Follow-Up on Dog Bite Cases

I recently wrote about dog bite cases here in Massachusetts. As a follow-up, I read about an Illinois case in which an owner's 120-pound bullmastiff was able to escape from a fenced-in yard and attacked a teenager who was standing next to his bike.

Like Masssachusetts, Illinois has a strict liability dog bite statute which imposes liability on owners whose dogs injure peaceable, non-trespassing persons without provocation. Although the language is a bit different from our Massachusetts dog bite statute, the purpose and analysis is the same, i.e., even if the dog owner believes in good faith that he is making reasonable efforts to protect persons from his dogs' attack, it does not matter so long as the injured person is not teasing, tormenting or abusing the dog.

Once again, the message is clear- if you own a dog, you are usually responsible for any injuries it causes. PLEASE NOTE that most homeowners insurance policies have exclusions for certain kinds of dogs so be aware that your particular breed of dog may not be covered under your homeowners insurance policy.

Here at Harris & Associates, we specialize in the prosecution and defense of tort cases, including dog bite claims, and we are happy to assist you in handling this type of case.