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Dog Bite / Dog Attack FAQ

Who is responsible for my injuries caused by a dog bite?

If you have been bitten by a dog, the owner of the dog may be held liable. In Massachusetts, a dog owner is strictly liable for the damages caused by the dog. If you have been bitten by a dog, make sure that you know who owns the animal. If possible, find out whether the animal has been tested and treated for rabies.

You may obtain compensation for damages, including, but not limited to:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Scarring
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Economic loss
  • No-fault benefits

The owner of the dog who attacked me doesn’t have insurance. Can I still take legal action?

In cases involving injuries caused by animal attacks, such as dogs, the intended result is the payment of financial compensation to the victim, most often by the company insuring the dog’s owner. In some instances, a party other than the dog’s legal owner, (the “keeper”) may also be responsible for compensating the victim of the attack.

My neighbor’s dog recently attacked me. Should I contact a lawyer or can I just deal with the insurance company on my own?

Pursuing compensation from an insurance company without the benefit of experienced legal counsel places the claimant at a huge disadvantage in the negotiating process. Insurance companies would prefer to resolve claims with unrepresented claimants for one simple reason: victims who are represented by highly experienced attorneys generally receive higher recoveries—even after the payment of legal fees and expenses—than those paid to victims who represent themselves.

The claims process and the laws that guarantee the rights of injured people to be compensated for injuries caused by the negligence of others are technically complex. To assume that the legal process can be successfully navigated by persons lacking any formal legal training is a mistake which should be avoided.