It is often noted that dogs are man’s best friend. However, sometimes, circumstances can instead lead to a dog attack. Victims of dog attacks may be left with serious and disfiguring injuries, as well as physical and emotional scars. In Massachusetts, during 2006, there were 6,300 dog bite injuries that required medical attention. Of those injuries, 146 of them required admission to the hospital for treatment.

Children are at the greatest risk for dog bites and, according to the Massachusetts Emergency Department Database, Division of Health Care Finance and Policy, children under the age of 14 have the most frequent occurrence of dog-bite injuries that result in emergency room visits. The same entity also notes that the head, face and neck regions are the areas of the body most often impacted by dog bites in children under 14-years-old. Among other age groups, the torso, arms and legs were most commonly affected by dog bite injuries.

To help prevent dog bite attacks, it is important that dog owners behave responsibly to train and understand their dogs. It is important to keep in mind that in Massachusetts, dog owners are strictly liable for the harm their dogs cause. Unless the injured party was trespassing, teasing, tormenting or abusing the dog at the time of the dog attack, the dog’s owner will be liable for the harm the dog causes. In circumstances when the dog bite victim is under the age of seven, it is presumed that the child was not trespassing, teasing, tormenting or abusing the dog.

The liability standard for owners in Massachusetts is high to better protect the public and children from the harm associated with dog attacks. Because of the extensive harm victims may suffer because of a dog attack, damages including medical expenses, future medical care and pain and suffering damages, as well as others, may all be available to victims harmed in a dog attack.

Source: Mass.gov, “Paws for Concern Dog Bite Injuries In Massachusetts,” accessed on Nov. 3, 2014