We all know the saying that dogs are a man’s best friend, but in some cases, accidents happen and things go wrong. If a dog bites you, the chances are that you may be likely to need medical treatment. In some cases, you may not wish to report the incident; perhaps it was a genuine accident, you know and care about the animal in question, or you know you are partly to blame.
In most cases, however, you may not have a choice; medical professionals have specific legal obligations and requirements towards their patients. Part of this includes the need to report a potential danger.
What Does the Law Say About Dog Bites in Massachusetts?
According to the legislation, the victim of a bite can recover damages and financial compensation if the bite caused them personal injury or damage to property. The victim must not be trespassing, teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog when the injury occurred.
Also, strict liability means that the dog owner is held responsible even if they did not know that the dog would bite or cause damage. From the date of the injury, any victim has three years to pursue justice and file a lawsuit under the Dog Bite Law. Any claims which are filed after this date are very unlikely to be heard.
Does My Doctor Have to Report a Dog Bite?
Suppose any healthcare professional treats a patient with a dog bite. In that case, they are legally obligated to report the injury to a local animal officer within 24 hours of the incident. This is set out in the Massachusetts Dog Bite Reporting Law. This obligation occurs whether the case is in a hospital, a doctor’s office, or any other medical facility.
Once the report has been made, the owner of the dog risks being sued by the victim, under the grounds of the Massachusetts Dog Bite Law. This states that owners are strictly liable for any harm done by their dog to “either the body or property of any person.” In the eyes of the law, dogs are considered property, meaning that owners can also face charges for property damage if their dog bites another dog.
How Can My Doctor Help Me?
In addition to a legal requirement to report a dog bite, your medical professional can also help you to compile and formulate evidence of your injuries. A range of evidence can be collated, including notes from your doctor, your medical records, records of any surgeries or medication, ambulance bills and emergency room visits, x-rays and reports can all help you prove the severity of any injuries sustained in the bite, and this can help victims to secure the financial support and compensation they are entitled to.