The great majority of dogs are well-behaved and pose no danger to humans. Although only a tiny percentage of dogs have strong, vicious, or dangerous propensities to attack people, those that do may inflict serious injury. Non-fatal incidents may result in thousands of dollars in medical bills and other losses, according to Maryland dog bite laws.
Victims of dog bites in Maryland may file a personal injury lawsuit against the dog owner to recover their damages. However, the dog bite laws in Maryland do not automatically hold dog owners liable for every occurrence of biting. So, this post will explore the Maryland dog bite law in-depth to help you understand how it works.
Dog Bites Injuries in Maryland
A bite from a potentially dangerous dog can cause serious, even deadly, injuries. The combination of the teeth’s piercing damage and the compressive force applied to nearby tissues can cause severe injury. A huge, dangerous dog, if given the opportunity, can inflict severe injury and even deformity.
Every day, over 1100 individuals seek medical attention for dog attacks. Medical expenditures associated with domestic animal attacks cost the United States around $1 billion per year. Many of the sad victims of dog bite cases are children. Children who a dog has bitten are more likely to experience bullying and harassment, social isolation, depression, and eating disorders.
What to Do After a Dog Bite
An immediate response is required after a dog attack. Receiving medical attention after a strange dog bit is the main priority. A medical expert is required to treat your injuries and avoid sickness. Furthermore, medical documentation of injuries may be used to support financial losses in a personal injury claim in Maryland dog bite laws. It is also in everyone’s best interest to get their contact information and any images or video recordings.
Furthermore, it would be best to speak with a Maryland dog bite lawyer about your financial recovery alternatives. The dog bite laws in Maryland also allow you to sue the dog owner for compensation. This usually happens if a dog attacks you in Maryland and inflicts severe injury. Dog bite victims may often get reimbursement for medical fees and other damages from the dog owners through their insurance policy.
Understanding the Maryland Dog Bite Injury Law
The Maryland dog bite laws, as in many other states, are among the strictest in the nation. The dog owners are solely responsible for ensuring that the dog does not create difficulties for neighbors. To decide culpability in the dog bite event, two legal theories might be used: strict liability and negligence.
The court will first consider whether the dog owner knew of the animal’s potentially harmful tendencies. According to Maryland’s “one-bite rule,” dog owners are “strictly liable” for any damage their dog caused.
What Is the One-Bite Rule?
The “one-bite rule” in Maryland dog bite laws suggests that a dog owner is legally responsible for any losses or injuries their dog causes. This applies if they knew or should have known the dog was inherently dangerous due to past behavior.
If a dog has never previously hurt anyone, its caregivers may assume the owner is unaware of the animal’s dangerous nature. Consequently, pet owners have been given a “get out of jail free” card for a single bite. If this was the dog’s first attack on a person, the owner is unlikely to suffer serious penalties unless the dog is unleashed.
Nonetheless, the flaws in such a rule are obvious. Dog owners may even assault individuals with their dogs while claiming ignorance of the dangers the animals pose. As a result, the “one-bite rule” no longer applies in today’s culture.
Now, a dog owner may be held guilty for their dog’s behavior even after a single bite.
If you know your dog is an aggressive breed, you should always expect it to bite. If a dog has a history of violent behavior or dangerous propensities, its owner must always treat the animal cautiously.
A dog owner may be held at strict liability for the activities of their animals under the legal theory of negligence claim. Even if the idea of strict liability does not apply. Even if the dog has never before bitten a human, the owner may be found accountable for the injuries to the injured person.
This is only possible if the dog bite attorney can show that the owner was negligent in overseeing or regulating his dog. The dog owners may take the dog bite liability if they mistreat or abuse the animal. They may also be liable if they teach it to fight or behave violently. Additionally, they could be held responsible if they otherwise encourage it to fight or act aggressively.
Negligence in Dog Bite Cases
Since Maryland doesn’t have a law that imposes civil penalties for a dog bite case, dog bite claims are subject to the common law of negligence. To claim damages for dog bite attacks, the injured person must demonstrate that the dog owners failed to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances. The same rules apply when a dog causes other types of injuries. Such as when a big-breed pitbull dog pushes a person over and causes them to stumble.
To be entitled to compensation, the injured person must demonstrate that the dog owner or the person in control of the animal was negligent of the dog’s behavior.
For a dog bite attorney in Maryland to prove negligence on behalf of their client, the following four factors must coexist:
For example, if the dog owner allowed the injured person to access the property, the owner owed the plaintiff the duty of protection from the animal bites. Because the possessor could not show sufficient control over the dog, this obligation was not enforced.
So, the defendant’s breach of contract was to blame for the plaintiff’s dog bite injuries. However, if the dog attack happened on the owner’s property and the victim was there without the owner’s knowledge, the victim may be ineligible for compensation if the dog inflicted severe injury.
Other factors, such as contributory negligence and assumption of the risk, may add to the case’s complexity in Maryland law. In the event of a dog bite, a victim who was invited onto the property by the owner but intentionally provoked the animal or entered a restricted area may be unable to file a compensation claim. Consult a dog bite lawyer if you’ve been bitten by a dog that doesn’t belong to you and want to know if you have a case against the dog owner.
Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Lawsuits in Maryland
According to Maryland personal injury law, you have up to three years from the date of the occurrence to submit a claim for damages after a large dog bite. The statute of limitations begins to run from the date of the injury. If you wait too long to seek liability for your losses, you may be permanently barred from pursuing a lawsuit in court and being awarded damages.
Dog bites can result in severe bodily harm, including excruciating pain, paralysis, and disfigurement. These injuries may restrict your mobility. Likewise, it can prevent you from going about your everyday activities as normal. In addition, you’ll be faced with a stack of pricey medical expenditures.
People who care about dogs frequently worry about their ability to recover financially from injuries caused by the negligence of others. However, your responsibilities to yourself and your family should precede your love of dogs. If you or a family member is injured as a result of a dog attack, you should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Discuss your case and learn about your options for recovering the costs of your injuries.
Compensation In A Dog Bite Matter
You may be tempted to negotiate directly with the dog owner or insurance company in your eagerness to receive compensation for your injuries. However, you should understand that dog bites can cause serious injuries. But not all of them are immediately visible. Likewise, the emotional consequences of the incident may take some time to manifest.
Accepting an early settlement will prevent you from filing an appeal once you have a better understanding of the total amount of your losses. After approving a payment in advance, it will no longer be possible to receive other payments. An experienced Maryland dog bite attorney can assist you in obtaining maximum compensation for the injuries inflicted on you.
Typically, if a dog severely injured you, you would be able to sue the dog owner for compensation. This would include compensation for medical expenses, missing wages, physical and emotional pain and suffering, and mental anguish. However, you must be aware that a dog owner in Maryland may use several defenses. This is to avoid paying you any compensation if their animal ever injures you.
If you were committing a crime or trespassing when the dog struck you, the owner does not have the same legal obligation to ensure that the dog does not bite you. This may disqualify you from receiving compensation. In addition, the Act contains a provision that prohibits suing for dog bite injuries if the dog was provoked, taunted, tortured, or otherwise mistreated.
In addition, the contributory negligence rule is followed in Maryland. This means that if you are injured in an accident, you cannot be partially to blame and still be eligible for compensation. If you were even one percent responsible for your injuries, you have no legal recourse against the dog’s owner, according to the Maryland code.
Common Insurance Company Defenses in Dog Bite Lawsuits
Commonly, insurance defense attorneys in Maryland who handle dog bite claims believe that a precedent for strict liability can only be established. This is especially the case if the dog in question has previously bitten someone. This is the standard statutory defense tactic. However, this is only one of many factors that must be considered.
The defendant can say that the victim provoked the dog. And this is a valid defense, if proven, that the victim was a trespasser, which lowers the bar for the claim. Another defense is if the victim was otherwise careless or knew the dog would bite.
These defenses can typically be surmounted with the assistance of an experienced attorney. However, negotiating a satisfactory resolution with insurance companies is almost always challenging and frequently results in a jury trial.
How Can An Attorney For A Dog Bite Case Help?
Your attorney will fight for your rights. They’ll ensure the law is on your side to recover damages if a dog has attacked you. There is a possibility that well-meaning acquaintances and family members are unfamiliar with Maryland’s complex dog bite laws. So you should rely on something other than their advice. Choose a Maryland attorney who specializes in dog bite cases. An attorney who has a comprehensive understanding of the rules and regulations that must be followed to protect your rights.
For example, a large portion of the general public is unaware of the 2014 legislative update that mandates a dog owner is liable for damage when “a dog is running at large.” It is optional to demonstrate the owner’s irresponsibility in this scenario. This is just one example of a complex aspect of the law. And that could be interpreted in your favor with the assistance of competent legal counsel.
Your insurance company or the company representing the dog owners may pressure you to resolve the matter swiftly and accept a little compensation for your injuries. However, this disregards the potential for long-term physical, mental, and financial harm.
Often, the consequences of a dog attack on a human victim may not be fully and immediately apparent. Before accepting any settlement money, discuss your options with a Maryland dog bite attorney. You will likely not be able to pursue the financial compensation you need to recover from the attack if you do not have proper legal representation.
Injuries from dogs may range from moderate to severe, necessitating prompt medical attention. As soon as possible after receiving medical attention, you should contact an attorney with experience defending clients in dog attack cases. The state of Maryland enacted new regulations concerning dog bite incidents in 2014.
It is now possible in Maryland dog bite laws to sue a dog owner for damages if their dogs assault someone while “running at large”. This can happen even if the owner cannot be shown to be negligent. To maximize your financial recovery from a dog bite lawsuit, you must select an attorney who is up-to-date with the law and the most recent developments in this area of law.