How Much is My Dog Bite Case Worth? Rhode Island and Massachusetts Personal Injury Attorneys Discuss Relevant Factors

Did you know that each year, dogs bite an estimated 4.5 million people in the U.S.? And with more sunny days ahead come more dogs on walks, at parks, and generally spending more time outside. While we love our furry friends, dangerous dogs can harm our Rhode Island and Massachusetts communities. So how much money is your dog bite case worth?

This is a good (and complicated!) question. The answer depends on the specific facts of your case. Did you approach to pet a leashed dog that in turn bit your finger, causing stitches? Or did someone’s dog break through a fence and attack you, causing multiple soft tissue and nerve injuries? In both instances, you may have a viable bog bite claim. But the values of those claims will likely differ!

Attorney Mike Bottaro

At Bottaro Injury Lawyers, we’ve handled many dog bite cases over the years. Questions about yours? Call us for your free consultation!

Since we can’t tell you exactly what your dog bite case is worth without talking to you about the specifics of your case, today’s blog will review some of the top factors that play into the value of Rhode Island or Massachusetts dog bite cases. But remember, we are available 24/7 to discuss the specifics of your case!

1. The Extent and Severity of Your Injuries

In general, the more injuries and complications you have, the more your personal injury claim tends to be worth. Common damages dog bite victims can recover include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering

If you require stitches after a dog bite versus facial reconstruction surgery, your case may not be worth as much. But in both instances, you should absolutely seek medical attention and consult a skilled personal injury lawyer! Medical expenses and trauma take a toll and an attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Dog bite injuries are also especially prone to infection. What might start out as a bite mark on your hand could turn into a bacterial infestation. Not only that, but if an unvaccinated dog bites you, you may need vaccines to prevent serious diseases down the road. Always prioritize your health after a dog bite incident and call a local personal injury attorney to discuss your financial recovery options!

2. The State the Bite Occurred In

Different states have different dog bite laws. Some states will let victims recover damages even if the dog has never bitten or otherwise acted dangerous before. However, some states require victims to prove that the owner knew their dog was dangerous.

For instance, Massachusetts is a “strict liability” state. Meaning, you only need to prove that a dog attacked you to recover legal damages. You or your attorney will not need to prove the dog has bitten others, has historically acted aggressively, or is otherwise a “bully breed.” However, dog owners’ insurance companies may raise other defenses, so it is important to discuss your dog bite case with an attorney, even in a strict liability state!

On the other hand, Rhode Island typically follows the “one bite rule.” This requires the victim to prove that the owner knew their dog had vicious propensities prior to the attack. Meaning, you or your attorney will need to uncover evidence that shows the dog’s owner failed to keep a knowingly dangerous dog away from you.

The “one bite rule” generally does not apply if the dog was outside its enclosure. For example, the owner may be strictly liable in Rhode Island when their dog breaks through a fence to attack you while you’re walking on a public sidewalk.

3. Whether or Not You Provoked the Dog

There is a difference between a dog attacking you out of nowhere versus attacking you after you taunted or otherwise riled it up.

In both Rhode Island and Massachusetts, if you were teasing, tormenting, or otherwise abusing a dog, you likely cannot recover anything in your dog bite case. The at-fault owner’s insurance will use provocation as an “affirmative defense” against your injury claim.

However, there are many gray areas associated with provocation. For instance, maybe you unintentionally provoked the dog by petting it in the wrong place. Or maybe you tapped a dog and it responded by causing full-body lacerations. Specific details matter in your dog bite case, especially if any form of provocation might be involved!

4. Whether or Not You Were Trespassing

Another factor that often affects how much a dog bite case is worth is whether or not you were trespassing on the owner’s property. Many states, like Massachusetts, bar or limit recovery when the victim was trespassing on another’s property. In Rhode Island, your trespasser status may not matter as much, so long as the dog attacked you outside of its enclosure.

As you can imagine, the value of your case often hinges on the smallest of case details. These details matter to your dog bite attorney! If you or a loved one experienced a dog attack in Rhode Island or Massachusetts, call us to discuss the value of your case!

It’s Good to Know Mike Bottaro – 24/7 Top-Rated Personal Injury Help

At Bottaro Injury Lawyers, we care for people. Attorney Mike Bottaro and his award-winning legal team handle all types of personal injury cases throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts. We can even help on cases in other states as well. We pride ourselves on our honesty, integrity, and results. Contact us 24/7 in any method you prefer for a fast, free, and confidential consultation about your case. Text or call us at 401-777-7777, or fill out our free and confidential online form. We are here to serve and help you!

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