Whether you are bitten by a dog in Maryland or are the owner of a dog that allegedly attacked someone, you need an attorney who understands the state laws governing this type of tort liability. Maryland imposes strict liability for attacks by a dog that is running at large, regardless of whether the owner was negligent. But in other situations, there is room for argument about the reasonability of the owner’s conduct. Whichever side of the dispute you are on, the personal injury lawyers at Holzman & Associates in Baltimore will apply their deep experience to building a substantial case.
In Maryland, unless a dog is running loose when it bites someone, the attack creates a rebuttable presumption that the owner knew or should have known that the dog had vicious or dangerous propensities. That means that the burden is on the owner to prove lack of knowledge. Even when it is clear that the owner did not know, a jury can find that the lack of such knowledge was not reasonable.
If the dog is running at large, its owner is strictly liable for any injury, death or damage to any person, pet or property the dog causes, regardless of whether the owner knew or should have known of the dog’s vicious or dangerous propensities. However, there are exceptions to this rule where the victim was:
Moreover, Maryland adheres to a traditional contributory negligence rule. If the victim’s own negligence, such as ignoring a “beware the dog” sign, helped cause his or her injuries, the dog owner can avoid liability.
If you are bitten or otherwise injured in a dog attack, first seek medical treatment. Bites and lacerations can become infected if not treated, and it is still possible for a dog to have contracted rabies, which can be fatal to humans.
In addition, there are several things you should do as soon as possible to help build your case for damages against the dog’s owner:
When you do see a personal injury attorney, bring this evidence with you to your initial consultation. It can help the attorney build a stronger case for your damages.
Whether you were bitten or injured by a dog or must defend against such a claim, the attorneys of Holzman & Associates welcome the opportunity to sit down with you to determine how we can help. To schedule a free consultation at our Baltimore office, call us at 410-539-4222 or contact us online. We can also meet you at your home or hospital room if you prefer.