Dogs have long been labeled “man’s best friend,” but certain situations may cause a dog to become agitated or aggressive, resulting in suburban Maryland dog bite incidents.
If you or a loved one have sustained injuries after a dog bite, you may be eligible to pursue compensation. Our experienced Suburban Maryland personal injury lawyers can help ensure the dog’s owner is held liable for your injuries. Contact Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis, LLP, today to discover how our firm can help you.
Dog Bite Laws in Maryland
Like every other state, Maryland has specific laws regarding dog bites.
Under Maryland law, a dog’s owner is responsible for any injury, property damage, or death caused by their dog. However, a dog’s owner is not liable if the victim was:
- Trespassing or attempting to trespass onto the dog owner’s property
- Committing or attempting to commit a crime
- Provoking, teasing, or abusing the dog
Dog owners may also be liable for injuries not directly caused by their dogs. For example, if someone is walking on the sidewalk and an aggressive dog jumps on the fence, scares the person, and the person falls, the dog owner may be responsible for the person’s resulting injuries.
Many states follow a “one bite” rule, meaning a dog’s owner will not be held liable unless they know their dog is aggressive. Maryland does not follow this rule and instead imposes strict liability on dog owners, meaning they’ll be held responsible for their dog’s behavior.
Liability in Maryland
Typically a dog’s owner is responsible for their dog’s behavior if they cause someone injury. However, depending on the situation, other parties could be responsible.
Only those with direct control over the dog can be held liable in Maryland. Aside from the dog’s owner, a pet sitter or caregiver could potentially be responsible for a dog’s action if they harm someone.
Other parties, like landlords, are not liable for dog bites, as they do not have control over dogs.
Common Injuries Resulting from Dog Bites
Dog bites can result in many different injuries. Some of the most common injuries resulting from dog bite incidents include:
- Puncture wounds
- Fractured or broken bones
- Nerve damage
- Facial injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Joint injuries
Dog bite injuries are unique. They often require immediate attention, as there is a risk of developing an infection or other complications.
As soon as you suffer a dog bite injury, seek medical attention. Also, follow through with all medical treatment, as this benefits your health, your well-being, and your dog bite case.
Compensation for Dog Bites in Suburban Maryland
After sustaining injuries from a dog bite, you’ll face medical and other expenses. Pursuing damages can help ease some of the financial burden caused by the dog bite incident.
Damages for dog bites can either be economic or non-economic. Economic damages include:
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
- Loss of earning potential
Non-economic expenses can include the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Scarring and disfigurement
Determining the value of your case can be one of the most challenging parts of a dog bite case. Your dog bite lawyer in Suburban Maryland can examine several details to decide how much your case is worth and work diligently to get you the fairest possible outcome.
What to Do After a Dog Bite Incident
Dog bites usually happen quickly and without warning, so you may be unsure what to do. After suffering a dog bite injury, make sure to follow these steps.
Get the Dog Owner’s Information
If possible, get the dog owner’s contact information. You may also want to ask them about their dog’s health to ensure they have their required vaccines.
Seek Medical Attention Right Away
As soon as possible after the incident, seek emergency medical help. Because dog bite injuries can quickly become infected, you’ll want to begin treatment immediately to avoid complications.
Report the Dog Bite
When a person is bitten or injured by a dog, they should always report it to animal control by either calling them directly or calling 911.
Gather Evidence and Documentation
Aside from the dog owner’s contact information, other information and evidence can help your case, including photos, videos, and potential witness information. Additionally, document your injuries and anything else that may be relevant to your case.
Consult with a Suburban Maryland Dog Bite Lawyer at Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis, LLP
Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis, LLP, has over three decades of experience helping injured clients in Greenbelt, Maryland. While compensation cannot entirely fix the physical and emotional trauma, it can help ease some of the financial stress that results from a dog bite injury.
Our attorneys use their knowledge, skills, and resources to help get you the most favorable outcome. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our Suburban Maryland dog bite attorneys.