If you or a loved one is bitten by a dog, it can lead to hospitalization, loss of work, missed school, and mental stress. Owners have a responsibility to restrain their pets and may be held liable in the event that their animal should cause harm to another person. If an attack does occur, it is crucial to understand your rights so that you do not pay the price for someone else’s negligence. Here is what you should know if you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog.
In Maryland, a dog owner may be responsible for damage or injuries caused by their pet, even if they took reasonable care to control their animal. This is known as strict liability and is not just limited to dog bites, but also other injuries that are caused by the behavior of a dog. For example, if a large dog jumps into you, knocking you over and injuring your back, the owner may be liable. Even if the dog has never acted violently or aggressively in the past, you may still have a case under strict liability.
2.Claims of Negligence
Victims of animal attacks can also seek compensation from pet owners on grounds of negligence. This occurs when an owner has reason to believe a dog may be a danger but does not make a reasonable attempt restrain them. For example, if an owner does not obey a local leash law and you are injured as a result, the owner may have been negligent.
If an animal has a history of aggression and has previously caused serious injury without provocation, they may be legally classified as “dangerous.” Additional measures must be taken for dogs who fall under this classification such as being muzzled when outside of the home. Owners who disobey this ordinance can face claims of negligence as well as criminal charges.
4.Claims for Past Injuries
If you have experienced an attack in the past, there may still be time to act. In Maryland, the personal injury statute of limitations allows you to file an injury claim three years from the date of an incident. It is important to act quickly since missing a deadline can cause you to forfeit your claim to compensation. If you are not sure whether an injury falls within this timeline, call a lawyer at our firm to discuss your options.
5.Collect Evidence for Your Case
If you are considering filing a dog bite claim, it is likely that the owner of the dog will claim contributory negligence. That is to say that you, as the victim, were at least partially responsible for the attack and your resulting injuries. In Maryland, if are found to share any responsibility for an attack it may invalidate your claim to any monetary compensation. It is critical that if you experience an attack, you take care to document and record any evidence for your case.
Call an Attorney and Discover Your Options.
If you have been bitten by a dog, it is imperative to seek legal counsel immediately. I, Salisbury Personal Injury Attorney William R. Hall, have more than 20 years of experience with personal injury cases and can help you evaluate your legal options.
Contact my office for a free consultation.