Do You Have a Massachusetts Dog Bite Case?

Dog bite

If you were attacked or bitten by a dog in Massachusetts, you may pursue a dog bite case against the owner or keeper of the dog.  Salem personal injury attorney Bob Allison has been helping dog bite victims get the compensation they deserve for over 25 years.

Proving a Dog Bite Claim – Strict Liability

In order to receive compensation for a personal injury claim in a dog bite case, you must prove:

  • The identity of the owner or keeper of the dog;
  • That the dog did damage to your body or property; and
  • That, at the time such damage was sustained, you were not committing a trespass or other tort, or were teasing or tormenting or abusing the dog.

If a claim is brought in behalf of a child who was under 7 years of age at the time the damage was done, it is presumed that the child was not committing a trespass or other tort, or teasing, tormenting or abusing the dog.  The burden of showing that the child engaged in such conduct is on the owner or keeper of the dog.

You DO NOT  have to prove that the owner or keeper was negligent.

Treble Damages

If a town, city or district court has issued an order that the dog be restrained prior to the dog bite, the owner or keeper of the dog shall be liable to the person injured in treble the amount of damages sustained by him.


If the owner or keeper of the dog is a homeowner, the owner or keeper will have homeowner’s insurance and the damages you sustain may be covered under the insurance policy.  However, some insurance companies have exclusions in their policies for damages caused by dogs.

If the owner or keeper has no insurance or has an exclusion for dog bites, you can still pursue a claim against the owner or keeper.  However, any compensation for your damages would be paid from such person’s personal assets.

Landlords/Property Owners

If the owner or keeper of the dog lives in an apartment, you may pursue a claim against  the landlord for negligence (strict liability does not apply). You must prove that:

  • You were lawfully on the premises at the time you were attacked;
  • You were attacked or bitten by a dog while on the premises;
  • The owner or keeper of the dog stayed/lived at the premises;
  • The landlord knew or should have known that the dog had dangerous propensities and what actions would have been reasonable in light of their duty as landlords to protect tenants from reasonably foreseeable risks of harm;
  • You suffered damages; and
  • Your damages were caused by the dog attack/bite.

Dog Bites – Six Things to Do

Take the following action if you or a family member were attacked by a dog:

  • Call emergency medical professionals;
  • Seek treatment for your injuries;
  • Get tests to determine if you need a rabies shot;
  • Get the name and address of the dog’s owner or keeper;
  • Get photographs of your injuries, and of the place of attack; and
  • Get the name and address of any witnesses

Free Personal Injury Consultation

If you were injured in a dog attack, contact Attorney Bob Allison now for a free consultation by calling 978-740-9433 or filling out our free consultation form.  We look forward to talking to you about your Massachusetts personal injury claim.