Last year, our client was visiting a friend’s house in Brookline, Massachusetts. Her friend has a dog that our client was familiar with. The dog had never displayed signs of aggression before and, as far as we know, the dog has never bitten anyone. On the day our client was at her friend’s house, however, the dog suddenly and unexpectedly began growling, quickly jumped up and bit our client on her face. Her friend immediately grabbed the dog and got it away from our client. The dog bite caused two lacerations on our client’s face. One cut was very minor and on her lip and the other on her cheek.

Our client was taken by surprise and shocked at what had just happened. She immediately washed the bites and applied bacitracin. While the bite to her lip wasn’t so bad, the dog bite to her cheek was open and bleeding. She did the right thing and went the emergency room at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The emergency room doctors determined that the bite to her cheek needed sutures. The doctor used three stitches to close the bite wound.

Seven months after the dog bite, our client was evaluated by a plastic surgeon because the bite left an 11 millimeter scar on her cheek (which is just under ½ of an inch). The small scar was red and a very mild indentation.  

Dog Bite Laws in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts dog bites are covered by M.G.L. c. 140 § 155 and are generally referred to as strict liability cases. This means, the owner of the dog is normally deemed to be liable for a dog bite to another person even when the dog's owner(s) is not negligent. This is different than other personal injury cases, wherein the injured party must prove or establish that the other person or party was negligent or careless and that negligence caused the accident and injuries.

Generally, a home owners’ insurance policy is available to cover the damages a dog causes to someone. But, what is important is to determine the owner of the dog and to substantiate your injuries. This is why you should seek medical attention immediately. Getting medical attention will document the injuries, which will be used later in the personal injury claim.

How Mahaney & Pappas Helped Get This Client The Money She Deserved

Immediately after our client hired us to help get her financial compensation, we determined which insurance company provided coverage for the dog bite. We also advised our client on the things that she needed to do in order to establish her damages and the extent of the injury. One important matter with any injury that may result in a scar is to document the progression of the scar. This client took periodic pictures of the scar on her face that showed the progression of the scar. When the bite fully matured, it resulted in a permanent scar.  

Once the scar matured, we submitted a demand for settlement. Initially, the insurance company thought that the bite and scar were minor and refused to offer, what we thought was a fair and reasonable settlement. After thorough and tough negotiations, we were able to obtain a settlement for $43,500.00 for our client.

Have You Been Bitten By A Dog, Contact Our Attorneys

If you or someone you know has been attacked or bitten by a dog you should contact an experienced lawyer to help you get the financial compensation you deserve. The attorneys at Mahaney & Pappas, LLP have handled numerous dog bite cases. We are here to help you recover the money you deserve.

Call us today at 508-879-3500 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. We offer contingent fees on dog bite cases. This means, you don't pay us until and unless we get you money. 


Charles S. Pappas
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Massachusetts injury lawyer & workers' compensation attorney serving accident victims in Webster & Framingham.