Dog Bite Injury Claims: What are Your Rights?

Maryland law specifically details the basis for dog bite injury claims. Here, the legal experts at Sachse Law explain Maryland dog bite statute.

Statute of Limitations

Victims of dog bites have the right to bring their case to court within three years of their injury. After three years, it is highly unlikely a suit can be filed, so it is critical to act with urgency soon after the injury is sustained.

Changes to Maryland Dog Bite Law

In 2014, Maryland statute concerning dog bites was altered to include a “running at large” clause. If a dog is “running at large,” meaning they are on public or private property and not restrained by a leash or harness, and the dog bites or otherwise injures an individual, the owner of the dog is to be held “strictly liable” for the injuries. “Strictly liable” means that no negligence or fault on the part of the owner needs to be shown to recoup damages.

2014 was also marked by former Governor O’Malley’s signing of HB 73/SB 247, which revokes the “inherently dangerous” status of pit bull terrier breeds in Maryland. Now, all dogs, regardless of breed, are viewed equally in terms of potential for violence, and removes liability from landlords, unless they knew or had reason to believe a dog was violent and dangerous.

Negligence and Other Prosecutorial Claims

If a dog is not running at large and physically harms another individual, the injured party has the right to file suit if they are able to prove that the dog owner intended for the dog to cause harm, knew or should have known that their dog had dangerous or vicious propensities, or that the owner’s lack of reasonable care caused the dog bite to occur.

Common Defenses in Dog Bite Cases

It is important for victims of dog bites to understand potential defenses the dog owner’s attorney may raise, so they can adequately prepare their claim. If the victim was bitten by a dog while on the owner’s property, and was not given permission to be there, the victim will not be allowed to collect compensation.

Furthermore, Maryland is a contributory negligence state, and as such victims of dog bites must be in no way be found negligent in the event. If the victim in any way contributed to the bite or attack, they are not allowed to collect damages.

How Can Doug T. Sachse Help?

Due to contributory negligence, among other factors, dog bite cases can be difficult to prosecute. However, we firmly believe that every victim of a dog bite or attack deserves just compensation for their injuries. Dog bites can cause disease, infection, major injury or even death, not to mention serious emotional trauma. At Sachse Law, our dedicated attorneys work hard to ensure you receive your day in court, and that the full letter of the law is held against the defendant. As quick action is paramount in civil cases, if you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite or attack, we urge you to contact us today.

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