Massachusetts Dog Bite Injury Attorney

Hi – I’m Tom Kokonowski and I help dog bite injury victims recover compensation for their injuries.  With offices in Amherst & Northampton I cover all of Franklin County & Hampshire County, Mass

Lawyer for dog bite injuriesDog bite cases cause extremely painful physical and emotional injuries. The scarring is usually permanent on the skin and on the victim’s mind.

I handle cases involving injuries caused by dogs, both from biting and from other injurious contacts. 

What to Do After a Dog Bite or Attack

In the aftermath of a dog attack, you may be feeling overwhelmed by fear, panic, anxiety, and physical pain. If you can manage to remain calm, there are important steps you should take to begin the process of building a strong personal injury claim, including:

  • Identify the dog that bit you and who its owner is, record the address
  • Seek medical attention
  • Take photos of your injuries
  • Report the incident to the police
  • Gather the name and contact info of any witnesses

It is recommended that you do not speak with the dog owner’s insurance company without first speaking to a lawyer who specializes in litigating dog bite cases. 

An insurance adjuster will attempt to offer you a settlement worth much less than the actual value of your claim. Don’t take the bait. If you’re the victim of a dog bite or dog attack, contact The Law Offices of Thomas Kokonowski, Esq. for a free consultation 413.585.9200 (Northampton) 413.549.0022 (Amherst).

Common Injuries Caused By Dog Attack

  • abrasions
  • lacerations
  • puncture wounds
  • permanent scarring
  • infection such as rabies and carnivorous
  • facial reconstruction
  • amputations
  • nerve damage
  • psychological trauma (anxiety, depression, fear, and PTSD)

Establishing Liability

Liability is usually an “open and shut” issue, as dog bite cases fall under the doctrine of strict liability, as regards the owner of the dog.

That is, if you are injured by a dog, its owner is responsible for your injuries. 

However, there are some very important exceptions to this rule. You will not recover if:

  • you were trespassing when you were bitten
  • you were teasing and/or tormenting the dog when you were bitten

The liability standard is much different when dealing with the owner of a property where the dog is kept when that person is not the actual dog owner (ie. the landlord of an apartment building where the dog and its owner live).

In this case, you must prove the landlord was a “keeper” of the dog. Part of that burden includes proving that the landlord not only knew that the dog was being kept in her building, but also that she knew of the dog’s “vicious propensities.”

What if the Owner of the Dog has No Insurance?

Most dog owners have homeowner’s insurance coverage that covers liability for bodily injury. However, it’s possible that their policy excludes coverage for injuries caused by dogs. In this case, you will have to sue the dog owner directly for damages.

How Much is My Claim Worth?

The value of your dog injury claim depends on several factors including

  • the severity of your injury
  • scarring or disfigurement (bites that occur to the face will usually command a higher settlement value than an injury inflicted on another part of the body)
  • the cost of medical bills and how much future treatment will cost
  • loss of wages and loss of future earning capacity

 

Recent Dog Bite Settlements:

  • A 14-year-old boy received a 1/2 inch laceration on his face after being snapped at by his neighbor’s dog. $115,000 settlement.
  • A woman was knocked down by a dog which had jumped up on her while she was walking her own dog.  The result was a back injury and a settlement of $67,000.
  • A woman was walking on a public sidewalk when a dog escaped the pen behind the owner’s home.  The dog bit the woman on her buttock.  $30,000 settlement.