We have all heard that a dog is a man's best friend; however, some individuals in Massachusetts and elsewhere may not be dog people. Owning a pet, whether it is a dog, cat, bird, horse, farm animal or wild animal, comes with many responsibilities. And when an owner of an animal fails to uphold these responsibilities and their duty to keep others safe from their animal, this could result in serious harm from an animal bite.
Does the type of animal impact an animal bite action? Because a dog is a common pet and they are the culprits of numerous bites each year, each state has enacted dog bite laws. In the state of Massachusetts, strict liability applies. This means that the dog owner is responsible for injuries even if he or she did not know of their dog's dangerous propensities or they attempted to prevent such an attack. However, if a victim provoked a dog, he or she could be barred from seeking damages.
With regards to horses, most injuries from them are kicks rather than bites. Additionally, most states do not have specific laws regarding injuries caused by horses. Thus, these injuries and other injuries caused by domestic animals fall under the standard rules of negligence. This means if an owner was negligent and this negligence resulted in harm caused to another, the owner could be held accountable.
For those owning wild animals as pets, strict liability is likely to apply. The reasoning behind this is the fact that a person is keeping an animal that is potentially vicious and uncontrollable. This makes the animal inherently dangerous, and if injuries result from an animal, then the owner is liable.
The aftermath of an animal bite can be gruesome and tragic. But not all animal bites are the same. Thus, it is important to understand the circumstances surrounding the bite and what rights a victim has. A personal injury action could help the injured victim recover damages. This could help offset the harm caused by the bite.