The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 4.7 million victims suffer dog bites each year. A majority of victims who suffer dog bites are children, seniors and mail carriers. It is estimated that 400,000 children suffer dog bites annually. While adults also suffer injuries from dog attacks, children are more likely to suffer serious injuries in a dog attack than adults may suffer. Nearly 30,000 reconstructive plastic surgery procedures were necessary in 2011 because of dog bite injuries.
One insurance company reported receiving a total of 3,800 dog bite claims. The cost of the 3,800 claims totaled $109 million. Dog bite injuries can lead to significant damages, harm and costs. Because of a desire to protect victims of dog attacks and dog bites, the law in Massachusetts concerning dog bites holds pet owners strictly liable for the injuries suffered by a victim as a result of a dog attack involving their pet. Strict liability provides that regardless of the circumstances, the pet owner is liable to the victim for the victim’s damages.
In certain circumstances, such as when the victim was tormenting the dog at the time of the attack or trespassing at the time of the attack, the pet owner may not be responsible for the victim’s damages suffered as a result. Children under 7 years old, however, are presumed to not have engaged in trespassing or other wrong doing related to a dog attack. Victims of dog attacks may be able to recover damage for medical expenses, lost wages and emotional harm that results from a dog bite injury.
Dog bite injuries can be serious which is why the legal process works hard to protect victims. Victims of dog bite attacks should be familiar with the legal options and resources available to them when they have suffered harm in a dog attack.
Source: Vetstreet.com, “How Common Are Dog Bites? Ask the 4.7 Million People Who Are Bitten Each Year,” Laura Cross, May 21, 2015