Settlement Negotiations in Dog Bite Cases
While many people that own dogs believe their pets are generally approachable, even well-behaved animals can suddenly attack, and dog bites are a common injury on Cape Cod. Dog attacks can cause significant emotional and physical trauma and substantial financial losses. Fortunately, under Massachusetts law, dog owners can be held liable for the harm caused by their pets. Even if the injured party has strong evidence against the person responsible for the dog, in some instances, it may be prudent to engage in settlement negotiations in dog bite cases rather than incur the costs and risk of trial. If you were hurt in a dog attack, it is advisable to consult an attorney to discuss what compensation you may be able to recover. At the Law Offices of John C. Manoog, III, our seasoned Cape Cod dog bite lawyers have over one hundred and fifty years of joint experience helping people harmed by dog bites obtain favorable settlements. Our zealous representation has enabled us to attain multiple multi-million damages decisions for our clients.Massachusetts Laws Regarding Dog Bites
The Massachusetts legislature enacted a law that specifically deals with liability for dog attacks, which is commonly referred to as the “dog bite law.” Under the law, dog owners are deemed strictly liable for the damages caused by their pets. In other words, a plaintiff in a dog bite case does not have to prove that the person who owns the dog acted carelessly or recklessly, which allowed the attack to occur. The plaintiff also does not need to demonstrate that the owner knew or should have known that the dog was prone to biting someone. Instead, he or she merely has to show damages caused by the bite.
There are some instances in which a dog owner will not be held strictly liable, though, such as when the plaintiff was teasing or annoying the dog, trespassing, or engaging in some other wrongful act. However, in such cases, the plaintiff may still be able to pursue negligence claims against the owner.Settlement Negotiations in Dog Bite Cases
In any dog bite case, regardless of the strength of the plaintiff’s evidence, it may be wise to settle the matter rather than potentially risk an adverse outcome at trial. Before engaging in settlement negotiations, the plaintiff should establish liability and damages. As the dog bite law imposes strict liability on dog owners for the damages caused by their pets, proving liability is often a straightforward process. In some instances, though, the dog owner may attempt to argue that an exception to the strict liability rule applies, and the plaintiff will have to produce evidence to refute the owner’s claims or prove that the owner’s negligence caused the plaintiff’s harm. For example, if the owner alleges the plaintiff teased the dog prior to the bite, but the evidence shows that the dog had a history of biting people and the owner allowed the dog to roam free, the owner may be held liable.
After gathering evidence that indicates liability, the plaintiff must prove the damages caused by the bite. Generally, this consists of records of medical treatment the plaintiff had to undergo following the bite, and potentially an opinion from a medical expert regarding what treatment the plaintiff may need in the future. The expert may also explain the impact of the attack on the plaintiff’s physical and mental health. Typically, a plaintiff that produces persuasive evidence is better able to negotiate a favorable settlement.Speak to a Trusted Lawyer on Cape Cod
Although the evidence in dog bite cases is often compelling, in many instances, it makes sense for the plaintiff to enter into settlement negotiations in dog bite cases rather than attempt to try these cases in front of a jury. If you were injured in a dog attack, the trusted Cape Cod attorneys of the Law Offices of John C. Manoog, III, can advise you of your rights and develop a plan that will aid you in pursuing the maximum amount of compensation you may be owed. We have recovered damages that exceed one million dollars for numerous clients, and our aggressive representation has led to a record of favorable outcomes. We regularly assist people in dog bite cases on Cape Cod and are available for meetings in Hyannis and in Plymouth. You can contact us at 888-262-6664 or via our online form to set up a confidential and free meeting. Nós Falamos Português.