Bel Air, Maryland Dog Bite Lawyer
Upholding Your Rights as a Dog Attack Survivor
Dog attacks can be emotionally and physically scarring. If you have survived a dog attack but were left severely injured, then you should consider suing that dog’s owner for compensation. Portner & Shure, P.A. will be happy to see if we can help you. Our Bel Air dog bite attorneys are known for taking on factually complex cases and winning them for clients in need.
We should talk about your dog attack incident. Call (855) 954-4141.
Maryland Law About Dog Bites
In 2014, Maryland voters ended the “one-bite rule” in the state, which largely excused dog owners from liability the first time their usually unaggressive dog bit someone. The current law creates a rebuttable presumption that a dog owner is negligent in some way if their dog was able to attack someone to the point of causing a serious injury. It is now easier for dog attack victims to obtain compensation from dog owners due to this legal update.
Theories of Negligence
Maryland law allows a dog attack victim to sue a dog owner under two theories:
- General theory of negligence: If a dog owner fails to properly secure their dog in a situation or location where an injury is likely to occur, such as a park or other public place, they are negligent under a general theory of negligence. Dog owners must always exercise control over their animals when not doing so could hurt someone.
- Strict theory of negligence: A victim can sue a dog owner under a theory of strict liability that presumes a dog owner is negligent based on the fact that the dog attacked the victim at all.
Defenses a Dog Owner Might Try
Most dog owners try to assert the defenses of contributory negligence or assumption of risk when accused of failing to stop their dog from hurting someone. Contributory negligence arguments state that the victim’s own negligence contributed to the attack, which would mean the owner would be liable for a lesser amount of damages. For example, someone who is ignoring a dog’s clear warning growls might be found partially liable for the ensuing bite.
Assumption of risk is an argument that says the victim should have known they were putting themselves at risk of a dog attack. Again, if true, this would diminish the dog owner’s liability. For example, imagine if a dog owner put up signs that warned trespassers of their angry dog, yet someone trespassed anyway in the middle of the night. If that trespasser was bitten by the dog, then they would probably not be able to sue for compensation.
Furthermore, a dog attack victim can be blocked from obtaining a recovery if they were:
- Committing or attempting to commit a trespass or other criminal offense on the property of the owner;
- Committing or attempting to commit a criminal offense against any person; or
- Teasing, tormenting, abusing, or provoking the dog.
Damages & Injuries Following a Dog Attack
Injuries commonly suffered by dog bite victims are:
- Torn muscles
- Ligament damage
- Nerve damage
- Broken bones
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
The severity of the injuries depends on the severity of the attack and the size of the dog. Extensive medical and psychological treatments such as reconstructive surgery and counseling are often required. Payments for all necessary treatments, lost wages, and hardships caused due to pain, suffering, and PTSD can all be cited as economic/noneconomic damages in a dog bite claim due to Maryland’s personal injury statutes that allow injury victims to seek numerous types of damages.
Contact a Bel Air, Maryland Dog Bite Lawyer
You can explore your rights as a dog attack survivor by contacting us online at any time. Our Bel Air dog bite lawyers offer free consultations to inquiring clients, as well as contingency fees. If we take your case using contingency fees, then we are only paid for our services if we secure a win! Call (855) 954-4141 to find out more.