What Does A Massachusetts Dog Bite Lawyer Do?

There are an estimated 4.7 million dog bites in the United States each year. Of these, roughly 800,000 require medical treatment for the personal injuries sustained. An attorney in Massachusetts who handles these accident cases is an advocate for the injured victim. The attorney’s primary and ultimate responsibility is to obtain full and fair financial compensation for the personal injuries the victim of the dog bite suffered.

The first thing a dog bite attorney does is to identify the dog owner, as well as the dog owner’s insurance company. Thereafter, once that information is found, a claim will be set up with the insurance company. This is a homeowner’s insurance claim filed with the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance company. If the dog owner does not have any type of either homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance, then there would be no insurance to pursue. In that event, the owner of the dog will personally be pursued out of his or her own pocket to financially compensate the dog-bite victim.

Assuming that there is, in fact, insurance, the attorney will correspond with the homeowner’s insurance company adjuster. The attorney, as well, will obtain any and all photographs that will document the damage caused by the dog bite. Additionally, the attorney or the attorney’s paralegal will collect all medical records, medical bills, and assemble those documents. Thereafter, a demand package will be sent to the homeowner’s insurance company and/or to the dog owner directly if there is no homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance to pursue.

If the dog owner does not have insurance, and he or she does not have any type of assets or money to contribute to a settlement, the claimant will likely get nothing from the owner of the dog. More times than not, we find that there is, in fact, insurance in place for these incidents. Assuming that there is insurance, the attorney will negotiate with the insurance adjuster in order to obtain for his or her client a fair settlement for the dog bite injury sustained. After much back-and-forth, there likely will be a settlement that is reached.

Once the settlement is reached, the dog-bite victim will be required to sign a settlement release. This is a legal document that essentially in legalese states that in exchange for the financial compensation, the dog bite injury victim, who is the claimant, will thereby agree to forever close the case. That means, in exchange for the compensation, the claimant can never, ever in the future, pursue the dog owner or the dog owner’s insurance company for additional further compensation. Nearly all of these cases do settle with the insurance companies because of a legal doctrine called strict liability. Strict liability means that the owner of the dog is automatically liable to the victim for any and all injuries that result from a dog bite or a dog attack.

That is unlike negligence in that negligence needs to be proved by establishing that certain elements were met. However, with strict liability, that is not the case. Essentially, if your dog attacks and/or injures another person, the owner of the dog is automatically liable to the victim without any type of showing of negligence required. Because of strict liability, that is the primary reason why nearly all these cases do settle with insurance companies. However, if there is a difference of opinion between the dog bite victim’s attorney and the insurance company, then the case will not settle.

What that will ultimately require will be a lawsuit in order to advance the client’s case against the dog owner. The lawsuit will require a process that is called discovery. Discovery involves the taking of depositions, as well as the exchange of documents, as well as the answering of interrogatories.

If you are someone you know has been attacked by a dog and suffered personal injuries, as a result, I encourage you to reach out to us today at the Earley Law Group Injury Lawyers by calling us at 617-444-7777. Additionally, I would encourage you to check out our website, which has a series of books called The Truth Series. One of these books is called How to Find the Right Lawyer for Your Case, which I encourage you to read if you are seeking out the services of a personal injury attorney to handle your dog-bite case.

At Earley Law Group, we understand how overwhelming things can be after suffering an unexpected injury. You’re facing high medical bills that don’t stop pouring in. You’re feeling financial strain because your injury has forced you to miss work. Worst of all, your day-to-day pain and suffering weigh heavily on your mind every single minute. All because of someone else’s negligence.