COVID-19 has forced millions of Americans to readjust to a new way of life as employers have shut down offices, schools have let out students, and local governments have issued stay-at-home orders. As a result, more time at home has meant more time spent with pets. Families and children are interacting more with their dogs, as well as adopting dogs to combat COVID-19 loneliness and boredom. However, this new change has led to an overall increase in dog bites across the U.S. Dog bites are already a fairly common injury, as they bite more than 4.7 million people a year and require 800,000 people to receive medical treatment.
There are various factors that have contributed to the increase in dog bite injuries since COVID-19 began spreading in March, including:
- More people are going outside on walks with dogs: Quarantine has highlighted the need for daily outdoor activities to get fresh air and exercise, and many people are taking their dogs on walks. Unfortunately, some owners feel that it is safe to unleash their dogs on walks and at parks, which can create a danger for other pedestrians even if the dog is known to be friendly. Many factors can lead to even the most good-natured dog to lash out.
- Children are spending more time around dogs as a result of not being in school: It is well-known that children are the most vulnerable to dog attacks. Children are more likely to want to pet and play with dogs and are also more likely to not understand the signs of a dog’s aggression or irritation.
- The constant presence of people can be stressful for dogs: Dogs have to adjust to the changes of quarantine, too. Some, who value their alone time when their owners and children are out, may be feeling stressed from the constant presence of people.
- Newly-adopted dogs are adjusting to their environment: New dog owners must take the necessary steps to acclimate their pets to their home environment and make sure they’re feeling comfortable. Some dogs who are adopted, including those adopted from shelters who have a history of abuse and neglect, take longer than others to adapt.
How Massachusetts Approaches Dog Bite Cases
If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog attack in Massachusetts, you may be eligible to hold the dog owner responsible for damages. According to Massachusetts General laws: Chapter 140, Section 155, if a dog does damage to another person’s body or property, the owner is strictly liable. Damage includes not just bites, but any injuries that are related to the attack. If the person in charge of the dog at the time of the attack is a minor, their parent or guardian is liable for damages.
There are several instances in which the injured party may be unable to file a dog bite claim, including:
- If the individual was trespassing on private property
- If the individual was teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog
Call our personal injury attorneys today to learn more about whether you have a valid claim. Dog bites can be serious and require medical treatment like surgeries, stitches, and more, which can add up to thousands of dollars in expenses.
With more than 35 years of combined experience, the attorneys at Powers & Caccavale can be trusted to handle your personal injury case with the care and respect it deserves. Our team handles a wide range of personal injury cases and workers’ compensation claims, and we prepare each case as if it were going to trial tomorrow. If you’ve been injured by someone else’s negligent actions, you deserve to be compensated. No case is too small or complex for us, and our team is undaunted by going up against powerful employers and insurance companies. We also operate on a contingency fee basis so you don’t have to worry about money throughout your case. When you need results, you can call on us to deliver them.
Take advantage of your free consultation by calling our caring dog bite attorneys at (617) 379-0016, or contact us online. Powers & Caccavale have helped countless clients recover successfully from their injuries, including those who have been bitten by dogs in Massachusetts.