Have You Been Injured? We Can Help.

Massachusetts Dog Bite Attorneys

Each year, more than four million people are the victims of dog bites. Nearly a million dog bite victims a year require medical attention for their injuries. About half of dog bite victims who require medical attention are children. When a dog bites a person, the owner is generally held responsible, and victims have the legal right to be compensated for their injuries or damages to their property. For more than 20 years, the Massachusetts personal injury attorneys of Lynch & Owens have worked tirelessly to bring justice and proper compensation for their clients.

If you have been the victim of a dog attack by a negligent owner, you may be entitled to:

  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Lost wages
  • Future plastic surgeries
  • Counseling

Injuries Caused by Dogs in Massachusetts

Unlike states with the so-called “one bite free” rule, Massachusetts imposes strict liability on dog owners, regardless of the dog’s history or breed. Dog owners in Massachusetts are subject to a variety of statutes, rules, and regulations. The Massachusetts dog bite statute, MGL c.140, s.155, assigns “strict liability” for dog bites that are not the result of trespassing, teasing, or taunting, with particularly strict provisions for dog bites involving children under seven. Licensing and registration of dogs is provided under MGL c.140, s.137, and rabies vaccination rules are provided under MGL c.140, s.145A. In many dog bite cases, the pain of an initial bite is compounded by stress, expense and painful shots following a bite by an unvaccinated dogs.

Dog Bite Coverage: Homeowner’s Insurance

According to the Insurance Information Institute, over a third of all U.S. homeowners insurance claims, a staggering $530 million, were paid to dog bite victims in 2014. The average cost of a U.S. dog bite claim was $32,072 in 2014, up 15% from 2013. The increasing cost of dog bites is not a short-term trend. From 2003 to 2014, insurance payments for dog bite claims jumped 67%, including settlements, jury awards and judgments.

As a result of the explosion in dog bite claims, many insurance companies have quietly begun inserting exclusions or exceptions to dog bite coverage into homeowners insurance policies. If you are a large dog owner, you should check your policy, particularly if you have small children. One of the most common claims involve large dogs biting the unfamiliar playmates of the owner’s young children. Even if you are certain your dog would never bite your child, even the most tolerant dog may pose a bite-risk to an unfamiliar child. Nationwide, homeowners insurance pay an average of 15,000 claims a year for dog-related injuries. Make sure your homeowners insurance policy includes coverage for your pet, or you may face personal liability for any injuries caused by your dog.

When Dogs Knock Down Children, Elderly People & Cyclists

Everyone has met a friendly-but-hyper puppy who enthusiastically jumps on every new person he or she meets. If a dog injures a person by jumping, tripping, or knocking the person over, the dog’s owner is likely to be held liable.

It is important to note that so-called “Massachusetts dog bite statute”, MGL c.140, s.155, does not use the word “bite”, where the statute provides:

If any dog shall do any damage to either the body or property of any person, the owner or keeper, or if the owner or keeper be a minor, the parent or guardian of such minor, shall be liable for such damage, unless such damage shall have been occasioned to the body or property of a person who, at the time such damage was sustained, was committing a trespass or other tort, or was teasing, tormenting or abusing such dog.

Under Massachusetts law, dog owners are strictly liable for injuries arising out of accidental or even friendly dog behavior. This includes injuries to children, elderly individuals, cyclists, or bystanders who are injured as a result of a dog, even if no bite occurred. If you are injured in accident that involved a dog, you should consult with an attorney. Unlike “slip and fall” cases in which property owners are afforded substantial protection, dog owners are strictly liable for most injuries caused by their pet, whether at home or on a public street.

Sensitive Reality: Dog Bites Cases Involving Friends & Neighbors

One unique feature of dog bite cases is how frequently the bite involves the beloved pet of a friend, neighbor, or family member. The last thing most people want to do is file suit against the parents of their child’s classmate or a friendly neighbor. The dog’s owner, in these cases, is often terrified that their dog might be put down, and the social and personal repercussions of filing suit, even if the dog owner’s homeoowner’s insurance will cover the damages, is a real and legitimate concern for plaintiffs. Attorney Lynch and Galas understand the difficult emotions and sensitivities present in dog bite cases involving friends, family members, and neighbors. We understand that demonizing a person’s beloved pet can be counterproductive, and we seek to settle claims arising out of dog bites in a manner that avoids unnecessary stress or conflict for our clients. Our goal is to obtain compensation for our client’s injuries, not “prosecute” an animal owned by a generally responsible pet-owner.

What Clients Have to Say

Our solid reputation for legal excellence in the northern Plymouth County area runs more than 20 years deep. Our testimonials from past clients alone prove that our firm is a force to be reckoned with both inside and outside of the courtroom. Read their reviews to see for yourself.
  • “Amazing professional and to the point. She's also a wonderful person and easy to talk to”

    John

  • “Attorney Owens represented me in a modification of my divorce agreement. I was very happy with his work.”

    Former Client

  • “Everyone I dealt with from their administrative staff to their newly hired attorneys were professional, patient and kind.”

    Clare

  • “Attorney Levy made my divorce as painless as possible. She's fantastic.”

    Former Client

  • “Kim was exceptional to work with and I've referred anyone else from my area to her as well”

    Amy

  • “Jason is on top of his work immediately when it has to be done. He is a great person and is very trustworthy.”

    Former Client

  • “Jim and his staff treated me wonderfully; they were patient and supportive during a very difficult time in my life.”

    Former Client

  • “I have found Attorney Owens to be open, receptive, communicative, respectful and willing to partner in a team effort to achieve what is fair and deserved”

    Lorrie-Jeanne

  • “Nicole Levy is an exceptional attorney. She is highly ethical, effective, and level-headed.”

    Former Client

  • “James has proven himself to be both knowledgeable and diligent. I would recommend Jim and his Law Firm to anyone”

    Former Client

  • “His knowledge and understanding of the law and his clarity of thought were a supreme comfort to me”

    David

  • “If I sound like a fan, it is because I am. "Integrity" is the word that always comes to mind when I think of dealing with him.”

    Douglas