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Strict liability for dog-related injuries in Massachusetts

Dogs are often considered members of Worchester families and many are loyal companions who thrive in safe and positive homes. However, not all dogs are prepared to encounter new people and new situations with care. When a dog causes an injury to a person or their property, their victim may wonder what can be done to recover their losses.

Strict liability for losses from dog incidents

In Massachusetts, a dog owner is strictly liable for the losses their dog causes to a victim. Whether a victim is tripped by a dog, bitten by a dog, or a dog kills their pet or livestock, that victim can pursue their losses from the dog’s owner. A victim does not have to prove that the dog was dangerous or that the dog’s owner was negligent; strict liability makes the owner liable for the harm their dog inflicts on others.

Strict liability does not guarantee a recovery of damages

Though a victim need not show negligence or fault on the part of the dog’s owner to recover their losses, they may discover that the dog owner has defenses to explain the actions of their pet. For example, if the victim was a trespasser on the dog owner’s land when the incident occurred, the owner may not be liable for the victim’s losses. Similarly, if there is evidence that the victim provoked or incited the dog to attack them, the victim may not be able to be compensated for the harm they endured.

Like many personal injury claims, dog injury cases can be complicated and are often decided on the facts and evidence that the parties are able to present. Preparing for a dog injury case can be challenging for a victim who is coping with the stress of their attack and losses. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney can support a victim in this difficult situation and provide them with the legal guidance they require.


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