BITTEN OR INJURED BY SOMEONE ELSE’S DOG? WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.

Injuries from a dog are compensable in Massachusetts.  This means you can be compensated with money damages if you are bitten or injured by someone else’s dog under certain circumstances.  There are specific laws that pertain to dog bite injuries.

In Massachusetts there is a specific statute (or law), that covers dog bite injuries. It is Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 140, Section 155. This law holds a dog’s owner responsible if: (1) the dog causes personal injury or property damage, and (2) the injured person was not trespassing, committing another tort, or provoking the dog.

While this law is commonly referred to as the “dog bite” statue, it does not limit recovery to only injuries from a dog bite, but also covers injuries a dog causes to another person. For example, this Massachusetts dog bite law would apply if someone’s dog jumps on you and knocks you down causing an injury. The law also applies if a dog causes property damage.  For instance, when a dog breaks a fence or chews on things belonging to other people.

Massachusetts is a “strict liability” state.  This means that dog owners are still liable for injuries their dogs cause even if the owner had no knowledge that their dog would bite or cause injury. So, someone who was injured by a dog doesn’t need to dog owner is at fault. This strict liability rule applies to both dog bites and other injuries caused by dogs as explained above.

There is a time limit on filing a civil lawsuit seeking money damages from a dog bite or injury.  This is called a statute of limitations and means that a person injured by a dog must file a lawsuit within a certain time period or could be forever barred from filing such a lawsuit seeking money damages.

In Massachusetts our statute of limitations or time limitation on filing a civil lawsuit on dog bite or injury claims is (3) three years from the date of the injury.

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