In my view, a good dog really is man’s (and woman’s) best friend — most of the time.
However, if you’ve ever been bitten by a dog – even your own – you know that a dog bite injury is painful and shocking. Victims of dog attacks can experience not only substantial physical injuries, but emotional injuries, as well. To be attacked by an animal can be extremely traumatic (no surprise as the animal is trying to rip your flesh off.) Dog bites can cause very severe lacerations and bleeding, with resulting scarrring and disfigurement. Here are just some of the more common injuries that can result from dog bites:
• Infection that is caused by dog saliva and bacteria from the dog’s mouth • Rabies • Nerve damage • Soft tissue damage • Fractured or broken bones • Arm, chest and leg injuries • Facial injuries • Head Injuries • Torn ligaments • Permanent disfigurement and scarring • Psychological trauma (depression and anxiety)
• PTSD (Post-traumatic stress syndrome)
Psychological trauma, as I said, is not uncommon, and even death can result.
All kinds of dogs can inflict bites. But some breeds, such as pit bulls, are known for being particularly aggressive. Not surprisingly, children are, statistically, the most common victim of dog attacks. This makes sense, since an aggresssive dog is more likely to attack a smaller target, than a larger adult. Also, children under ten years of age or so haven’t yet developed judgement skills that can help avoid dangerous encounters. My own childhood dog – a cross between a schnauzer and a poodle — used to show me her teeth from time to time, when she thought I was going to take away her food – and it wasn’t a pleasant sight. In fact, it was pretty scary. She was great, but you didn’t cross her.
That saud, most people who suffer a dog bite are bitten by someone else’s dog. Initially, some people might be hesitant to file a claim because they are friends with the dog’s owner. Nonetheless, if you or a child of yours has been bitten by someone else’s dog, Massachusetts law allows you to receive compensation for your injuries. The law in Massachusetts specifically provides that dog owners have a legal duty to supervise their dogs in a reasonable manner and to take adequate measures to safeguard the general public from being attacked by their dog.
If you or someone you care about suffers a dog bite, follow the First-Things-First approach: Get appropriate medical treatment. Afterward, you should contact an experienced Massachusetts dog bite lawyer, to make sure that you preserve your legal rights to compensation in this circumstance. Victims of dog bites are entitled to financial damages for their injuries, and can be covered for all their medical bills. These can include everything from plastic or reconstructive surgery to psychological counseling, as well as lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering. Ideally, if the dog owner has Homeowners Insurance, this insurance coverage would provide financial damages for medical bills plus the pain and suffering caused to you.
Just as there are certain things you should do in the aftermath of a dog attack or a dog bite, there are also things you should NOT do: Do not discuss or make any statements about your case with any employees or insurance representatives of the property owner, without first speaking with a dog attack attorney. Whatever you do, do not accept any payments or sign any releases before speaking to your lawyer. If you accept a payment without consulting your attorney, you could wind up waiving your right to financial recovery.
Lastly, do not apologize for the dog attack, by, for example, admitting that “It was my fault.” Any statements you make, trust me, will be — used against you by insurance companies and their attorneys to defeat your claim for compensation. Insurance companies tend to be very aggressive and based on my experience working in the insurance industry, I know that insurance companies always want to pay very little – or nothing – on most if not all injury claims. If you’ve been bitten by someone else’s dog, don’t be foolish: Get yourself a very experienced Massachusetts dog bite lawyer – one that handles these types of cases regularly, not “occasionally.”