Dog Bite Attorneys in Wheaton
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Unlike many other incidents in which people sustain injuries, dog attacks are particularly brutal. Dog attack victims are often pedestrians or visitors to another person’s property who find themselves suddenly viciously attacked by a dog. The incident itself is traumatic, and the resulting injuries are often severe. To make matters worse, dog bite cases are typically both legally and factually complex. Accordingly, victims should retain a knowledgeable Wheaton dog bite lawyer as soon as possible. The attorneys at Portner & Shure, P.A. have been successfully representing dog bite victims in Montgomery County for over 25 years.
Contact Portner & Shure, P.A. online or by phone at (240) 233-2801 today for a free, confidential consultation.
Maryland Dog Bite Laws
Many states adhere to the “one-bite rule.” In order for a dog owner to be held liable under this rule, they must have known or had reason to know of the dog’s violent nature. This rule precluded many claims by dog bite victims as dog owners could claim that they had no knowledge of their dog’s violent nature.
Maryland previously followed this rule. However, in 2014 the Maryland state legislature eliminated this rule and revamped the state’s dog bite laws. Under the current law, a dog owner is rebuttably presumed to have known that their dog had violent tendencies. Accordingly, a dog bite victim can now pursue a claim against a dog owner under two theories of negligence. These are discussed in more detail below.
A dog bite victim can sue a dog owner under the theory of strict liability. Under this theory, a dog owner is presumed to be negligent. There are several requirements for a dog bite victim to succeed under the theory of strict liability. A dog bite victim must present proof that the dog previously attacked another individual or animal. Alternatively, a dog bite victim must present proof that the dog previously displayed aggressive tendencies, such as growling or lunging.
Under the theory of a general negligence, a dog owner is negligent if they failed to properly secure or control their dog in a situation where an injury was likely to occur. In order to win under this theory, a dog bite victim must show that the dog owner failed to secure their dog with an instrument, such as a leash, in a place where an injury was likely to occur, such as a park.
Defenses to Dog Bite Claims in Maryland
The Maryland dog bite statute provides two statutory defenses to dog owners. A dog owner can raise the defense of provocation or abuse. Under these defenses, if a dog owner presents proof that the victim provoked or abused the dog prior to the attack, a victim is precluded from recovering.
Along with these defenses, the defense of contributory negligence is available in Maryland. Under this defense, if proof is presented that a victim’s action contributed to their injuries, then the victim is precluded from recovering. As the facts of each case are different, it is highly advised that you seek representation from a knowledgeable Wheaton dog bite lawyer.
Damages & Injuries in Dog Bite Cases
Dog attacks often result in horrible and painful injuries. These injuries can include:
The severity of these injuries may vary based on the size of the dog, as well as how the attack occurred, the age of the victim, and other factors. Nonetheless, victims often require extensive medical treatment, such as reconstructive surgery and counseling. Fortunately, Maryland law allows a victim to claim economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are meant to compensate a victim for the cost of specific measurable costs, such as expenses associated with medical care, future medical care, lost wages, and future lost wages. In contrast, non-economic damages are designed to compensate a victim for intangible losses, such as pain and suffering, they endured as a result of their injuries.
Contact a Wheaton Dog Bite Lawyer at Portner & Shure, P.A.
The attorneys at Portner & Shure, P.A. have been successfully representing dog bite victims in Wheaton, Maryland and throughout Montgomery County for over 25 years. This experience has allowed us to build a reputation for excellence among our clients and peers. This reputation of excellence can be seen in the numerous awards the firm has earned and the many five-star reviews we have earned from prior clients. All personal injury representation is performed on a contingency fee basis; Portner & Shure, P.A. receives no fee unless you obtain a settlement or judgement in court.
To schedule a free consultation regarding your dog bite case, call us at (240) 233-2801 or contact us online today.
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