According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), dog-related injuries accounted for more than one-third of U.S. homeowners insurance claims in 2014. That adds up to more than $530 million. Further analysis conducted by the I.I.I. revealed that the average per-claim cost had increased by 15 percent compared with the previous year.
“The average cost per claim nationally has risen more than 67 percent from 2003 to 2014, due to increased medical costs as well as the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs, which are still on the upswing,” said III vice president, Loretta Worters.
And dog bites are more common than most people think. Each year in the United States, about 800,000 dog bite injuries are serious enough to require medical attention. These attacks range from minor flesh wounds to life-threatening injuries, and even fatalities.
In Massachusetts, there are a number of laws relating to dog bite injuries, and the state’s dog owners and keepers are “strictly liable” for damages caused by dog attacks. If you suffer injuries caused by a dog bite or attack, you may be entitled to compensation.
Statute of limitations in MA
Statutes of limitation are laws that set time limits for filing civil lawsuits. In Massachusetts, most liability claims have to be filed within three years of the date of injury, including cases involving dog bites.
With statutes of limitations, it is important to know when the clock starts ticking, as well as when the time runs out. If you don’t file your claim before the deadline, you will likely be barred from bringing your case to court. The statute of limitations timeline on dog bites begins at the time of injury. A Boston personal injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured in a dog attack.
Massachusetts Dog Bite Statute
When it comes to dog attacks, Massachusetts is a strict liability state. This means that the injured victim is not required to prove negligence to collect damages. As long as the victim can show that the injury was caused by the dog, and the injury meets other state requirements, he or she may be eligible to obtain compensation. Further, the injury itself does not necessarily have to have been caused by the actual bite. The victim may file a claim even if the injuries were caused by tripping and falling over the dog, for example, or if the dog ran into the road, causing a bicycle or motor vehicle accident.
Compensation for Injuries
If you are attacked or bitten by a dog, the first thing to do is get medical treatment and make sure that the dog’s shots are up-to-date. As is the case with any personal injury claim, the value of dog bite or dog injury claims depend on multiple factors, including:
- the severity of the physical injury,
- the duration of your symptoms,
- and any potential damages caused by the injury (lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses, etc.).
In Massachusetts, dog bite and attack injuries are usually covered by homeowner’s insurance, which should compensate the victim for bodily injury and damages. If the owner/keeper has no insurance coverage, the victim may have to seek direct reimbursement for any damages. A MA personal injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by another’s dog. Continue reading