Being attacked or bitten by a dog is something no one wants to experience and unfortunately, this fear has led people to draw the wrong conclusions. There are a lot of misconceptions about how to go about getting justice and restitution, no matter what state you live in.
Below, we discuss some of the most common myths about dog bites and what you can do after a dog attack in Massachusetts or New Hampshire to get the compensation you deserve.
The Dog Owner Must Have Been Negligent For Me To Get Compensation
To win a dog bite lawsuit in some states, the victim must prove that the dog owner acted negligently or purposefully in a way that caused or allowed the dog to bite. But this isn’t the case in Massachusetts or New Hampshire.
These states are strict liability states, which means that an owner is responsible for the actions of their dog regardless of the circumstances. The victim doesn’t have to prove anything besides the dog’s ownership, the attack, and the damages they sustained.
Under the law, whether an owner sicced their dog on someone or merely left their gate open on accident, any attack that follows is considered their fault. So even if they did nothing to make the dog attack or allow it to bite someone, they can still be held legally and financially responsible for the damages their animal causes.
I Can’t Sue A Relative For A Dog Bite
While bringing legal action against a family member is challenging in many ways, there’s nothing in the law that bars you from doing so – as long as you don’t live in the same household as the dog. If you do live in the same home as the dog and its owner, you may still be able to make a case for compensation, but it will likely be much more difficult to prove.
You Can Only Get Compensation If You’re Permanently Scarred
Many people mistakenly believe that you can really only take a dog bite case to court if the damages were extreme or you were critically injured and permanently disfigured. But because of strict liability laws, you can bring legal action against any dog owner for any damages you incurred as a result of an attack.
Even if you have healed and there are no outward signs that a bite ever occurred, you can still pursue compensation for your medical expenses, time that you had to spend out of work in recovery, and the psychological distress of being attacked by a vicious dog. If you can establish that a person owned a dog, and that dog bit you, and that you sustained financial losses as a result, you can seek the restitution you deserve in civil court.
I Can’t Win If I Caused The Dog To Bite
While there are some cases in which the victim of a dog attack was ruled to be the at-fault party, this is rare. To lose a dog bite lawsuit in which you sustained the attack, the dog’s owner would need to establish that you purposely or negligently trespassed on their property or provoked the dog.
More often than not, dog owners are not able to meet the high standard of proof required for the case to be dismissed. They may lack video evidence or witness statements that show you provoking the dog, or they may not be able to prove that there were adequate “no trespassing” signs.
It’s also worth noting that cases like these aren’t black and white, and if a judge finds that you trespassed or provoked the dog, they may only assign you partial fault. This means that you may still be able to get compensation for your injuries, especially if they were severe.
Need Legal Help After A Vicious Dog Attack? Call Mazow | McCullough, PC Today
If you’re considering taking action against the owner of a dog for an attack, it’s important to understand your rights and the legal statutes surrounding dog bite lawsuits in your state. Consulting with a qualified dog bite attorney can help you plan the best way forward, so you can get the financial compensation you deserve.
Mazow | McCullough, PC has extensive experience representing dog bite victims after vicious, life-altering attacks. We can provide you with the comprehensive legal representation and advocacy you need to seek a favorable outcome.
Contact us today for more information about dog bite law in Massachusetts or New Hampshire, or to book a free initial consultation to talk about your case by dialing (978) 744-8000 or (855) 693-9084.