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Litigation in Massachusetts Following an Animal Attack

By DiBella Law Offices on July 1, 2015

There are many animal owners in Massachusetts who feel that their pet will do no wrong. Unfortunately, even an animal that has never previously shown aggression could attack innocent people, resulting in serious injuries, infection or disease. In many cases, the pet owner will be held liable for an animal attack.

A person who is injured in an animal attack should first seek medical attention. Once such care is provided, filing a civil case against the pet owner may be appropriate. To increase the chance of a successful case, it is helpful to have the names and contact information for the pet owner and any witnesses.

While litigation regarding a case such as this varies by state, Massachusetts is a strict liability state. This means that the pet owner is liable for his pet, even if the owner did not suspect that the animal may be violent or did nothing wrong. In some specific situations, an owner could argue contributory negligence. In order for this argument to be successful, the owner must prove that the victim behaved in such a way that led to the attack. For example, the victim ignored adequate warnings regarding the risk of attack by climbing a fence with clearly posted “Beware of Dog” signs.

It may be beneficial for a person injured in an animal attack in Massachusetts to seek the help of an experienced attorney. In many cases, there may be more than one person liable for an attack which an attorney can help identify. If a case is successfully presented, the victim could be awarded damages for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses and property damage. If it can be proved that the pet owner’s behavior was reckless — such as allowing a dog known to have violent tendencies to run free around small children — punitive damages might also be awarded.

Source: FindLaw, “Dog Bites and Animal Attack Overview“, Accessed on July 1, 2015

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