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Dog Bite Injuries FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

What Should I Do Immediately After a Dog Bite?

Get to safety away from the dog and clean the wounds with soap and water immediately following a dog bite injury. Apply pressure with a clean towel to any wounds that are actively bleeding. Seek professional medical help from the closest emergency room, walk-in medical clinic, or your doctor’s office.

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Do I Need To Go to the Doctor if the Bite Doesn’t Seem Serious?

Yes, we advise seeking professional medical help after a dog bite regardless of how minor the wound appears. A dog’s mouth hosts innumerable types of bacteria which can cause serious infection. A doctor will properly cleanse the wound and may prescribe antibiotics to aid in treating or preventing infection. Based on the dog’s history, you may need an updated tetanus shot. Your medical provider will advise you how to care for the wound and monitor it for signs of infection such as redness, swelling, or tenderness.

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I Was Hurt by a Dog. Can I Hold the Dog’s Owner Responsible?

The owner of the dog responsible for your dog bite injuries may be held liable depending on where and how the attack occurred. Dog bite laws vary from state to state. Massachusetts dog bite laws are typically classified as “strict liability”, while the liability for Rhode Island dog bites varies depending on whether the attack took place within, or outside of, the dog’s enclosure. It’s critical to consult with an experienced dog bite attorney in RI or MA to ensure your case is handled properly. Attorney David Tapalian is fully knowledgeable of the legalities within each state and how they will apply to your particular case.

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How Long Do I Have To File a Lawsuit for a Dog Bite?

Three years. In Rhode Island and Massachusetts, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim related to a dog bite injury is three years from the date of the incident. It’s recommended to consult with a dog bite injury lawyer as soon as possible after the incident, don’t delay.

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What Kind of Compensation Can I Seek for a Dog Bite Injury?

The amount of compensation awarded in a dog bite personal injury claim depends largely on the severity of the injuries. Contributing factors to the settlement commonly include medical expenses, lost income, surgery, scarring, lost earning potential, potential for full recovery and future limitations or treatments needed.

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What if the Dog Has a Past History of Aggression?

If the dog that attacked you has a past history of aggressive behavior, this may increase the compensation to which you are entitled. Specifically in Rhode Island, a dog owner may be liable for higher damages owed to the victim if the same dog has attacked in the past. Generally, a person injured by a dog with an aggressive past will have stronger grounds to request more compensation in their lawsuit against an owner who knew of their dog’s violent past.

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Can I File a Lawsuit if the Dog Bite Occurred on Someone Else’s Property?

Yes. In Massachusetts, dog owners have strict liability regardless of where the bite took place (with exception if the victim was trespassing, tormenting, or abusing the dog). In Rhode Island, the owner of the animal has strict liability for its actions if the dog was outside of its enclosure (i.e. inside its home or fenced in yard) when the attack occurred. If the injury took place inside the dog’s enclosure, the “one bite” rule may or may not apply based on the animal’s past history.

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Do I Need To Hire a Lawyer for My Dog Bite Injury?

It is highly recommended to consult with an attorney after a dog bite injury. These types of wounds are highly susceptible to infection which can have severe complications. Injuries can result in permanent and/or disfiguring scarring and, particularly for young children, a traumatic dog attack can cause life-long distress. The dog’s owner should be held responsible for your monetary and non-monetary damages. An experienced dog bite lawyer like David Tapalian will ensure you get what you are entitled to and are properly compensated for your losses.

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Client Reviews
He took care of everything and kept me updated as well. It was such a smooth process and in the end I won my case. I would highly recommend David Tapalian! Patrice F.
When I contacted David Tapalian, Attorney & Counselor at Law, all my worries were immediately alleviated. He handled my case from beginning to end and kept me updated every step of the way. Susie M.
I visited David a couple of days after my accident and he gave me clear and concise details on what would happen throughout the process... David N.