Massachusetts Law Regarding Injuries by Dogs

Massachusetts law is somewhat unique when it comes to the rights of persons injured by a dog. Massachusetts, by statute, makes the owner or “keeper” (not an owner but one controlling the dog) of a dog liable to a person injured by the dog even if the owner or keeper is not negligent. This is an example of “strict liability.” In other words, if you are injured by another’s dog, you may recover without proving the owner or keeper knew of the dangerous propensities (if any) of the dog prior to the time of your injury. What you do need to prove is that you were not trespassing, teasing, tormenting or otherwise abusing the dog when you were injured. If a minor under seven years of age is injured, the law presumes the child was not teasing, etc. the dog. Finally, one may recover from an owner or keeper even if the dog does not actually come in physical contact with you. We’ve represented several bicycle riders who were injured when they either collided with a dog chasing them or flew over the handle bars while braking as they were avoiding a wayward dog.

If you’ve been injured by a dog in Massachusetts, contact our office for a free consultation.

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