Between 2005 and 2010, an average of 5,000 people visited the emergency room for dog bites each year in Maryland. Of those 5,000, about a third were children, according to the Department of Legislative Services Office of Policy Analysis. A dog attack is an exceptionally frightening experience. It can leave permanent, life-altering injuries. Dogs can target the face, neck, limbs, and groin area, which means a high risk of disfigurement and serious injury. If you file a dog bite claim against the owner, you can address all of these damages.
After addressing immediate medical concerns, speak to a local dog bite attorney about moving forward with a claim to recover damages. If you reside in or near Silver Spring, you can call DuBoff & Associates, Chartered at 301-495-3131 and speak to an attorney that handles cases of this nature.
What does Maryland’s dog bite statute entail?
Maryland recently overhauled its dog bite statutes, making them much more victim-friendly. The new rules laid out in Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Code § 3-1901, impose strict liability on the dog owner for victims’ damages if the dog was running around at large.
This means that so long as the dog was loose when it attacked, the owner is responsible for paying for any harm the dog causes. It does not matter whether the owner knew the dog had dangerous tendencies; the owner cannot use lack knowledge of the dog’s aggressiveness as a defense. The very fact that it attacked and hurt someone proves it was dangerous.
Victims can also sue an owner based on the legal concept of negligence, but this avenue presents its own challenges. In order to pursue a claim based on negligence, you would have to show the owner did something unreasonable and negligent and that the negligence led to the attack. Legal theories and dog bite statutes are difficult to navigate. Your lawyer will be able to advise you of how best to proceed with your case.
Note: The statute of limitations on a dog bite case is three years so be sure you get started on your case as soon as possible.
Do I need a lawyer to help me with a dog bite injury claim?
The attorneys at DuBoff & Associates, Chartered know the ins and outs of dog bite laws and how to craft victims’ cases accordingly. We know how to establish liability, which types of evidence to compile, what the legal procedures and time limits are, and how to refute any defenses the dog owner may try to use against you.
There are usually two defenses dog owners try to use in court when a victim files a dog bite lawsuit:
- They will either claim you were trespassing, or
- They will say that you provoked the attack.
If they can prove either to be true, it can affect your rights to compensation. However, we will be able to see these types of defenses coming and be prepared with proof and arguments to support your case.
Lawyers can also negotiate with the homeowner’s insurance company to ensure you get the full settlement amount to which you are entitled. You will need clear and thorough evidence that proves the extent of your injuries and all the ways the attack has affected your life. We will be able to help you create a comprehensive list of damages and gather testimonies from field experts to illustrate your injuries. In this way, you have a much better chance of winning a full and fair settlement.
What types of damages can I collect for a dog attack?
Dog attack injuries may require extensive medical treatments, hospitalization, and multiple reconstructive surgeries, all of which can be costly. Victims also have to deal with a loss of income while recovering, which adds even more financial strain into the mix. These are some primary reasons it is important to look into your legal options as early as possible after the attack.
You can recover a wide range of damages in a dog bite claim (usually paid by the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance company). Some of the things for which you can collect compensation include the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Future surgeries and treatments
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Counseling and other mental health treatments
- The effect of the attack on your relationships and career
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment in life
If you or your child recently suffered injuries in a dog attack in Silver Spring, we are here to help. Call DuBoff & Associates, Chartered today and discuss your situation with us. The initial meeting is free, and we will not bill you for our services unless we help you recover a settlement. Contact the law firm that cares today at 301-495-3131.