Dog Bites and Animal Attacks: Navigating Maryland’s Personal Injury Laws for Victims

For many individuals, pets are cherished companions and valuable members of their households. However, the unfortunate reality is that animal attacks and dog bites can impose significant physical, emotional, and financial burdens on victims. Maryland’s personal injury laws seek to establish a balance between protecting the rights of dog owners and ensuring that injured parties receive fair compensation for their damages. However, navigating the complexities of dog bite liability and the claims process can be challenging. This guide aims to provide an in-depth understanding of dog bite liability under Maryland law, including the distinctions between negligence and strict liability, the role of contributory negligence, and the steps to take after an animal attack to maximize your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome in your personal injury claim.

Throughout this guide, we will explore the pivotal elements of dog bite liability under Maryland civil statutes, including the circumstances under which a dog owner may be held responsible for injuries their animal causes. Additionally, we will discuss the implications of Maryland’s strict liability standard in dog bite cases and the potential defenses that dog owners may raise in response to a personal injury claim. Furthermore, we will address the topic of contributory negligence and its impact on your case, as well as the importance of gathering evidence, seeking timely medical attention, and working with an experienced personal injury attorney in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

By addressing these critical topics, our goal is to equip you with the knowledge and resources necessary to pursue fair compensation following a dog bite or animal attack. The trustworthy team at Benevan Law Firm is committed to providing the highest quality legal representation in your dog bite injury claim, ensuring that you receive the personalized care and professional advocacy you deserve for a successful outcome.

The Distinction Between Negligence and Strict Liability in Dog Bite Cases

Understanding the difference between negligence and strict liability is essential when addressing dog bite incidents under Maryland law:

1. Negligence: In a negligence-based dog bite claim, the injured party must prove that the dog owner failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the attack, breaching their duty of care. This often includes demonstrating that the owner knew or should have known about their dog’s dangerous propensity.

2. Strict Liability: Maryland follows a strict liability standard in dog bite cases, which means that a dog owner can be held liable for injuries caused by their dog, even if they had no prior knowledge of the dog’s vicious propensities. However, exceptions may apply for instances in which the injured party was trespassing or provoking the dog.

Contributory Negligence and Its Impact on Your Dog Bite Case

Maryland is one of the few states that adhere to the contributory negligence doctrine, which can have significant implications on your dog bite personal injury claim:

1. No Recovery for Victims Found Partially at Fault: Under Maryland’s contributory negligence rule, if you are found to be even partially responsible for your dog bite injury, you may be barred from recovering any compensation.

2. Importance of Legal Representation: Given the stringent nature of Maryland’s contributory negligence law, working with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you counter claims of partial fault and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Essential Steps to Take After a Dog Bite or Animal Attack

Following a dog bite or animal attack, take these critical steps to protect your rights and improve your chances of obtaining fair compensation:

1. Seek Medical Attention: Your well-being should be your top priority. Obtain prompt medical care for your injuries, and keep detailed records of your treatment and expenses, as these documents may be crucial for supporting your personal injury claim.

2. Identify the Dog and Its Owner: If possible, gather information about the dog involved in the attack, such as its breed, size, and color, as well as identification tags or other markings. Obtain the dog owner’s name, contact information, and insurance details, which will be essential when filing a claim.

3. Document the Scene: Take photographs of the attack’s location, any visible injuries you sustained, and any property damage resulting from the incident. These photos can be invaluable evidence in proving liability and the extent of your damages.

4. Obtain Witness Statements: If there were witnesses to the attack, collect their contact information and ask them for a statement as soon as possible. Witness accounts can help corroborate your version of events and support your claim.

5. Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney: It is vital to consult with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, to discuss your legal options and ensure your rights are protected throughout the claims process.

Common Defenses in Dog Bite Personal Injury Cases

Dog owners may assert various defenses in response to a dog bite personal injury claim, such as:

1. Trespassing: If the injured party was unlawfully on the dog owner’s property when the attack occurred, the owner may argue that they should not be held liable for the injuries.

2. Provocation: Dog owners may assert that the injured individual provoked their dog, leading to the attack. However, Maryland’s contributory negligence laws can significantly affect the outcome of cases involving provocation claims.

3. Assumption of Risk: In cases where the injured party was aware of the dog’s vicious propensities but still chose to interact with the dog, the owner may argue that the individual assumed the risk of injury.


Obtaining a comprehensive understanding of Maryland’s dog bite and animal attack liability laws is vital for pursuing fair compensation for your injuries. By working with an experienced personal injury attorney in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, you can have a knowledgeable advocate by your side to guide you through the complexities of the legal process and ensure that you obtain the financial support you need for your recovery. At The Law Office of Ben Evan, our dedicated team of personal injury attorneys is ready to fight for your rights and help you secure the compensation you rightfully deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and begin your journey toward obtaining justice for your dog bite injury claim.

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