Many states, including Massachusetts, hold a dog’s owner strictly liable for damages if his or her dog bites someone. This means that if the victim of the dog bite sues the owner, all they have to prove in order to prevail in their case is that the defendant does, in fact, own the dog and that they were bitten. So long as they did not provoke or antagonize the dog, they will be awarded monetary damages for their pain and suffering and medical bills. This liability extends to all injures that can be linked to the dog, not necessarily just bites and scratches. When a person reasonable reacts or flees from an aggressive dog, and is injured as a result, the owner may be held accountable for all of that person’s injuries.
This is precisely what happened in Oregon after a woman fled from a charging pit bull. The woman was walking down a public road when a pit bull reportedly ran at her growling and barking. The woman stepped back and fell off a small retaining wall into a neighbor’s yard. The fall tore her ACL and meniscus and caused a hairline fracture to her femoral condyle. The woman incurred nearly $20,000 in medical expenses and was expecting to pay an additional $64,000 for future surgeries.
To recover for her expenses, including an alleged $102,000 for lost wages because she could not work while recovering, and for her pain and suffering, the woman filed a personal injury lawsuit against the owner of dog. The complaint filed by her attorney, Chad Stavley, alleged that the owner of the dog failed to properly secure and control the pit bull, which led to the woman’s injuries. A local jury agreed with the woman’s argument and awarded her $404,000 in personal injury damages.
A large part of the responsibility of owning a dog is being potentially responsible under the law for the dog’s wrongful actions. If you or a family member has been injured by a dog, please contact one of our experienced Massachusetts dog bite attorneys at 617-787-3700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org today to learn about your legal options. Time may be a factor, so please call today!