A dog bite injury can have serious physical, emotional and financial consequences. A significant amount of recent media attention has focused on a cat that saved a 4-year-old boy from a dog attack. The little boy was riding a small bike when the dog snuck up behind the boy, attacked him and pulled him off of the bike. The cat attacked the 8-month old dog and continued to chase the dog out of the family’s driveway.

The boy was bit on his leg, and the significant gash required 10 stitches. The dog was voluntarily surrendered to local animal control authorities. Following a 10-day rabies quarantine, the animal will be euthanized. Animal control reports the dog is unadoptable for liability reasons.

Because dog-bite law varies by state, it is important to understand the dog attack laws in the state where the victim is harmed. Massachusetts is what is referred to as a strict liability dog bite state. Strict liability for dog bites means that, even if a pet owner did nothing wrong in failing to protect the public, the pet owner is liable for injuries the owner’s dog causes. An injured victim can seek damages through a personal injury dog bite claim.

Damages from a dog attack can be significant because often the injuries and harm are significant. Victims can suffer debilitating injuries that they may carry into the future including scarring and disfigurement. Compensation may depend on the nature of the harm suffered and the unique circumstances of the incident, as well as characteristics of the victim. Victims may recover for medical expenses, physical and emotional pain, pain and suffering damages and other types of damages.

Because an animal attack can be traumatic and victims can suffer serious injuries, options to recover compensation for damages may be available. This can help a victim focus on making as complete an emotional and physical recovery as possible.

Source: The New York Post, “Cat saves boy from vicious dog attack,” David K. Li, May 14, 2014