Spare the Statute, Spoil the Defendant - Personal Injury Legal Blogs Posted by Robert I. Feinberg - Lawyers.com

Spare the Statute, Spoil the Defendant

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?
View Attorney Profile

Robert I. Feinberg

Licensed since 1982

Member at firm Feinberg & Alban, P.C.

AWARDS

AV Preeminent

RECENT POSTS

  • Statements of Intent
    Posted on December 5, 2012

    In Mutual Life Insurance Company v. Hillmon, the Supreme Court rendered a famous and controversial judgement concerning the admissibility of a person’s out-of-court statement. Rule 803(3) of the Federal Rules of Evidence deals with the famous Hillmon case, but it restricts its applicability. In Hillmon, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed evidence of person A’s statement ... Read more

  • Jury Impanelment (Cont.)
    Posted on November 28, 2012
    Topic: Litigation

    Most trial attorneys and judges will tell you that you can never predict the way that jurors will interpret a case.  Further, because the secrecy of jury deliberations is so closely guarded, none of us can really know what specifically influenced the jurors.  The judges talk to the jurors after the verdict in the jury ... Read more

  • Civil Litigators… In the Beginning
    Posted on November 20, 2012

    Having employed law students and new lawyers for almost thirty years, I find their perceptions worth sharing for what it says about the practice of law as opposed to their expectations. At the outset, let me point out that these are talented and earnest people.  In general, civil litigation is not what they expected after ... Read more

Robert I. Feinberg

Licensed since 1982

Member at firm Feinberg & Alban, P.C.

AWARDS

AV Preeminent

RECENT POSTS

  • Statements of Intent
    Posted on December 5, 2012

    In Mutual Life Insurance Company v. Hillmon, the Supreme Court rendered a famous and controversial judgement concerning the admissibility of a person’s out-of-court statement. Rule 803(3) of the Federal Rules of Evidence deals with the famous Hillmon case, but it restricts its applicability. In Hillmon, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed evidence of person A’s statement ... Read more

  • Jury Impanelment (Cont.)
    Posted on November 28, 2012
    Topic: Litigation

    Most trial attorneys and judges will tell you that you can never predict the way that jurors will interpret a case.  Further, because the secrecy of jury deliberations is so closely guarded, none of us can really know what specifically influenced the jurors.  The judges talk to the jurors after the verdict in the jury ... Read more

  • Civil Litigators… In the Beginning
    Posted on November 20, 2012

    Having employed law students and new lawyers for almost thirty years, I find their perceptions worth sharing for what it says about the practice of law as opposed to their expectations. At the outset, let me point out that these are talented and earnest people.  In general, civil litigation is not what they expected after ... Read more