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Animal attacks go beyond dog bites

While most people in Massachusetts know that sometimes even the gentlest of dogs can lash out and bite a person, other animals besides dogs can bite or attack. For example, sometimes a horse can hurt an innocent person, and some people in Massachusetts even keep wild animals as pets.

Let's take a look at horses. Oftentimes a horse will kick a person, unlike a dog that will bite a person. Injuries caused specifically by horses may not be addressed in state statutes. Therefore, oftentimes a horse-kick injury will be evaluated under the laws of negligence. In general, under the laws of negligence, if the owner knew or should have known that the horse presented a hazard, he or she could be held responsible for the horse's actions.

Moreover, what happens if a person keeps a wild animal as a pet and that animal attacks? Oftentimes pet owners in such situations will be strictly liable for wild animal attacks, just as they would be for an attack by a dog. The thought behind this is that wild animals present an inherent danger, as they cannot be controlled and could potentially be dangerous. Even if the pet owner took steps to try to prevent the possibility of an attack, such as erecting a fence, strict liability may still apply.

In the end, whether it is a dog, a horse or a wild animal, pet owners are responsible for their pet's actions. They need to recognize that their animal can be dangerous in certain situations. If a person suffers injuries after an animal attack in Massachusetts, he or she may want to determine whether he or she can take legal action against the animal's owner.

Source: FindLaw, "Does the Type of Animal Affect a Bite Injury Case?," accessed May 1, 2017

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