Silver Spring Dog Bite Lawyers
Dog bites and attacks can cause serious, even fatal injuries, especially when the victim is a small child. In addition to the physical injuries, victims and their families may also suffer lingering emotional trauma and significant financial losses.
Our Silver Spring dog bite lawyers at Goldberg Finnegan are available to help victims injured in an unprovoked attack. We have more than 20 years of experience and have recovered tens of millions in compensation for our clients, including a $580,000 jury verdict for a child who was chased into the street by a pit bull. Partner Kevin Goldberg has been selected as a Maryland Super Lawyer each year since 2007.
Schedule your free case review today. There is no obligation to pursue a claim, and if we represent you, there are no upfront costs to pay.
Goldberg Finnegan—Trusted Dog Bite Lawyers. Ph: 301-589-2999
Can I Pursue Compensation for a Dog Bite in Maryland?
If you were attacked and injured by a dangerous dog in Maryland, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for your injuries and other losses. However, before we can give you a definitive answer about your eligibility for legal action, we need to understand more about how you were injured, including:
- How the attack occurred
- The location of the attack (public park, private property, etc.)
- What you were doing at the time of the attack
- Whether the dog was at large or restrained on a leash
In addition to understanding how the incident happened, it is necessary to understand how the state’s dog bite laws could impact your eligibility.
Maryland Strict Liability Dog Bite Law
Under Maryland Code, Section 3-1901, if a dog is running at large and injures another person, the owner of the dog is deemed strictly liable. This means the law must presume, without regard to either the dog’s breed or heritage, that the dog’s owner knew or should have known the dog could be dangerous. It does not matter whether an owner claims that he or she did not know his or her dog could be aggressive. In this scenario, the injured party does not have to prove negligence.
This law applies equally whether the owner’s dog injures someone by:
- Jumping with force and knocking someone down
- Acting in an aggressive manner
The caveat to Section 3-1901 is that an owner will not be considered strictly liable if the injured person was:
- Trespassing on the owner’s private property at the time of the attack
- Committing a crime, or attempting to commit a crime on the owner’s property
- Attempting to harm or committing a criminal offense against any person
- Purposely teasing, provoking, hitting or torturing the dog
It may also be possible for an injured victim to pursue a negligence claim against a dog owner. However, this is considerably more complex. For this type of claim to succeed, you must be able to prove the dog owner was negligent in some way, and that his or her negligence led to the attack that caused your injuries.
We strongly recommend speaking with one of our dedicated Silver Spring dog bite attorneys as soon after this type of injury as possible. There is no cost for an initial consultation, and you can learn if you may have a case. There is no obligation to work with our firm after this meeting.
Get your FREE case review today. 301-589-2999
What Could My Case Be Worth?
The full value of your case can only be accurately determined when we have more information about the severity and extent of your injuries. We also need to take other contributing factors into consideration, such as whether you missed work or needed surgery.
In general, the types of compensation injured dog bite victims may be eligible to receive could include:
- Lost wages if you missed work while recovering
- Medical costs—be sure to save all related invoices
- Future surgical interventions, such as plastic surgery
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Transportation costs to and from your medical appointments
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Pain and suffering
- Counseling for emotional trauma
- And more
What is Maryland’s Statute of Limitations for a Dog Bite Claim?
Under Code of Maryland §5-101, injured victims have three years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. This sounds like a long time, but it can go by quickly. Your attorney needs time to prepare your case and navigate through the legal process. Additionally, because evidence gets lost and details get forgotten, your claim may have a better chance of success if you do not wait.
If you attempt to file a liability claim after your deadline passes, it will likely be dismissed by the courts and you may be unable to recover any compensation for your losses.
How Can I Benefit from Hiring a Dog Bite Lawyer?
Our Silver Spring dog bite lawyers have extensive knowledge of Maryland’s dog bite laws, and we know how to apply these laws to establish liability for a claim. We are also experienced negotiators, which is a valuable resource for ensuring your settlement is fair in any type of personal injury claim. It is well known that injured victims who have legal representation often get larger settlements than those who do not.
Additionally, our attorneys are ready to help your claim by:
- Fully investigating your dog bite attack
- Communicating with third parties, such as the insurance company, on your behalf
- Keeping you informed throughout the legal process
- Gathering supportive evidence
- Preparing for trial if necessary—sometimes insurance companies do not offer fair compensation and filing a lawsuit may be your last chance of recovering compensation
What Should You Do Immediately After a Dog Bite Attack?
Dog bite attacks are extremely traumatic, so initially you may feel too disoriented or in shock to know what to do. However, it is important to try to remain calm long enough to:
- Get yourself to safety, putting distance between you and the attacking dog
- Seek immediate medical attention—even minor dog bites can cause scarring
- Report the attack to the Montgomery County Animal Services & Adoption Center
- If you can safely do so, photograph the attack scene and your injuries
- Check for witnesses and get their contact details
- Keep records of the care you receive and any related medical bills, transportation costs and receipt
Regardless of whether you think a dog bite injury is minor, you should always seek medical attention after any bite that results in an open wound. Even though dog owners are responsible for making sure their pets get the required shots to help prevent disease, you cannot know if this has happened. Even a small bite can cause a serious infection.
In addition to protecting your health, getting the medical care you need creates an official record of your injuries. This step also helps to link your injuries to the attack, which can help strengthen a potential claim for compensation.
Who Is Most at Risk of a Dog Bite or Animal Attack?
Statistics show that approximately 70 percent of dog bites occur on the property of the owner. The most likely victims of these attacks include:
- Small children are especially more prone to serious injuries, accounting for about 60 percent of all dog bite attacks.
- Postal workers
- Elderly senior citizens are the second most common victims of dangerous dogs.
- Meter readers
- Delivery workers
Many attacks may occur because the canine was not properly contained, or it was not leashed. It is also a fact that a neutered dog is less likely to bite than one that is not neutered.
Contact Our Silver Spring Dog Bite Lawyers Today
An attack by a dog can cause serious harm and lasting emotional trauma. Victims may be left with deep puncture wounds or lacerations, permanent scarring or a serious infection. Filing a dog bite claim may provide the compensation you need to treat these injuries.
Contact our attorneys at Goldberg and Finnegan today to get the legal help you need after being attacked by a dog. We have more than 20 years of experience advocating for injured victims, recovering more than $130 million on their behalf. If we find that you have a claim, we are prepared to fight for maximum compensation on your behalf.
We offer a free initial legal consultation to find out whether you may have a valid case—with no obligation to pursue a claim. Since we accept cases on contingency, there is nothing to pay upfront if we represent you. We only get paid at the end of a case if we achieve a settlement or win a verdict for you.