Posted on February 24, 2009 in Personal Injury
In Massachusetts, we have strict liability for an injury caused by a dog. What is strict liability? What are the parameters of the statute?
Strict liability allows a finding for the plaintiff without a showing of negligence. Consequently, it is known as strict and has been compared to strict parenting. Many of us, however, were raised in the era of Dr. Benjamin Spock and knew of no such treatment. In the legal context, it does not get any better than strict liability. Believe me, I know this having received jury verdicts in cases where there have been animal attacks without any indication to the owner of dangerous behavior on the part of the animal. As a result of the statute, I was able to obtain findings for the plaintiff, i.e. without having to prove negligence by simply showing that the defendant was the owner or keeper of the dog and that there was an injury to my client.
The so-called dog bite statute in Massachusetts is Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 140, section 155. Unfortunately, it is referred to as the dog bite statute which is not accurate. What is interesting about this statute is that it does not specify that the personal injury has to occur from a bite. In fact, the statute reads in its beginning, “If any dog shall do any damage…” . The damage is compensable unless the plaintiff was committing an act such as teasing or abusing the dog. If the defendant cannot prove that the plaintiff was abusing the dog, the finding shall be for the plaintiff.
When your personal injury has occurred because of a dog, think strict liability and not negligence. In that sense, you will not spoil the defendant.
Feinberg & Alban, P.C.
Boston Personal Injury Lawyers
141 Tremont Street Boston, MA 02111 As Boston injury attorneys, Massachusetts law dictates strict liability for personal injury caused by a dog. What is strict liability? What are the parameters of the statute?