If you are bitten by a dog, you may be worried that if you report the incident, the dog will be euthanized or put down. This is particularly true if the dog that hurt you was your dog or the dog of a family member or friend.
It’s a common misconception that if a dog bites someone, it must be swiftly euthanized for the safety of others. But a dog attack victim may be able to have the dog that bit them labeled a nuisance or dangerous, which subjects them to heavier restrictions when the dog is outside or engaging with other people. Here’s what you can expect if you report a dog bite and when you should contact a veteran Massachusetts dog bite lawyer for help.
The Dog Will Be Quarantined & Tested
Thankfully, most local jurisdictions will not immediately force a dog that has attacked someone to be euthanized right away. Instead, the dog will be quarantined away from other people and animals, usually for a period of about ten days. Often, this can be done at the dog owner’s home, but if the dog is a stray, they may need to be quarantined at a vet’s office or animal shelter.
During this time, the dog will be tested for rabies and observed for any illness or behavioral issues that may require euthanization. While a dog that has attacked someone may not necessarily get put down automatically, there are still some circumstances in which the dog may need to be euthanized for the safety of others.
You Can Apply to Have the Dog Labeled a Nuisance
After you are bitten by a dog, you can file a motion with your local courthouse to have the dog labeled a nuisance animal or a dangerous animal, depending on the circumstances surrounding the attack. If you were not severely injured, you may only be successful at having the dog designated as a nuisance. However, if you were critically injured, disfigured, or a family member was killed by the dog, you should be able to have the dog labeled dangerous.
Once the court has designated the animal as either dangerous or a nuisance, the dog’s owner will be subject to certain restrictions, such as keeping the dog muzzled when not in the owner’s home or secure enclosure. As difficult as it may be to do this for your own dog or a dog belonging to a friend or family member, it’s important to help reduce the risk that the same dog will hurt someone else in the future.
You Can Sue the Owner For Damages
If you suffered any kind of tangible harm from the attack, you may be able to sue the owner of the dog for compensation to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and suffering you’ve incurred. The dog does not have to be alive for you to hold the owner responsible for carelessness or negligence that led to you becoming injured. If your lawsuit is successful, you will be awarded compensation retroactively.
If the dog is unfortunately put down as a result of the attack, you will still be able to obtain the financial restitution you need after being harmed by a dangerous dog. You should also note that in cases of very severe dog attack wounds, victims may also be able to obtain additional compensation for pain and suffering, psychological distress, and punitive damages.
When to Involve a Massachusetts Dog Bite Attorney
In the event you are bitten or attacked by a vicious dog, it’s important that you obtain medical care and legal assistance as quickly as possible. Even if your injuries don’t appear to be severe, it’s critical that you still be evaluated by a medical professional for infection, rabies, and other potentially serious medical conditions that can be caused by a dog bite.
If you wait to involve a dog bite lawyer, this could be used against you if you later decide to sue the dog’s owner for negligence. The dog owner’s homeowners insurance may deny your claim because you must not have been injured that badly if you were able to wait to file an insurance claim or lawsuit.
How Mazow | McCullough, PC Can Help
At Mazow | McCullough, PC we know how frightening and emotionally devastating a dog attack can be, especially if you know the dog or do not want the dog to be euthanized because it attacked you. Our veteran legal team can help you navigate the challenges ahead. Contact us today for more information by dialing (978) 744-8000 or toll free at (855) 693-9084.