Dog bites and animal-related injuries can cause significant physical and emotional trauma for victims. Often, these incidents occur due to the negligence of dog owners who fail to control or restrain their pets adequately. If you or a loved one has experienced a dog bite injury, understanding your rights and the legal avenues available to you is crucial. As an experienced personal injury law firm in College Park, Maryland, The Law Office of Ben Evan is dedicated to helping dog bite victims secure the justice and compensation they deserve.
Gaining an in-depth understanding of the applicable laws and knowing your rights as a dog bite victim is paramount in seeking justice and fair compensation for your injuries. This blog post emphasizes the value of partnering with a dedicated personal injury attorney, like those at The Law Office of Ben Evan, to ensure that your dog bite injury case is handled sensitively and professionally, increasing your chances of a favorable outcome.
Maryland’s Dog Bite Laws
In Maryland, dog bite cases are primarily governed by two legal principles: strict liability and negligence. Understanding these principles is critical in determining the course of action for a dog bite personal injury claim.
- Strict Liability: In 2014, Maryland adopted a strict liability rule for dog bites, which holds dog owners responsible for any injury or damage caused by their dog, even if the owner had no prior knowledge of the dog’s aggressive behavior. This rule applies as long as the victim was not trespassing, provoking the dog, or engaging in criminal activity at the time of the incident. Strict liability simplifies the claims process for dog bite victims, as it removes the need to prove that the dog owner was negligent or knew the dog was dangerous.
- Negligence: In some cases, a dog bite victim may also pursue a claim based on the negligence of the dog owner. To succeed in a negligence claim, the victim must prove that the owner had a duty to control or restrain the dog, failed to fulfill that duty and that this directly led to the victim’s injuries. Examples of negligence could include failing to keep the dog on a leash, ignoring leash laws, or leaving the dog unattended in a public area.
Understanding Dog Owner Liability
When pursuing a dog bite personal injury claim, it’s crucial to understand the factors that contribute to dog owner liability, as well as the defenses they might invoke in response to your claim.
Factors that Contribute to Liability: Dog owner liability may be established through a variety of factors, including the following:
1. Violation of leash laws: If a dog owner fails to comply with local leash laws and their dog bites someone as a result, the owner may be held liable.
2. Inadequate containment: Dog bites that occur due to a dog escaping from its property or enclosure may result in the owner’s liability if they fail to take adequate measures to contain their pet.
3. History of aggression: If the dog owner has knowledge of their dog’s previous aggressive behavior but failed to address it or take precautions, they could be held responsible for any subsequent injuries.
Possible Defenses: Dog owners may attempt to argue certain defenses to mitigate or avoid liability, such as the following:
1. Provocation: If the dog owner can prove that the victim provoked the dog into attacking, they may escape liability.
2. Trespassing: If the injured person was trespassing on the owner’s property when the bite occurred, the owner may not be held responsible for the incident.
3. Comparative Negligence: If the victim’s actions contributed to the event, the owner might argue that the victim should share some responsibility for their injuries.
Injuries and Damages in Dog Bite Cases
Dog bites can result in a wide range of injuries, some of which may require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation. Common dog bite injuries include the following:
1. Puncture wounds and lacerations
3. Broken or fractured bones
4. Nerve damage
5. Scarring and disfigurement
6. Emotional and psychological trauma
In a dog bite personal injury claim, victims may seek compensation for various damages related to their injuries, such as the following:
1. Medical expenses, including current and future treatment
2. Lost wages due to time off work during recovery
3. Pain and suffering, including emotional distress
4. Disfigurement and permanent disability
5. Loss of enjoyment of life
Pursuing a Dog Bite Personal Injury Claim
In order to effectively pursue a dog bite personal injury claim, it’s important to follow these steps:
1. Seek Prompt Medical Attention: Immediately obtain medical treatment for your injuries and maintain detailed records of your treatments, bills, and any doctor’s recommendations.
2. Report the Attack: Notify your local animal control agency to initiate an investigation and document the incident.
3. Collect Evidence: Gather information, such as photographs of your injuries, witness accounts, and any prior incidents involving the dog in question.
4. Consult an Attorney: Reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you understand your rights and guide you through the claims process.
Conclusion: Trust The Law Office of Ben Evan to Advocate for Your Rights in Dog Bite Cases
Dealing with the physical and emotional aftermath of a dog bite injury can be challenging, but you don’t have to face it alone. By partnering with the skilled personal injury attorneys at The Law Office of Ben Evan in College Park, Maryland, you can confidently navigate your dog bite case and seek the compensation and justice you deserve.
Our compassionate and experienced personal injury attorney in College Park is dedicated to fighting for your rights and ensuring your case is handled with the utmost professionalism. Contact The Law Office of Ben Evan today to discuss your dog bite injury claim and take the first step towards recovery.