Massachusetts typically sees a large amount of dog bite attacks, especially
by pit bulls. A
Boston Herald review found that there were
226 confirmed pit bull attacks on people between 2008 and 2011.
Massachusetts provides for strict liability against the dog owner in most
dog attack situations. Therefore, most dog bite cases are litigated on
damages, or how much money the dog bite victim is entitled to as compensation
for their injuries. However, predicting how much a case may be worth is
an inexact science at best. Insurance companies tend to offer payouts
that won't likely cover all your damages. Therefore, it is important
to choose a lawyer who has litigated many dog bite cases and can make
an experienced evaluation of your case.
Predicting the value of a
dog bite case is different than other accident cases such as car accidents and slip
and falls. The reason is the injuries sustained in a dog attack often
consist of permanent scarring or disfigurement as a result of lacerations,
puncturing and tearing of tissue. The impact of these types of injuries
is extremely case specific. Relevant factors are the part of the body
affected, and the age, gender and occupation of the victim. For example,
a visible scar of the face will command a higher settlement value than
a scar on a covered part of the body. The same scar in the same place
on a young unmarried female sales rep will be evaluated much differently
than on a senior married male accountant.
It is also important to keep a photographic record of the injury. Photographs
can show what the injury looked like in the months immediately after the
attack, even if it improved over time. Further dog bite injuries do not
always require as much ongoing medical treatment as other types of injuries.
In a case where the medical bills are not very high, photographs can be
used to demonstrate the severity of the injury.