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Dog Bite FAQ
  1. Can I recover damages if I am bitten by a dog?
    Rhode Island law is very clear that you are entitled to collect damages for a dog bite but it depends where the bite occurred. If the dog bite occurred “outside the close” or boundaries of a person’s property, you are entitled to recover for your damages. If the bite occurred on the dog owner or keeper’s property, Rhode Island law states that the dog is entitled to “one free bite”, meaning if you are bitten on the dog owner or keeper’s premises and it is the first time it has bit, you cannot recover damages. In Massachusetts there is a strict liability for a dog bite, meaning that the dog owner or keeper is liable for any bite no matter where it takes place, so long as the injured party did not tease, provoke, torment or abuse the dog.

  2. Can I recover damages if I am bit by a dog while playing with it?
    Yes, so long as you were not teasing, provoking, tormenting or abusing the dog.

  3. What damages am I entitled to?
    You are entitled to recover for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and scarring, if any.

  4. Can a landlord be responsible for a tenant’s dog that bites?
    If the landlord knows of the existence of the dog on his or her premises, the landlord has the same responsibility as the owner of the dog.

  5. How many years do I have to pursue a claim for damages caused by a dog bite?
    In both Rhode Island and Massachusetts, a person has 3 years from the date of the dog bite to file a lawsuit for injuries caused by a dog bite.

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  • East Providence Office
    989 Waterman Avenue
    East Providence, Rhode Island 02914
    Phone: 401-437-3000
    Fax: 401-437-3037