in a dog attack. Besides avoiding unrestrained animals, these tips can help keep you and your children safe:

  • Do not run, bike or skate near an unrestrained animal. Dogs can react violently to sudden movements.
  • Do not approach dogs directly or unannounced. As the old saying goes, let a sleeping dog lie.
  • Do not tease or otherwise provoke a dog.
  • Give dogs plenty of space during feeding or when caring for puppies.
  • Keep away from fenced yards if there is a dog you don’t know inside.

An experienced dog bite injury lawyer in Boston can review your case and help you seek monetary compensation for your injuries.

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