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The Massachusetts Court Process for a Dog Bite

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If you (or your attorney) receives a less-than-desirable settlement offer, and negotiations have not produced a resolution, then a lawsuit needs to be filed. At this stage of the process, if you don’t already have a lawyer, it may be a good idea to get one. That is because any dog bite lawsuit, no matter the size of the case, is filled with complicated procedures. Never file a lawsuit on your own. There are too many things that can go wrong if you don’t have a lawyer on your side for the litigation process. First, the lawsuit is filed in the appropriate court against the dog owner. Once that person is served with the lawsuit, then the insurance company that insures that person will assign a lawyer to defend the case. The insurance company lawyer will file an answer on behalf of the person that you sued. Next, the discovery process of the case begins. This is a process when each side to the lawsuit exchanges information with one another. This is done through interrogatories (a fancy word for questions) and requests for production of documents (each side exchanges documents with one another). Next come depositions. These are sworn, oral examinations conducted by the lawyers. Both you, and the person you sued, may be deposed. Depositions typically last about three hours in length. 

If The Case Still Does Not Settle, Then An Actual Trial Will Be Held

This would be a trial in front of a judge and jury. The attorneys will make opening statements, present evidence, examine and cross-examine witnesses. At the conclusion of the case the jurywill render its verdict.

More And More Cases Are Being Resolved Via Mediation And Arbitration

These are two methods of alternative dispute resolution. Mediation is when the parties sit down with a third-party (a lawyer) who works both sides of the dispute to try to come up with a settlement. Arbitration on the other hand is a more formal process that involves a mini-trial in front of an arbitrator, who, like a judge, hears the evidence and testimony, and issues a binding ruling.

It is important to remember that most dog bite cases will be settled before they reach court. If you’ve been bitten by a dog, call our office at 617-338-7400 for more access to free resources. 

 

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