Whether you are driving for work, personal errands, or travel, every Maryland driver will encounter…
There is no question that dogs are one of America’s favorite pets. Data from the American Veterinary Medical Association indicates that almost 85 million households in the US are home to at least one canine. As such, even if you do not have one, you will likely encounter a dog at the home of family or friends, in a public place, or in your Maryland neighborhood. When that happens, you might hit a crossroads with another statistic: Approximately 4.5 million people suffer dog bite injuries nationwide yearly, and a large percentage of them are children.
Every US state has laws that allow victims of dog bites to recover compensation, but the theories of liability vary considerably. If you were hurt, you might wonder whether Maryland follows the “one-bite” rule, but there is more to the answer than a simple Yes or No. State laws are complex, so you should retain a Baltimore County dog bite attorney for help with your claim. You can also read on for some basics.
Theories of Liability for Dog Bites
In short, the one-bite rule says that the owner of a dog is liable for the victim’s losses if there was knowledge about its dangerous propensities; knowledge often comes from a prior incident when the animal bit or attacked someone, so the term fits. Maryland follows a version of the one-bite rule, but there are additional theories of liability available to a victim:
- A dog’s owner may be strictly liable for any injury or fatality when a dog is at large unless the victim was trespassing or provoked the animal. Strict liability means you do not need to prove the fault of the owner.
- Strict liability also applies to other dog bites unless the owner can prove a lack of knowledge that the animal was not vicious or dangerous.
- The owner can also be liable for negligence by failing to take reasonable steps to protect others from dog bites.
- A case could be based upon negligence per se when the specific act of carelessness was a violation of law, such as leash regulations.
Damages for Dog Bite Victims
Compensation in these claims is intended to put the victim in the same position as if the incident never happened. Some of the losses are financial and tangible, so they are considered economic damages. Examples include medical expenses for emergency treatment, surgery, cosmetic procedures, pain medication, hospitalization, and more. You may also seek lost wages if you missed work after a dog bite.
Other losses are subjective because they are personal to the victim. Noneconomic damages include:
- Pain and suffering;
- Scarring and disfigurement;
- Emotional anguish; and,
- Other losses that affect your quality of life.
A Baltimore County Dog Bite Lawyer Can Explain How the Laws Work
To learn more about your legal options after being bitten or attacked by a dog, please contact the Law Office of William F. Mulroney. You can call (443) 352-8433 for a free initial phone consultation or go online to reach our location in Owings Mills.