My neighbor allows her dog to run loose. While walking my own dog, the neighbor’s bit me. What recourse do I have under the law?

An aggressive dog is a menace to the neighborhood, and potentially a source of great legal trouble for the owner. In Massachusetts, a dog and its owner are not granted any leniency in terms of civil liability even if this is the first occasion on which the dog has bitten someone. Additionally, since Massachusetts is a “strict liability” state, even if a dog is restrained or an owner otherwise takes “reasonable precautions,” the owner is still at fault. If you plan on filing charges, or a lawsuit, be sure to take pictures of your injuries and bring documentation from your doctor. If you’ve previously taken pictures of the dog running loose, this would also be helpful. There may be additional, local ordinances against unleashed dogs that come into play. An experienced personal injury attorney, such as one of our partners, will be able to assess the individual circumstances of a dog attack. All this assumes, however, that neither you nor your own dog did anything to provoke the neighbor’s animal. The law waves liability for the owner of a dog if the victim of the bite was trespassing or in any way harassing or tormenting the dog. Call our office Details

Can I make a claim against the homeowner’s insurance?

Additional Information: I work for a moving company and slipped and fell from the truck while at a customer’s home in North Andover.  I suffered injuries to my shoulder and arm.  The company doesn’t have worker’s compensation insurance.  In fact, I’m not even sure they are registered as an official company in MA, they pay me by the job in cash.  What can I do?  Can I make a claim against the homeowner’s insurance? It is possible to make a claim against the homeowner’s insurance, but first you must exhaust your rights against your employer.   The fact that they do not have the insurance does not mean that they are not liable.  You can still bring a claim before the Department of Industrial Accidents.  They will award a judgment and enforce it against the company.  Further, under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 152 sec.66, you can sue the company  for pain and suffering in addition.   Finding and identifying the employer will be the main challenge.  If the employer is not an official “company” then the owner of the company is personally liable for all of your injuries and he can be sued individually. Details

Do I have a premises liability case?

Additional Information: I live in an apartment building in Salem.   I slipped and fell on the shared back porch and broke my right wrist.   One of our neighbors’ trash bags leaked and I slipped on some grease.  Medical expenses exceed $5000 which includes my deductible and co-pays and I’ve lost wages at work.  Do I have a premises liability case against the landlord or personal injury case against the other tenant? Your best course of action would be an action against the landlord as he is most likely to have insurance that would cover the claim.  The issue is how long was the grease on the porch?  Did the landlord have sufficient time to take any action to clean the grease? If the grease appeared the same day that you had your accident, it would be difficult to hold the landlord liable. Details

Was involved in a auto accident, daughter and I suffer from injuries.

Additional Information: My daughter and I were involved in an auto accident with a delivery truck.  As a result of the accident,  my daughter had a concussion, broke her arm, 6 ribs, and is now having post traumatic stress.  I suffered a concussion and am having debilitating migraines and am being monitored by a neurologist.  I’ve had to take an unpaid leave from my job.  We make 3-5 trips per week to Boston to follow up with doctors and therapists from our home in Haverill.   It’s been emotional and financially a burden.  What should I think about when I choose a personal injury attorney to hire for this auto accident? ATTORNEY ANSWER: When choosing a personal injury attorney to hire for this auto accident you should ensure that your attorney has the experience to get you the compensation you deserve for your troubles. In addition to securing funds to pay for your medical bills, your attorney should have the experience necessary to argue successfully for your right to just compensation for both your physical, emotional and financial burdens sustained in this accident. In a case as complex as this there really is no substitute for an experienced lawyer.  Details

Was rear ended in an auto accident and have a resulting long term injury.

Additional Information: I was driving home from work on Route 93 in Methuen and was rear-ended.   As a result of the accident my doctor has said I have 25% permanent partial  loss of function of lumbar spine.  What can I expect when I hire a personal injury or car accident lawyer? ATTORNEY ANSWER: Upon hiring a personal injury lawyer you can be certain that they will work to achieve reasonable compensation for you for your injuries. Specifically, the lawyer will work with  both your insurer and the other driver’s insurer to pay your medical bills and also to compensate you for your permanent damage. Most of the work will be handled directly by your lawyer with only minimal input required from you.   Details

I tripped and fell in common area of my apartment and broke my leg.

Additional Information: I live in an apartment in the Boston Metrowest area.  The basement is common laundry area shared with tenants from the other apartments.  The light has been out for months, which the landlord was aware of but hasn’t fixed.  A few days ago, I couldn’t see in the dark, and tripped and fell and broke my leg.  The landlord says I was partly negligent because I was carrying my laundry at the time. Legally, in MA does this mean anything? I am planning on speaking with an attorney. Thank you in advance for any help. ATTORNEY ANSWER: The landlord seems to be stating that you are at least partly at fault for causing your fall and injury. In Massachusetts, this is legally known as comparative negligence. Comparative negligence (aka Contributory negligence) however, does not bar one from recovering in an action for negligence which results in injury, so long as the comparitive negligence was not greater than the total amount of negligence attributed to the person against whom recovery is sought. Therefore, as long as your landlord was found to be 50% or more at fault for your accident, then you would still be able to recover against Details

A “foreign object” was left in my hand, do I have a medical malpractice case?

Additional Information: At a Greater Boston area hospital, I was treated for and received stitches for a hand laceration.   It turns out that a “foreign object” was left in the laceration, resulting in an infection.  The doctor then had to reopen the cut in order to remove the “foreign object”.  I am now left with a nasty scar and some numbness. Does this sound like a strong medical malpractice case?  I am planning to consult with a lawyer soon. ATTORNEY ANSWER: Whether you have a strong medical malpractice case will depend on the origin of the “foreign object” and the severity of the resulting injury. I recommend that you contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss the specifics of your treatment and injury, as well as to discuss the possibility of bring a successful medical malpractice claim.  Details

I was rear ended in an auto accident. Who is liable, the driver or his employer or both?

Additional Information: I was rear-ended on Route 93 in Methuen and my neck was injured in the accident.  The other driver was heading to a business meeting.  I was taken to a Boston hospital and the police got the other driver’s name, insurance information and info about his employer.  It got me wondering if I should file a personal injury against the driver or his employer or both? ATTORNEY ANSWER: You have a viable personal injury action against the driver and in certain circumstances you may also have an action against the employer. These circumstances depend on whether the driver was acting within the course and scope of his employment at the time of the accident and/or driving a company car. There also other unique and extraneous circumstances in which a employer may also be liable. Details

Can our residence be protected in a personal injury lawsuit?

Additional Information: My husband was involved in an auto accident and we are being sued for more than we have on our insurance policy. We own our home in the Boston Metrowest area, can we protect our home in a personal injury lawsuit? ATTORNEY ANSWER: Yes, you can protect your home under the Massachusetts Homestead Act. The Act provides automatic protection/exemption against unsecured creditor claims of up to $125,000.00 to everyone who owns a home and who occupies or intends to occupy the home as their principal residence. A homeowner can increase the protection/exemption to $500,000.00 by filing a written Declaration of Homestead at the Registry of Deeds for the county where the home is located. Details

Can I sue for medical malpratice if after an accident I cannot return to my job in construction?

Additional Information: I had surgery for an injury suffered at a worksite in the Greater Boston area. The medical procedure was picked up by worker’s comp.  I now have permanent numbness in my dominant arm and cannot return to work in construction.  Can I sue for medical malpractice and if so, who do I sue? ATTORNEY ANSWER: Whether or not you can sue for medical malpractice depends entirely on the cause of the numbness in your arm. If the numbness was caused by the negligence of your surgeon or other medical provider during the surgery, then you may have a malpractice action. Your attorney would have to obtain an expert medical opinion to this effect in order to proceed with a suit. Keep in mind however, that if your numbness is not the result of malpractice, then you may still be entitled to benefits from your Workers’ Compensation insurer since you are unable to return to work.  Details