What are my rights/responsibilities if my dog bit a delivery man?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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What are my rights/responsibilities if my dog bit a delivery man?

We have a fenced in yard w/multipule signs posted on the gate, a door bell at the gate and a latch on the gate. He ignored them all and entered the yard were he was bitten. New Link Destination
day I received a letter from a lawyer representing the man he ants to sue.

Asked on September 8, 2015 under Personal Injury, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, anyone can threaten a lawsuit, or even file a lawsuit. But based on what you write, he does not appear to have a winning suit. An animal's owner is generally only liable if he/she was negligent, or careless, in how he/she secured or handled the animal, and that carelessness led to the injury. However, based on what you write, you took all reasonable precautions, so you were not liable. Furthermore, if anyone was negligent, it would have been the delivery man, since he entered a posted and locked yard--and the negligence or carelessness of the injured party can reduce, or in extreme cases, even eliminate, what he could otherwise recover in a lawsuit.
Therefore, this appears to be  very weak case. That said, if a suit is actually filed, take it seriously if you fail to respond appropriately to a lawsuit, you can lose by default, regardless of how weak the case is. If you have homeowner's insurance with liability insurance, you should be able to turn this over to your insurer if not, if sued, you are advised to retain an attorney to help you.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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