Articles Tagged with “Boston dog bite lawyers”

It is important to maintain your yard and keep it safe at all times. But this summer, as Massachusetts recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, more people will likely spend more time at home. This means you must take extra care in protecting your home, your family and neighbors from common backyard injuries, such as falls, dog bite injuries and swimming pool accidents.

In Massachusetts, homeowners have a duty to make a reasonable effort to keep their property reasonably safe so lawful visitors are not injured. When a homeowner fails to maintain their property and someone is injured, this may result in a premises liability claim.

When children are involved, homeowners have a greater duty. Under attractive nuisance laws, property owners may be held liable if a young child is injured by an unsafe condition on their property, even if the child is trespassing. These laws recognize that children may not understand potential dangers or that they are trespassing.

Massachusetts Attractive Nuisance Law

M.G.L. c. 231, § 85Q states that a person who maintains an artificial condition upon his own land shall be liable for physical harm to children trespassing thereon under certain conditions.

A landowner can be held liable in part if they knew a child was likely to trespass or reasonably should have known, and if the landowner knew or reasonably should have known there was an unreasonable risk of death and serious bodily harm to children.

Protect Your Front and Backyard This Summer

Protect Your Pool

Baby reaching into pool

Property owners have a responsibility to lock and secure pools to prevent neighborhood children from falling in.

In Massachusetts, homeowners must enclose pools with fences which are a minimum of four feet and taller if necessary for safety. The fence should have a self-latching, self-closing gate and lock at least four feet off the ground. These requirements are meant to protect young children, as well as your lawful guests by slowing access down to your pool. A few steps you can take to secure your pool:

How old is your pool lock? Carefully inspect the integrity of your pool lock.

Inspect your fence. The Consumer Product Safety Commission published this pool safety guide on different types of fences and key specifications, such as how much space you should have between and under the fence panels. See page 6.

Consider a pool alarm. Your fence is your primary defense to keep young children out of your pool. Children can move quickly and drown silently, before you even know they have found their way into your pool. An alarm can help you respond quickly.

Think “layers of protection.” Planting large shrubs in front of your pool fence is one way to slow children down; another added benefit is children won’t be able to see the pool and are likely to forget about it.

At the end of the day: Cover your pool. Remove pool ladders and floats from the pool area and out of sight of children.

Restrain Your Dog

Child and dog in a Massachusetts backyard without supervision

Young children are at risk for dog bite injuries if they wander onto a neighbor’s property.

As a dog owner, you have a responsibility to take care of your pet, including to feed it and make sure it gets proper exercise.

As a homeowner, you have a responsibility to restrain your dog. Under Massachusetts law, you may be held liable if your dog bites or attacks. Here are a few situations when homeowners may be liable for dog bite injuries.

First, you may be held liable if your dog bites a lawful visitor. You may also be held liable if you leave your dog alone outside and it runs off your property and injures a passerby.

Then there are young children. Too young to realize the consequences, they can wander onto your property without invitation and your dog may bite. You may not even see the child come onto your property. But this is another situation when a Massachusetts homeowner may be held liable for a child’s dog bite injuries.

Just like drownings, dog bites and attacks are a frightening and debilitating experience, for children as well as owners. Some describe it as the worst experience of their life. Many victims and loved ones suffer post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What can you do to prevent a tragedy?

Invest in dog training. Hiring a trainer can help your dog master basic obedience skills.

Install a fence. Consider installing a regular fence around your yard. An invisible dog fence can be effective at keeping your dog on your property. However, it doesn’t prevent children from wandering onto your property. Fences can stop children or at least slow them down.

Remember you can’t predict how your dog will react. Many dog owners have said, “My dog is really good with kids,” just before the animal bites or attacks.

And the problem with young children in your neighborhood: a child may know you and your dog by name. They may routinely say hello when you walk your dog and have warm feelings about your pet. Your dog, however, may not feel or respond the same if the child approaches. If you have a dog, Breakstone, White & Gluck encourages you to secure and supervise your pet this summer. Remember, children are likely to be spending more time at home this summer and you may need to take additional steps.

If you have been injured, Breakstone, White & Gluck is experienced in representing young children and others after dog bites and attacks in Massachusetts. Please read our awards and settlements and contact us if we can assist you with a claim at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676.

$450,000 award:  Child Suffers Facial Injury and Emotional Distress in Dog Bite Attack Details

$300,000 award: Elderly woman bitten by dog, which leads to infection, sepsis and wrongful death.

$150,000 award: Dog injures cyclist, causing bike crash and other injuries. Details

Use Your Backyard Shed

Pick up your yard each day. Pick up toys and bring in pool floats, accessories and towels so they don’t attract a child’s attention.

Certain toys, games and equipment should be used, then immediately locked away. These include portable pools.

To make this easier, keep a key to your backyard shed nearby at all times this summer. Put it in your cell phone case or on a lanyard around your neck so you can easily access your shed as often as you need.

Protect Your Backyard This Summer

2020 has been a challenging year. While we are all limited by Covid 19 this summer, these are steps we can all take to protect our families, neighbors and others from unnecessary injury, and to protect ourselves financially.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Personal Injury Lawyers

At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our Boston personal injury lawyers specialize in premises liability claims, including those involving swimming pool accidents, dog bites injuries and child injuries. Learn more about our law firm: www.bwglaw.com.

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Attorney David W. White of BostonThe Boston Globe recently interviewed Attorney David W. White for an article called, “What to do if your dog bites someone.” Attorney White joined veterinarians, dog trainers and Boston animal control in explaining the legal steps following a dog bite in Massachusetts.

Breakstone, White & Gluck has decades of experience representing children and others who have been bitten and attacked by dogs. We understand that dog bites are painful, emotional and frightening for families. If you or a loved one have been injured, it is important to learn your rights. Following a dog bite, children may require multiple surgeries to recover and the emotional trauma can be crippling for their entire family. Find answers to common questions about dog bites in Massachusetts on our website. For a free legal consultation, contact Breakstone, White & Gluck at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676. You can also send us a message using our contact form.

 

Black dog bites at a woman in Massachusetts

Massachusetts lawmakers are considering a bill to prevent insurance companies from discriminating against homeowners who own certain dog breeds.

Massachusetts lawmakers are considering a bill to prevent insurance companies from discriminating against homeowners based on their dog’s breed.

Rep. Jack M. Lewis (D-Framingham) is the sponsor of H.554, which would ensure dog owners can buy insurance to provide compensation to anyone injured by their pet.

Our attorney discussing Massachusetts dog bite law with Fox 25 TV in Boston

The law is “very cut and dry,” when it comes to liability for Massachusetts dog bite cases, attorney David White told Fox-TV Boston recently.

White, a partner at Breakstone, White & Gluck of Boston, spoke on the network’s morning program about Milo, the Mansfield dog which attacked and seriously injured a 6-year-old boy on Jan. 3. The boy suffered severe facial lacerations and required more than 400 stitches. Last week, the Mansfield Board of Selectmen held a hearing and voted 3-2 to euthanize the dog. The dog’s owners said they planned to appeal the vote in District Court and were allowed to take Milo home after the hearing. Then, the dog attacked again, this time over the weekend on West Street in Mansfield, and ended up being euthanized before any appeal. In the second attack, the dog bit a 16-year-old teenager, who was sent to Hasbro Children’s Hospital to be treated for injuries. See news coverage.

In the TV interview, White explained the process in Massachusetts for protecting communities from dangerous dogs. When someone is injured after a dog bite, the incident is reported to a local animal control officer, police or the Board of Selectmen. The board holds a hearing to determine if the dog is dangerous. It then votes on appropriate action, which may include muzzling the dog, restraining it, ordering it to leave town or other steps.The dog owner is allowed to appeal in the District Court.

When someone is injured by a dog in Massachusetts, they can also file a lawsuit in civil court to recover damages under M.G.L. c. 140, Sec. 155.

White said the law holds dog owners strictly liable for dog attacks, only providing a few exceptions. They include if an injured person is tormenting a dog or trespassing on another person’s property. Some states have a “one bite” or “first bite” rule, but not Massachusetts.

“The law is very cut and dry,” White told Fox. “And furthermore if there is an injury to a child under the age of 7, there is a presumption the child was not teasing or tormenting the dog.”

When someone is injured, they are not required to prove the dog has injured before or that the dog is vicious.

White advised dog owners to make sure they have coverage for dog bites and attacks on their homeowner’s insurance policies. If your insurer does not provide coverage, he says find another provider who does.

Approximately 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Children are the most frequent victims, with those ages five to nine accounting for the largest numbers of injuries.

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dog-sidewalk.jpgWith the return of the warm weather, many dogs are back outside with their owners in our neighborhoods, parks and yards.

This is the time of year dog bites often occur, as dogs encounter unfamiliar people and environments. Dog bite injuries can result when dogs are not properly trained, do not receive the right care and are not prepared for social interaction.

May 20 to May 26 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week, hosted by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). One of the organization’s messages is that dog bites and dog attacks are preventable if owners take the right steps to train their pets.

Children are the most frequent dog bite injury victims. Of 800,000 Americans who receive medical attention for dog bites each year, approximately half are children. In 50 percent of dog bite cases involving children, the dog responsible belongs to a neighbor.

Senior citizens are the second most common dog bite victims. On the job, more than 5,600 postal workers are attacked by dogs each year.

If you own a dog or plan to obtain one, you have a responsibility to practice safe ownership and protect others from dog bites and dog attacks. Our Boston dog bite lawyers offer you these safety tips:

  • Make sure your dog is licensed and has received all of its vaccinations. These are your most basic responsibilities.
  • Always use a leash when walking your dog. This is a courtesy to other people you encounter and helps protect everyone.
  • Select your dog carefully and take time to research the breed. If it is a puppy, ask to meet the parent dogs. Never obtain a dog on impulse.
  • Make sure your dog is always wearing its tags with appropriate identification information.
  • Ask your veterinarian if they suggest a dog training school. If you choose to use one, do your research. Seek out references online and ask the dog school owner for client names.
  • Train your dog to know basic commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and other actions. This builds a bond of trust between your dog and people
  • Ask your veterinarian or dog trainer whether crate training may be appropriate
  • Make sure your dog has opportunity for healthy interaction with other people and animals as a puppy. According to the AMVA, the first 6 to 14 weeks are critical to a puppy’s social development. The challenge is this is the time when a puppy is most vulnerable to illness so it is important to work with your veterinarian.
  • Do not put your dog in a position where it feels threatened or teased.
  • Make your home a safe environment for yourself, your dog, guests and neighbors. Consider fencing your yard. Make sure you have a door partition and a crate. Also make sure there are not any door or window openings which allow your dog to exit your home on its own.
  • Your dog needs physical exercise and mental stimulation. Make time in your schedule to regularly walk and exercise your dog.
  • Dogs can become bored and potentially destructive when left alone for many hours at a time. If yours is left alone all week, consider dog walking or daycare services for parts of the week.
  • Avoid high-excitement games with your dog, such as wrestling.
  • If your dog is showing signs of aggression, talk to your veterinarian and a dog trainer. If your dog bites or attacks someone, the injuries may be severe and long-term. You may also be held liable and have to pay damages.

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