Dog Bite Liability in Maryland
Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Jul 28, 2017 in Personal Injury
A dog bite can be a traumatizing experience that can leave lasting physical and emotional scars.
For this reason, you should immediately contact a reputable Silver Spring dog bite lawyer for a review of your claim if you have been bitten by a dog. You may have legal options that could entitle you to compensation for your injuries and damages. We can advise you about who should be liable for your injuries and the types of compensation you may be able to recover.
Maryland Dog Bite Law
Under the law in Maryland, there are two ways a dog’s owner can be held liable for injuries caused by his or her dog: strict liability and negligence.
Courts & Judicial Proceedings Section 3–1901 poses strict liability on a dog’s owner unless the owner can prove that he or she did not know and should not have known that the dog had the ability to be vicious or dangerous. He or she can be held liable for a dog bite even if the dog has not bitten anyone before.
To bring this type of dog bite case, the victim must provide evidence showing that his or her injuries were directly caused by the dog and that the owner knew or should have known that the dog could be dangerous.
Maryland also gives dog bite victims the opportunity to file a personal injury claim against the dog’s owner or any other person based on negligence.
This type of case can be beneficial if the dog’s owner negligently handled the animal, which caused it to bite and injure you.
The definition of negligence requires that the dog’s owner did something that a reasonable person would not have. It also includes not acting or using the level of care that a reasonable person would have.
This could include failing to leash a dog, allowing a child to approach a dog he or she has never met before, or failing to warn about the dog.
This type of case will require that the victim be able to prove that the owner’s negligent actions directly caused his or her injury.
Situations Where a Dog’s Owner May Not be Liable
There are certain circumstances in which a dog’s owner may not be held liable for injuries caused by his or her dog. These include:
Trespassing, Committing a Crime or Provoking the Dog
Subsection (c) of Courts & Judicial Proceedings Section 3–1901 states that a dog’s owner will not be held liable for injuries caused by his or her dog that is at large, or unleashed off the owner’s property, if at the time of the bite the person who was injured was:
- Trespassing on the owner’s property
- Committing or attempting to commit a crime
- Teasing, provoking, tormenting or abusing the dog
Maryland is one of the few states in the country that adheres to the rule of contributory negligence. This law prevents a victim from recovering any compensation if his or her actions even partially contributed to the incident that caused his or her injuries.
However, the courts have ruled that children cannot be judged on the same standards as adults, and those under the age of five are not subject to the contributory negligence rule (Taylor v. Armiger, 277 Md. 638, 358 A.2d 883 (1976)).
Contact Our Silver Spring Dog Bite Lawyers
It is in your best interest to hire a reputable dog bite lawyer if you or someone you love has been injured by a dog bite. Our personal injury lawyers are located in Silver Spring and are well-versed in Maryland’s dog bite laws.
We have decades of experience helping injury victims obtain the compensation they need to recover and move on from their injuries.
Contact our team today for a free, no obligation consultation. We will review the details of your claim and help you determine if you have a case and who could be held liable for your injuries.