Strict liability in a Massachusetts animal bite case

On Behalf of | Feb 7, 2019 | Animal Bites

Many of the posts on this personal injury legal blog focus on the theory of negligence. Generally, negligence may occur when a person fails to act reasonably given their circumstances. The negligent acts of individuals can lead to violent car accidents, dangerous truck collisions, serious personal injuries and even tragic wrongful deaths.

To this end, readers may believe that negligence would form the basis of incidents involving animal attacks. For example, if a dog owner was negligent in their control of their pet and that dog bit a victim, the dog owner could be held liable for the victim’s harm if negligence could be proven in court. However, in many cases, animal bite victims do not have to prove negligence to prevail on their claims. That is because our state recognizes strict liability in such situations.

Strick liability imposes a finding of guilt on a person without first having to demonstrate that they were at fault. The idea is that it does not matter how the person acted or what intention they had to prevent harm, if harm occurred then it is their fault. When dogs bite victims here, strict liability will generally apply.

Certain factual scenarios may curtail the recognition of strict liability in the courts for animal bite cases. If a victim is alleged to have committed trespass or to have provoked the animal that bit them into action, then the animal’s owner may not be strictly liable for the injury-causing incident. It is always important for victims to discuss their cases and possible claims with attorneys who work within the personal injury laws of Massachusetts.