Superb Dog Bite Article from CBS 3 in Springfield, Massachusetts
The attorneys over at Pellegrini, Seeley, Ryan & Blakesley, P.C. provided CBS channel 3 in Springfield, Massachusetts with a great, in-depth article regarding dog bite law in Massachusetts. Here it is:
Dog Bite – What Should I DO?Close
An animal attack is a frightening and traumatic event, particularly for a child victim. Animal attacks on victims are often unprovoked. Generally, the animal's owner is legally responsible for the injuries and damages caused by the attack if the animal was not being tormented, teased or abused by the victim, and the victim was not trespassing or otherwise involved in conduct that prompted or provoked the attack.
The scene in the aftermath of an attack is usually chaotic. The best way to assist the victim is to remain calm yourself and focus on first assisting the victim. You should get as much information as possible about the animal, the animal's history, the animal's owner, and about the actual events of the attack. This information will assist the authorities and medical care providers assess the danger the attacking animal poses to the victim and to the public-at-large.
You should concentrate on doing the following at the scene of the attack:
1. Obtain the name, address and telephone number of the victim, if the victim is a child try to get the name, address and telephone number of the child's parent or legal guardian in order to provide this information to the police and/or emergency responders;
2. Call 911 for police and emergency assistance personnel;
3. Cooperate with the police and emergency assistance personnel as soon as they arrive on the scene;
4. Write down the identify the animal's owner, by name, address, and telephone number;
5. Write down the animal owner's insurance company*s name, address and telephone number;
6. Write down the animal's, name, breed and physical description;
7. Write down the animal's license tag number, if available;
8. Write down the animal's rabies vaccination certificate, if available;
9. Write down the witnesses to the attack by name, address and telephone number;
10. Report the attack to the animal control official in the city or town where the attack occurred as soon as possible;
11. Photograph the animal, if possible while the animal is still at the scene of the attack;
12. Photograph the victim's injuries or wounds;
13. Contact and consult with an attorney as soon as possible;
14. Don't sign anything without obtaining your attorney's counsel and advice.
The injuries sustained in an animal attack may be permanently impairing or disfiguring. The victim may incur substantial expenses for medical care and treatment and there may be substantial future medical treatment expenses. The animal's owner may avoid the victim, or the owner may be unusually solicitous, wanting to "help" the victim with an offer to pay for some of the treatment or offering a modest amount of money in order to be relieved of any further liability.
Some animal owners have insurance coverage to respond to claims for injuries caused by their animals. The insurance company representative will generally investigate an incident and will want to interview the victim and the witnesses. An insurance company representative may contact the victim with a promise of a quick monetary settlement if the victim will sign a release of liability. Needless to say the insurance company is not required to act in the victim's best interests.
The best way for the victim to be protected is to learn what legal rights and remedies are available by consulting with an attorney as soon as possible. Attorneys at Pellegrini, Seeley, Ryan & Blakesley, P.C., are available and ready for confidential and private no-charge consultation with the victim and the victim's parent or legal guardian.
Attorneys at Pellegrini, Seeley, Ryan & Blakesley, P.C., will assist you by evaluating the legal liability of the animal's owner, evaluate the potential monetary value of the injuries and damages sustained as a result of the animal attack, represent you in presenting and resolving your claim against the animal's owner and/or the owner's insurance company, and provide legal representation to you in a legal action seeking compensation for injuries and damages you incurred and caused by the animal attack.
Call Pellegrini, Seeley, Ryan & Blakesley, P.C. for an appointment.
* Don't sign anything until you have spoken with your attorney
M.G.L. ch. 140 – 155 makes a dog owner or keeper liable for bodily or property damage done by the dog unless the injured person was committing a trespass or tort, or was teasing, tormenting or abusing the dog.