Dog Bites and Attacks on Children: Whose Fault is it?
Children Attacked by Dogs Are Usually More Seriously Injured Than Adults
Young children are full of wonder and curiosity and are often prone to exploration and experimentation. Most do not understand there should be physical boundaries between humans and animals especially between dogs and children who are often naturally drawn to animals. A child’s innocence and naiveté coupled with an over protective dog can lead to problems.
Child dog bite attack injuries are usually more serious then those suffered by adult victims. Children are smaller and weaker and thereby less capable of fending off dog attacks. Children are also shorter and their head, neck and face are in closer proximity to a dog’s mouth.
About Child Dog Attack Injuries
Dog attack injuries range from serious puncture wounds to scratches. Children often sustain torn flesh and tissue injuries to the neck, head and arms. Larger dogs have jaws strong enough to crush human bone. Extensive bleeding can occur especially if one of the major arteries in the human body is punctured. Rabies and permanent scarring often result and in serious cases so can dismemberment and death.
Recovering from dog bites can be a long and painful process. In certain cases a child victim might have to undergo several rounds of reconstructive surgery or skin grafts in an attempt repair scarring and disfiguring injuries. Most children also suffer post traumatic stress disorder due to the trauma of the attack. Counseling is often required to address the mental wellbeing of the child.
Child Dog Bite Law in Massachusetts
Massachusetts law provides protection for victims of dog bites and attacks; especially when young children are the victims. Under Massachusetts law, a dog owner or keeper is strictly liable for dog bites unless the victim was trespassing, teasing, tormenting or abusing the dog, or was committing another tort (wrongdoing.)
However, a child under the age of 7 is automatically presumed to have done nothing to cause the attack and cases are almost always in favor of children age 6 and under:
General Laws of Massachusetts, Chapter 140: Section 155. Liability for damage caused by dog; minors; presumption and burden of proof. Section 155. If any dog shall do any damage to either the body or property of any person, the owner or keeper, or if the owner or keeper be a minor, the parent or guardian of such minor, shall be liable for such damage, unless such damage shall have been occasioned to the body or property of a person who, at the time such damage was sustained, was committing a trespass or other tort, or was teasing, tormenting or abusing such dog. If a minor, on whose behalf an action under this section is brought, is under seven years of age at the time the damage was done, it shall be presumed that such minor was not committing a trespass or other tort, or teasing, tormenting or abusing such dog, and the burden of proof thereof shall be upon the defendant in such action
Does the dog have to bite your child in order to bring a claim?
While most dog attacks do result in bites, the victim does not need to be actually bitten to bring a dog bite claim. If a fall injury or some other type of injury occurs while running away from or avoiding a dog attack then you can bring a claim for those injuries.
Boston Area Experienced Wrongful Death and Dog Bite Victim Attorneys
No Fee Unless We Recover For You – Initial Consultations Are Always Free
If your child suffered an injury or fatality as a result of a dog bite or attack, our lawyers can help you hold those responsible accountable for their negligence. We have a proven track record with over 35 years of legal experience in handling personal injury and premises liability claims for victims of dog bites. Our child injury attorneys have successfully represented countless families over the years and we can help yours as well.
No matter where you are located, our personal injury and premises liability dog bite lawyers are just a phone call away — call today to schedule a free no-obligation case review and consultation at (508) 588-0422 or click the link below to email us using our Free Case Evaluation Form.
Our dog bite victim lawyers assist children and adult clients throughout Southeast Massachusetts including, but not limited to, those in the following counties, cities and towns: Plymouth County including Brockton, Plymouth, Bridgewater, Marshfield, Hingham, Duxbury, Wareham, Abington, Rockland, Whitman, Hanson, Middleborough; Norfolk County including Quincy, Stoughton, Dedham, Weymouth, Braintree, Avon, Holbrook, Randolph, Canton, Sharon, Brookline, Franklin; Bristol County including New Bedford, Fall River, Taunton, Attleboro, Mansfield, Easton, Raynham, Norton; and the Greater Boston area including Cambridge, Dorchester, Roxbury and Somerville.
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