More than 48% of households in the United States own at least one dog. Dogs make great companions. But sometimes man’s best friend can be dangerous. Dog bites are more common than you think. Each year 1,000 dog bites are reported in Anne Arundel alone. Dog bites can cause serious injury and lead to infections. If a dog has bitten you, you may have legal options to be compensated for your injuries.
In 2014, Maryland passed the Dog Bite Law (Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Code section 3-1901), which significantly overhauled the law. Under the Dog Bite Law, the owner of a dog is liable for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that is caused by the dog when the dog is running at large. This law is a “strict liability” rule, which means that it is presumed that the owner knew that his or her dog would act aggressively. To overcome this presumption, a dog owner must actually prove that they had no idea their dog was aggressive or dangerous. If the owner cannot overcome the presumption, they are liable for the injuries caused by the dog. The dog owner can be responsible even if the dog has never bitten anyone before. The law is breed neutral and does not single out a particular breed of dog as dangerous.
A dog owner would not be liable under strict liability if the injured person were
- Trespassing or attempting to trespass on the owner’s property
- Committing or attempting to commit a crime
- Provoking, abusing, teasing, or tormenting the dog
Dog bite cases can also be considered under the rules of negligence. The injured person must show that the dog owner failed to exercise reasonable care and that this led to the dog bite. Examples of neglect could include failing to put the dog on a leash or allowing children to pet a dog that was known to be dangerous. The dog owner would not be liable under the doctrine of contributory negligence if the injured party was responsible in any way for their own injury.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve been injured by a dog, you should have a personal injury attorney evaluate your case. The attorneys at Alpert Schreyer, LP have over 30 years of experience representing injured people. Contact us online or call us at 1-844-MDCRASH to schedule your free consultation.