Articles Posted in Animal Bites

Those who are hurt on the job may be eligible to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. They may also be able to file civil claims for damages if their injuries were caused by someone other than their employer. During civil cases, defendants will commonly try to submit proof of the plaintiff’s  payments from other sources, but typically be barred from doing so because it would be prejudicial to the plaintiff. Recently, a Massachusetts court recently addressed the question of whether the inverse is true, in  a dog bite case in which the plaintiff introduced evidence of the workers’ compensation benefits he received.  If you were hurt in a dog attack, it is smart to speak to a Massachusetts personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

The Defendant’s Injury

Reportedly, the plaintiff, a mailman, offered to cover a route for one of his coworkers. When the plaintiff was delivering mail to the defendant’s house, the defendant’s dog approached him. He attempted to give the dog a treat, but the dog attacked him. He was eventually able to free himself from the dog, at which point the defendant came out of his house to inquire if the dog had bitten him.

Allegedly, the plaintiff submitted a workers’ compensation claim seeking benefits for a wrist injury he sustained in the attack. He subsequently filed a civil lawsuit against the defendant as well, seeking damages under the dog bite statute. The plaintiff requested that the court allow him to introduce evidence of the workers’ compensation benefits he received following the incident at trial. The defendant opposed the plaintiff’s request, arguing that that jury would interpret the evidence as proof of the defendant’s fault and the plaintiff’s damages. The plaintiff’s motion was granted, and the jury ultimately found for the plaintiff. The defendant subsequently appealed. Continue Reading ›

Landowners and those who own businesses can be held liable for injuries on their property in many instances. Similarly, those who own animals – dogs in particular (although not exclusively) – can also be held accountable for injuries inflicted on others under certain circumstances.

Of course, not every encounter between humans and animals will result in a finding of negligence against the owner of the dog or other animal in a Cape Cod personal injury lawsuit. It all depends upon the particular encounter and whether the pet owner’s negligence contributed to harm to the plaintiff.

In cases in which an animal’s owner is held liable for a person’s injuries from a bite or other harm, the injured individual may be entitled to substantial money damages. This can include medical expenses, lost earnings, and compensation for pain and suffering, among other things.

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Those who own animals that cause serious injury to others by biting them or otherwise attacking them can be held liable for medical expenses, lost earnings, and other damages. Of course, there are some limitations on this general rule. For instance, if the bite or attack came as a result of the plaintiff provoking the animal in some manner, the owner may not be liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. Often, Cape Cod dog bite cases come down to a factual dispute that must be resolved by the trier of fact. Sometimes, however, dog bite cases can be handled though the pre-trial summary judgment process.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in a recent (unreported) case was a man who was bitten by a dog owned by the defendant. Seeking monetary compensation for serious injuries he allegedly received in the incident, the plaintiff filed suit against the defendant pursuant to Massachusetts General Law ch. 140, § 155. In his suit, the plaintiff stated claims for both negligence and strict liability, alleging that, at the time that he was bitten, he was not “teasing, tormenting, or abusing” the dog but, rather, had merely leaned down to pet the animal. The defendant’s unsigned answers to interrogatories asserted that the plaintiff had awoken the dog from sleep, stepped on its tail, and swung a heavy medallion at the dog.

The trial court granted summary judgment to the plaintiff. The defendant sought reconsideration, but the trial court did not change its earlier ruling in the plaintiff’s favor. The defendant appealed.

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Police dogs are used by many law enforcement agencies across the country to assist officers as they search for drugs, locate missing individuals, and, sometimes, help apprehend suspects who attempt to flee the scene after being arrested.

Just as human officers can occasionally make mistakes, so, too, can K-9 officers. When this happens, should an innocent person who is injured by the dog’s error have the right to sue the government for damages?

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A liability insurance policy is, at its essence, a contract. In determining whether to enter into the agreement, an insurance company is entitled to rely on certain representations made by the would-be insured and to price its product accordingly.

Once the agreement is made, the insured has the right to demand that the insurance company defend him or her against any claims that are covered under the policy and pay any judgments (up to the policy limits) resulting from such claims.

A recent case explored the issue of whether a particular misrepresentation by the insureds during the application process was sufficient for the insurance company to later void the policy and deny coverage of a claim that would otherwise be covered.

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As the warm months are finally here, many residents and visitors in Cape Cod look forward to spending much of the summer outdoors.  From casual strolls to more energetic bike rides or jogs, people will be outside enjoying the warmer climate in excess.  Just like their owners, dogs will be outside in greater proportions than in the colder months.  With this in mind, we should all take greater care when in contact with an unfamiliar dog, whether or not it is on a leash.

Dog bites can cause any number of injuries from the less serious nip to a terrifying bite to the face, head or neck.  If you have been the victim of a dog bite, you will most likely be entitled to some form of compensation for your pain and suffering. A local personal injury attorney with experience handling dog bite cases can help you to maximize your recovery.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are ways to avoid being the victim of a dog bite. Interestingly enough, the organization suggests that people start by being “polite” and respecting the dog’s personal space.  While adults can easily manage to behave accordingly in the company of pets, children, especially young kids, may not do so.  Often, a child will run up to a dog, on a leash or not, and try to pet the dog.  Parents and other adults are encouraged to heed this advice (and teach their children to so as well) and treat dogs with a particular level of respect.

The Humane Society also suggests that people avoid approaching an unfamiliar dog, especially one who is confined behind a fence, tied up or in a car.  And when you do attempt to pet a dog, even your own pet, make sure that they have an opportunity to see and sniff you beforehand.  When dogs are chewing on a toy, sleeping or with their puppies, it is suggested that you do not bother them.  If you come in contact with an unfamiliar dog, realize that they may consider you to be a threat, possibly some kind of intruder.

Another piece of advice offered by the Humane Society is to place a good distance of space between you and the dog, and in doing so, you should assess the situation and look for signs that the dog may attack or bite.  If you think a dog is about to attack, here are some additional recommendations the organization provides: 1) resist the urge to scream and run away; 2) stay motionless, with your hands at your sides, and be sure to avoid eye contact with the dog; 3) when the dog loses interest in you, slowly back away until he is out of sight (do not turn and run away); 4) if the dog does attack, give him your purse, jacket, bicycle, or any item that you can put between you and the dog.

In Massachusetts, owners or those responsible for a dog are usually held strictly liable for any injuries caused by their dog.  A victim is entitled to sue that person for extensive damages.  If a dog bit you, your child or another relative, contact a local dog bite attorney as soon as possible. Continue Reading ›

Dog Bite Prevention week takes place every year during the third week in May.  The purpose is to raise awareness among people in Cape Cod and throughout the country, about effective ways to prevent dog bites in order to keep you and your family safe.  A dog bite can be particularly frightening and has the potential to cause serious injuries, especially if the incident involves a large, intimidating dog.  In any case involving a dog bite, the injured person may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering and economic damages.  A local injury attorney would be able to help you to evaluate your claim and recuperate any losses.

The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that there are 70 million dogs living in U.S. households.  The organization further reports that millions of people — most of them children — are bitten by dogs each year.  What may be surprising to many readers is that the majority of these bites, if not all, are considered to be preventable.  According to one article, dog bite prevention begins with the understanding that dogs do not bite people “out of the blue” or for no apparent reason.  This article suggests that dog bites occur when the pet is anxious about a situation that is taking place.

When children are bitten, it can be particularly upsetting because the bite is usually on the child’s head, face or neck – vulnerable and sensitive parts of the body.  It is even more disturbing when the biter is the family pet.  But this article suggests that families can take notice of warning signs that may indicate when the pet is feeling anxious, leading it to protect or defend itself by biting.  Some of these signs include the following: barking or whining, lip licking or tongue flicking, crouching or tucking in tail, turning head or entire body away from a situation, tightly closing mouth, yawning, ears pinned back to head, body is still or in a “freeze,” and something referred to as a “half moon eye,” which happens when the whites of a dog’s eyes are exposed.

Parents or other adults should always supervise a child around a dog.  The pet needs space and an alternative location, such as a crate, to retreat to for quiet time away from children.  And while children may think it is fun to play with a dog by grabbing its toys and tossing them around as they would their own toys, dogs do not understand that children are simply playing.  They may feel threatened and become protective and defensive. It is also a good idea to always leave dogs alone when they are eating, chewing on a toy or sleeping.

It is important to take these prevention tips seriously.  Getting bitten by a dog can have lasting effects on a child throughout adolescence and into adulthood.  There is no real defense in Massachusetts when a dog bites someone. The basic rule of law is that the dog’s owner is responsible. Even in cases where someone is injured in trying to escape a threatening dog, the owner can be held responsible for any injuries that occur.  If a dog bit your child, contact a local injury attorney who specializes in handling dog bite cases.

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Unfortunately, there has been another vicious dog bite attack in Massachusetts. The latest incident occurred at a construction demolition yard in Revere. A 14-year-old boy suffered severe dog bite injuries, and when a hero cop showed up to help, the boy was unresponsive. Rushed to the hospital, the boy suffered open wounds to his skull, has undergone surgery, and is facing multiple plastic surgery operations down the road.

The report of the attack is terrifying. A 12-year-old friend of the victim called 9-1-1 while the two Rottweilers, both guard dogs, were mauling the victim. The two boys had been visiting the dogs for months and petting them through the fence without incident. On the day of the attack, the older boy climbed over the fence, and the animals set upon him after he fiddled with his cell phone.

The police officer who saved the boy acted courageously, and the boy’s mother credits the officer with saving her son’s life. Ironically, he was previously the target of an investigation concerning his work ethic, and it appears that whatever issue existed has now fallen firmly by the wayside. While these guard dogs were contained on their property when the attack occurred, they were both euthanized voluntarily after the horrific tragedy.

The mother of a 6-year-old Massachusetts boy that was attacked by a nearly 50 lb. dog recently filed a complaint with the Mansfield Selectmen. She asked the governmental body to declare the animal dangerous and to order that it be put to sleep. Her son was mauled in the dog bite attack, and he required more than 400 stitches to close a multitude of wounds to his face and body.

After the terrifying incident, the neighbors were required to keep the dog inside their home while the selectmen acted on the mother’s complaint. The local animal control officer testified during formal proceedings that the animal would likely bite another time and that such an attack could be even more severe. The selectmen ultimately determined the animal was dangerous and ordered it to be euthanized. The owners were given 10 days to appeal the ruling.

During the 10-day period, the dog attacked and bit a 16-year-old occupant of the owner’s home. She required hospitalization, though she was not believed to be in danger of losing her life. The dog, on the other hand, was surrendered to the local animal control authority and was reportedly put to sleep two days later. There was no further information disclosed on the updated medical conditions of the boy or teenage girl.

A man was taken to a Massachusetts hospital recently after he was injured while trying to break up a dog fight. A dog apparently owned by another individual bit another dog in early January. The man that was injured attempted to separate the two animals and was bitten by the same animal that bit the other dog. The nature and extent of the man’s injuries caused by the dog bite was not further reported, and his updated medical condition is not known.

The incident occurred in the Boston suburb of Needham, and the town’s Animal Control Officer responded to the scene. Further details of the attack were not reported. However, the owner of the dog was said to have received a citation because the dog was not muzzled in accordance with local law.

Massachusetts is known as a strict liability state when it comes to dog bite attacks. Nevertheless, the laws regarding strict liability vary from state to state. In addition to state laws, local jurisdictions often have laws that apply within its borders.

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