Maryland Dog Bite Injury Damages and Liability

Maryland has specific rules for dog bite injuries, and the statutory law changed as recently as April 2014. If you or a loved one has suffered from a dog bite injury in this jurisdiction, a Maryland dog bite injury lawyer can help explain how the law works, your options, and what the process for filing a claim would look like.

When Can You Recover Damages (Compensation) For A Dog Bite Injury?

Maryland has a statutory rule against dog bites 3-1901 (pdf) and so the rule in Maryland is that if you bring a law suit against the owner of a dog you know, for any injuries that that dog may cause you that creates a rebuttable presumption that the owner either knew or should have known that the dog had either vicious or dangerous propensities. And so what they try to do is one of the defenses that well, we didn’t know the dog was like this, the dog never hurt a fly. Or they can say that the dog was in our yard and on a leash and you came and either taunted the dog or teased the dog or you were either a trespasser on the property trying to commit a crime against the property owner. So mainly if a dog is at large or breaks free and he attacks you there’s a presumption that the guy knew and the judge can make a ruling that the presumption has been rebutted until the jury comes down with a verdict if they have one.

How Are Dog Bite Injury Damages Determined in Maryland?

Just like any other case if you say you’re hurt, you’ve been put out because of someone’s negligence, and you deserve compensation, the defendant will say “Prove It.” The way you prove it for your injuries is to demonstrate causation (prove that your injuries are caused by a certain dog bite), severity (show how much treatment you received for it), and duration (if the injury has any kind of permanent or lasting effect such as a scar or amputation). It’s the causation, the severity or duration of an injury and then whether or not it’s a permanent injury. Then to prove your monetary or out-of-pocket damages you use receipts, and for your lost wages you get a kind of form from your employer stating your rate of pay and how much time was missed from work. If you have a medical note that says you had to take time out of work because of your injuries then that’s the way you prove your loss of wages for that.

How is Liability Established in a Dog Bite Case?

Well, the liability is established that if you own a dog and have it on your property and it breaks free because you didn’t watch it or you didn’t take care of it and the dog actually goes and bites or attacks someone. In such a scenario, the injured party then they will likely hold the owner liable. Liability can also be established by showing that the dog owner did not do a good job in keeping the dog fenced in.

How Do You Research and Establish Evidence for Liability?

Well, what you have to prove is that the dog previously bit a person or acted like it wanted to or that the owner of the dog was aware of the dog’s previous contact. So it’s kind of called the one bite rule meaning that they do, they bite one time and you get them but they also get I think one free bite so if they don’t know or have no reason to believe it then it’s hard for a person to recover.

What Are Some Common Injuries That Can Result From a Dog Bite?

It’s usually because a dog has such strong jaws, or some dogs are very powerful. A lot of the time it’s a bite wound where the dog will bite and puncture the skin, possibly causing scarring.. If the dog didn’t receive the shot then it can transmit rabies. In addition, a person’s wound can get infected from a dog bite. So biting, puncture wounds, and scarring those are all typical injuries for a dog bite case.