If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a prescription error call now for a free consultation at (866) 411-1938 You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Call now for a free consultation at (866) 411-1938 That’s 1-866-764-6060.

What should I do after being bitten by a dog?

After being bitten by a dog you need to:

  1. Seek immediate medical attention– Your first priority after a dog bite should be to make sure that you are physically alright. You will need to go to a hospital to treat your wounds. Often times dog bite victims are given a Tdap shot. Sometimes more invasive measures are needed such as stitches aka sutures. It has been my experience that it is rare that hospitals will suture dog bites. This is because there is a concern that stitches can trap bacteria inside and cause an infection. However, if a dog bite is serious enough, then it is quite possible that sutures will be medically necessary. Additionally, the treating physician will likely prescribe you antibiotics to prevent infection after the dog bite. If the dog was not vaccinated, then rabies shots may be needed. Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 112 Section 12Z: “Every physician attending or treating a case of dog bite or whenever any such case is treated in a hospital, sanatorium or other institution, the manager, superintendent or other person in charge thereof, shall report such case within twenty-four hours to the inspector of animals of the city or town where such dog bite occurred; provided, however, that if such city or town does not have an inspector of animals said report shall be made to the dog officer.”
  2. Call the local police department or animal control officer– You will need to call the local police department or the animal control officer. The police and animal control will not only document the incident, but will confirm the identity of the dog owner or the “keeper” of the dog. They will also interview all witnesses and write up reports with their contact information. The animal control officer will ask the dog owner to present evidence that the dog is up to date on its shots. This will assist your medical treatment provider in determining if you need any vaccines. If the dog owner can not provide this information, the police or the animal control officer will contact the dog’s vet. The animal control officer must quarantine any dog that bites a human for ten (10) days, regardless of vaccination status.
  3. Get the names of any witnesses– Often times the dog owner will have a story that conflicts with the dog bite victim. Having the contact information of all witnesses can help to corroborate your side of the story. I have seen many cases where the dog’s owner will claim that the injured victim was either trespassing or harassing the dog prior to being bitten.
  4. Get the name of the dog owner, or the individual caring for the dog– In Massachusetts the owner and/or keeper of the dog can be sued. Knowing not only the identity of the dog owner, but also the name of the identity of the caregiver who had custody of the dog is helpful. This gives you multiple parties that you can sue, in the event that one party does not have insurance or has inadequate insurance.
  5. Take photos of the injuries and dog– A picture tells a thousand words. Photos help your cases in so many ways. Most likely your dog bite will heal over time. Taking initial photos of the injuries help the insurance company to understand how bad the initial trauma of the bite was. Also, I would recommend taking photos of the dog. I have had many cases in which the responsible dog owner tried to say that it was not their dog involved.
  6. Call or text me at: 1-866-764-6060 https://www.jasonkanelaw.com/about-us/

Who can be held responsible for a dog bite?

  1. The “owner” of the dog: The owner of the dog is the person to whom the dog is legally registered to, or the person who provides the dog with a permanent home.
  2. The “keeper of the dog” is someone who temporarily has the dog in its custody. For example, the dog’s owner may go on vacation and leave the dog in his parent’s custody temporarily. In this scenario, the son would be the owner of the dog, and the parents would be the keepers of the dog. Both the parents and son could be held financially liable if you are bitten by their dog.
  3. Your landlord: In Nutt v. Florio, a Massachusetts court held that a landlord could be held liable to a tenant under a negligence standard. The landlord would most likely need prior notice of the dog’s vicious propensities to be held liable. This would usually come in the form of prior complaints from tenants and/or notice of prior bites. often times tenants do not have insurance coverage for their dogs. Therefore, the only available compensation is the landlord’s insurance policy.
  4. A Business: Businesses may be held liable if their dog(s) cause damages. For example, I had a case in which several guard dogs that were at a business got loose and bit my client. I have also had several cases where clients were bitten at businesses by dogs belonging to other customers.

Massachusetts Dog Bite Statute

Generally speaking, strict liability applies to all dog bites in Massachusetts. Strict liability takes away the need to prove negligence against the defendant dog owner.

The Massachusetts dog bite statute is found at Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 140 Section 155. Under the statute: “Section 155. If any dog shall do any damage to either the body or property of any person, the owner or keeper, or if the owner or keeper be a minor, the parent or guardian of such minor, shall be liable for such damage, unless such damage shall have been occasioned to the body or property of a person who, at the time such damage was sustained, was committing a trespass or other tort, or was teasing, tormenting or abusing such dog. If a minor, on whose behalf an action under this section is brought, is under seven years of age at the time the damage was done, it shall be presumed that such minor was not committing a trespass or other tort, or teasing, tormenting or abusing such dog, and the burden of proof thereof shall be upon the defendant in such action.”

Modified comparative negligence Massachusetts dog bites

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 231 Section 85

Summary: Plaintiff can only recover if he is less than 50% responsible for negligent act. If the Plaintiff is negligent, he recovers only to the extent of the Defendant’s fault. For example, if the jury verdict is $50,000 and the dog owner is 60% at fault, and the plaintiff is 40%, then the Plaintiff recovers $30,000. If the Plaintiff is more than 50% at fault, he receives no compensation.

There are two exceptions to strict liability dog bites in Massachusetts

  1. Trespassing: A dog owner will not be held liable to trespassers who are bitten by their dog.
  2. Teasing or tormenting the dog: If you were teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog, then you will not be able to recover from the dog owner. It is presumed that children under seven years of age were not trespassing or abusing the dog.

Can you receive compensation if the dog did NOT bite you?

I have handled several cases in which I have received compensation for clients, despite the fact that the dog did not bite them. If you read the dog bite statute closely it provides strict liability for any damage done by the dog. There is no bite requirement. For instance, let’s say that you were knocked down and injured. You are entitled to compensation under the Massachusetts dog bite statute. Dogs have a tendency to chase bicyclists and motorcyclists. I have handled many cases in Massachusetts where cyclists are injured after being knocked off of their bikes due to a dog attack.

What compensation is available in dog bite cases?

  1. Pain and suffering– This is generally the physical discomfort that you experienced as a result of the dog bite. This can be somewhat of a gray area. Insurance companies generally base valuation of pain and suffering upon: the length of your treatment, your diagnosis, your prognosis for recovery, and the permanency of your injuries.
  2. Emotional Distress– You are entitled to compensation for emotional distress due to the dog bite. Some degree of emotional distress is presumed by the insurance company. Photos showing the severity of a dog bite help to bolster claims for emotional distress. It is advisable to see a therapist if you are experiencing flashbacks or PTSD after a dog bite. Expert reports from treating therapists can be helpful in bolstering your claim.
  3. Disfigurement– Disfigurement refers to permanent scarring that results from a dog bite. Scars are one of the most economically valuable components of a dog bite case. Scars are evaluated on the basis of location, size, depth, the client’s age, gender, and occupation. Generally, the larger the scar, the higher the value of the case. Scars to females or children are generally viewed as more valuable by insurance companies and juries than scars to men. Facial scars, or scars to hands, neck, or other visible body parts are worth more than scars to legs or arms that can be covered with clothes. If for example, your job is a fashion model, then your scar might be of particularly high value.
  4. Medical Bills– You are entitled to be reimbursed for all medical bills, both past and future, which resulted from the dog bite. Future medical expenses may include future surgery, including plastic surgery, This may also include treatments such as Ketamine infusions for nerve pain.
  5. Loss of Consortium– This is a claim for damages that can be brought by the spouse, minor child(ren), or dependent adult child(ren) of a dog bite victim for injury to their relationship with the injured victim.
  6. Lost Wages– You are entitled to compensation for all present and future lost wages due to a dog bite. Future lost wages are available to dog bite victims that will be unable to work again due to their injuries.
  7. Permanent Impairment– This refers to any diagnosis of permanent injury resulting from the dog bite. Most often I have seen diagnosis of nerve damage and chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS) as a result of dog bites. These conditions can be very painful, lifelong, and chronic. They can result is permanent disability, rendering you unable to work or provide for your family.

Child victims of dog bites

Often times the victims of dog bites are children. There are many special considerations when children are involved. Children do not have the legal capacity to make their own decisions. For this reason, most dog bites settlements involving children in Massachusetts need to be approved by a judge. the relevant statute for minor settlement approval is Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 231 Section 140 C1/2. In fact, most insurance companies will not settle cases involving children unless a court approves it. There are several reasons why a court should review a child’s settlement. One is to make sure that the settlement is in the child’s best interest. That it is fair, and accounts for all of the client’s pain and suffering, medical bills, and any scarring. Secondly, the court looks to make sure that all funds are protected until the child is an adult. In prior decades, many parents would spend their children’s settlements, and the kid would be left with nothing. Courts generally prefer to see that a child’s settlement money will be placed in a structured settlement, that will grow tax free until eighteen.

Is there a “one bite” rule in Massachusetts?

No! In Massachusetts there is no “one bite rule.” This means that the dog owner is responsible for your injuries even if this is the first time that there dog has bitten someone.

Massachusetts statute of limitations dog bites

The statute of limitations for dog bites in Massachusetts is generally three years from the date of the dog bite. After three years you will no longer be allowed to bring a lawsuit for injuries from your dog bite. Children may have the statute of limitations extended until three years from the date of maturity, meaning that they have until 21 years old to bring a claim.

How does a dog bite lawyer get paid?

I do not charge a fee unless a successful settlement is reached. I also advance all of your expenses: costs of filing a lawsuit, cost of obtaining medical records, expert witness costs. If a settlement is reached with the dog owner(s) or their insurance company, then my fee is 1/3 of the gross settlement amount plus reimbursement of expenses. This is pretty standard for what most personal injury lawyers in Massachusetts charge.

What if I was bitten at work by a dog?

Many of my client’s have been employed has postal workers, delivery drivers, and contractors. If you were bitten while working, you may have two distinct claims. If you are considered an “employee” then you are entitled to receive workers compensation benefits from your employer’s insurance company if you were bitten on the job. You are also entitled to bring a claim for personal injury compensation against the dog owner. You can not recover duplicate compensate for lost wages, medical bills, etc. What happens in this scenario is that worker’s compensation will pay your bills, lost wages, etc. The worker’s compensation insurance company will have a lien on your case against the dog owner. We will need to ensure that the worker’s compensation insurance company gets reimbursed from your settlement against the dog owner. The settlement must be approved by a Department of Industrial Accident’s judge after filing a Section 15 petition. if you fail to account for the worker’s compensation lien when settling the dog bite case, then you may be on the hook financially to repay to the worker’s compensation insurance company.

Postal workers bitten on the job by a dog

There are special considerations when representing postal workers that are injured on the job by dog bites. Postal worker’s compensation claims are covered by the Federal Employee’s Compensation Act (FECA). By law, any benefits paid under FECA will need to be reimbursed out of your settlement. Failing to account for this lien when your case settles could result in personal liability.

Chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS) from a dog bite

What is chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS)? CRPS is a chronic pain that typically affects an arm of leg after trauma, such as a dog bite. Oftentimes, the pain seems out of proportion to the injury. Even a seemingly minor dog bite can result in CRPS. Alarmingly, CRPS can spread to affect other body parts over time. CRPS is considered one of the most painful medical conditions that any person can suffer. It is a 42/50 on the McGill University pain scale. This is higher than many forms of cancer, and some amputations. CRPS is a condition that I have seen many times with dog bites. It is a condition that doctors are still fully trying to understand. It is not unheard of for many people to see numerous doctors before they are finally diagnosed with CRPS.

The symptoms of CRPS are:


increased pain sensitivity


changes in skin temperature

changes in skin color

changes in skin texture


rapid nail growth

no nail growth

Rabies shots from a dog bite

If have had client’s receive rabies shots following dog bites in a couple of different scenarios. First, and most rare, is when a dog does in fact have rabies. Secondly, is when the hospital out of an abundance of caution requires rabies shots when either: the identity of the dog is unknown, or its vaccination status is unknown.

What is rabies? Answer: Rabies is a potentially deadly virus that can be spread from dogs to humans through saliva.

Rabies shots can be very painful, and expensive. I handled a case in Massachusetts where my client received multiple rounds of shots, with costs in excess of $15,000.

Neuropathy from a dog bite

Neuropathy is nerve damage, and often results from traumatic injuries such as dog bites. This condition can be extremely painful. In a recent case, my client was diagnosed with permanent neuropathic pain as a result of a dog bite to her leg. Her treatment consisted of pain management, physical therapy, and ketamine infusions. Ketamine infusions is a treatment option for those suffering from neuropathic pain. My client reported that the ketamine treatments helped her tremendously. Unfortunately, ketamine treatments are very expensive, and many insurance companies will not pay for it. For this reason, it is very important that you hire an experienced dog bite lawyer, who will hire experts that can account for all of your future medical expenses and pain and suffering.

Suing your neighbor, friend, landlord, or family member after a dog bite

In many dog bite cases, the dog owner is a friend, neighbor, or family member. This is a very uncomfortable situation for the victim of a dog bite. The victim might be faced with mounting medical expenses and lost wages that they can not pay for. What I tell my clients is that their friend, neighbor, or family member will not be financially burdened by any lawsuit, and that they shouldn’t either. You see, homeowner’s insurance and renter’s insurance covers personal liability for dog bites. At the initial stage, I send a letter to the dog owner requesting that they disclose to me their insurance company. Once I receive the insurance information from the dog owner, I negotiate the case directly with their insurance company. The insurance company pays all costs associated with the claim, including any settlement that you receive. The dog owner literally pays nothing out of pocket. Also, most of these cases settle without the need to file a lawsuit. There is no need to make this situation any more uncomfortable or confrontational then it already is. I understand that you do not want to damage your relationship with the dog owner, and will only file a lawsuit when absolutely necessary.

Can a veterinarian/dog groomer sue if it is bitten by a dog under his care?

Veterinarian’s are often bitten by dogs that they are treating. Can they sue the dog owner? Answer: The answer is generally NO. There is a legal concept called “assumption of risk.” Assumption of risk is a legal defense to liability. Basically it says that the veterinarian/dog groomer was aware of the risk involved and voluntarily assumed the risk. Therefore, they are unable to sue the dog owner for their injuries. in this scenario, it is best to contact your employer’s workers compensation insurance company to seek benefits for your injuries.

Massachusetts health insurance liens dog bite cases

  • Medicare Liens:

If you received medical treatment in Massachusetts after being bitten by a dog, and you are receiving Medicare benefits, Medicare will have an automatic lien on your case. As a result, you must repay Medicare for all medical bills it paid related to your dog bite.

  • Medicaid Liens:

If you received medical treatment in Massachusetts after being bitten by a dog, and you are receiving Medicaid benefits (Mass Health), Medicaid will have an automatic lien on your case. As a result, you must repay Medicaid for all medical bills it paid related to your dog bite.

  • Tricare Liens: If you received medical treatment in Massachusetts after being bitten by a dog, and you are employed by the U.S. military, you likely have Tricare as your health insurance. Tricare is a governmental healthcare program and has an automatic lien on your case. As a result, you must repay Tricare for all medical bills it paid related to your dog bite..

PTSD after a dog bite

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often follows a traumatic event such as a dog bite. PTSD symptoms include: flashbacks, exaggerated startle responses, nightmares, flashbacks, and physical symptoms such as: a racing heart, sweating, anxiety, and trembling. I have had many clients report significant improvement in their PTSD symptoms as a result of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). I would advise consulting with your physician if you are experiencing any PTSD related symptoms after a dog bite.

Why should I hire Attorney Jason S. Kane? https://www.jasonkanelaw.com/why-choose-us/

  • Over 22 years experience in handling dog bite cases in Massachusetts
  • You can call, text, or email, 24/7.
  • I offer you a free (no obligation) consultation.
  • You can easily complete all paperwork electronically.
  • I do not charge any legal fees unless you receive a settlement or award.
  • I return all phone calls, emails, and texts as soon as possible.
  • I know all the different tricks the dog owner and his insurance company adjustors will try to use to offer you less money than you deserve.

How long will it take to settle my Massachusetts dog bite case?

There are many different factors that affect how long it takes to settle your Massachusetts dog bite case.

These factors include:

1. How long will you be medically treating for the injuries from the dog bite?

Pain and suffering is an important factor in determining the value of your Massachusetts dog bite case. Generally speaking, the longer that you treat for, the more valuable your dog bite case will be. For this reason, I do not settle Massachusetts dog bite cases until you have completed all medical treatment. Your dog bite case value is also determined by the permanency of your injuries. If I settle your Massachusetts dog bite case before it is determined that your injury is permanent, I am unable to get you additional compensation. Finally, if you are still treating for your injuries, you will have future medical expenses. Once settlement is reached with the dog owner’s insurance company, I can never go back and ask the pharmacy for additional compensation. For these reasons, I will never settle your Massachusetts dog bite case until you are fully done treating for your injuries.

2. How long will you be out of work for the injuries from the dog bite?

Lost wages is an important factor in determining the value of your Massachusetts dog bite case. Generally speaking, the longer that you are out of work for, the more valuable your dog bite case will be. For this reason, I do not settle Massachusetts dog bite cases until you have returned to work. Once settlement is reached with the dog owner’s insurance carrier, I can never go back and ask the insurer for additional compensation. For these reasons, I will never settle your Massachusetts dog bite case until you have returned to work.

3. How responsive is the insurance company to our settlement negotiations?

Not all insurance companies return emails and phone calls. Some are almost impossible to contact. The responsiveness of the pharmacy or its insurance company directly affects how long your Massachusetts dog bite case will take to settle. When an insurance company refuses to responds to my attempts to settle your case, I respond by filing a lawsuit (Complaint) on your behalf. This forces the insurance company to respond to the Complaint within 20 days after service of process. Filing a lawsuit does not mean that you will have to go to Court. It is often a necessary step in getting your Massachusetts dog bite case settled quickly and for top dollar amount.

4. Is the pharmacy making a fair offer?

I will never settle your case for less than what it is worth! When the pharmacy refuses to make an offer, blames the victim (you!), or offers pennies on the dollar, I will advise you not to settle the case. At this point, I will file a lawsuit on your behalf against the Massachusetts dog owner and his insurance company for causing your injuries.

What to do after your dog is bitten?

Dogs often bite other dogs and cause severe injuries. if your dog is bitten by another dog, your first priority should be to call you veterinarian immediately. The at fault dog owner’s insurance company should cover the veterinary bills, up to the policy limit. In Massachusetts dogs are considered personal property. In the tragic event that your dog is killed by another dog, the only compensation that you can receive is the fair market value to purchase a similar dog. There are no pain and suffering or emotional distress damages available to you.

How much does a Massachusetts dog bite lawyer cost? https://www.jasonkanelaw.com/fee-win/

I do not charge any fee unless a successful settlement is reached with the dog owner whose dog that injured you.

I also advance all expenses associated with your case, include: the costs of medical records, court costs, expert witnesses.

When your pharmacy error case settles, I receive 33% of the gross settlement proceeds plus reimbursement of expenses. This is the typical fee that pharmacy error lawyers in Massachusetts charge. I have heard that some Massachusetts dog bite lawyers charge as much as 40%. I find this amount to be unfair.

About me:

I graduated Providence College in 1997, have an MBA from Suffolk University, and a law degree from Hofstra University School of Law. I am licensed to practice law in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, and Pennsylvania. I have been practicing law since 2002 and work tirelessly representing victims of dog bites. I have recovered millions of dollars for victims of dog bites. I look forward to representing you and your family!

Jason Kane, Esq.


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