Need a Baltimore dog bite lawyer? If you have sustained injuries after being attacked by an animal, you could be entitled to file a claim for compensation. Contact Pinder Plotkin today for your dog bite injury consultation. You don’t have to worry about payment since it’s free.
You may have the right to recover compensation for your injuries after being the victim of the carelessness of somebody else. Our Baltimore injury lawyers are currently accepting dog bite cases throughout Maryland. Get in touch with us today by calling (410) 525-5337.
Why Hire a Baltimore Dog Bite Lawyer?
Dog bite cases aren’t the same as vehicle accident cases since the proof requirements are considerably different. The investigation, therefore, has to be done in a timely fashion and by a lawyer with a good understanding of what’s required to prove “knowledge” in case the bite doesn’t involve a pit bull.
Insurance adjusters typically offer about 20 percent of the claim’s value. It thus means that even after you have paid expenses and a lawyer’s fee, you will still have a considerably higher recovery if you retain an experienced dog bite lawyer.
Keep in mind that retaining a dog bite lawyer isn’t the same thing as suing. Experienced dog bite attorneys know how to present cases to insurance companies to ensure that claims are resolved without necessarily going to court. Top personal injury lawyers such as Pinder Plotkin are actually able to settle 98 percent of cases without the need for a trial.
The other major advantage of hiring an experienced dog bite attorney is that the law firm can use its own money to ensure that the claim is properly investigated. For instance, in dog bite cases, Pinder Plotkin advances money to secure copies of medical billings and evidence, hire a photographer to take photographs of the victim, hire an investigator to learn the attacking dog’s history, and possibly even hire an expert or consultant to review the medical evidence.
Lastly, third parties, i.e. health insurance are responsible for paying some of the dog bite victim’s bills. Pinder Plotkin’s paralegals and lawyers can negotiate with the said third parties to ensure that those bills ae reduced.
How Are Dog Bite Cases Proven?
The laws that surround dog bites tend to be complex and aren’t as straightforward as you might assume. The attorney has to establish that an individual or corporation is liable for the attack. A homeowners’ insurance policy or other similar insurance cover is where compensation is usually obtained.
Establishing liability is in some cases as simple as showing that the individual owns a breed of dog that’s deemed as dangerous, such as a pit bull. If the dog has attacked somebody in the past, establishing liability is easier; the owner ought to have known of the danger posed by the animal.
Besides pit bulls, there are other breeds with a reputation for being involved in dog attacks such as Jack Russel Terriers and Cocker Spaniels.
To recover in a Maryland dog bite claim, the dog bite lawyer can prove knowledge using circumstantial evidence. Facts that can be used for inferring knowledge of the dangerousness on the dog owner’s part include evidence of:
- The dog always being kept in an enclosure
- The dog jumping on those getting into the enclosure
- The dog being excited easily
- The enclosed dog running up and down the fence
- The enclosed dog growling
Our lawyers are also able to prove liability by investigating the dog’s owner. Investigations are often used to reveal improper:
- Dog training
- Dog handling
- Commands taught to the dog (such as violent commands)
A dog bite lawyer has to do the following to prove liability:
- Asking the owner about the history of the dog
- Talking to neighbors as well as other potential witnesses
- Noting down the circumstances of the injury including drawing diagrams
- Obtaining the dog’s medical history
- Obtaining records from animal control regarding the history of the dog
- Obtaining police reports
- Obtaining training/obedience records if available
- Obtaining medical and ambulance records
- Hiring an expert
- Getting statements from all witnesses without delay
- Taking photos of the injuries
Are There Leash Laws in Maryland?
Maryland has experienced significant changes in recent years, but the current bite law hinges on whether or not the dog was on a leash when the incident occurred. Generally speaking:
On a Leash
If the dog bite happened when the dog was confined or on a leash, this will create a rebuttable presumption of the owner’s knowledge of their dog being either violent or dangerous. In case the owner does not rebut the presumption and it’s determined by the jury that the owner knew that the dog was violent or dangerous, the owner will be liable for the injury or fatality.
Not on a Leash
The dog bite law in Maryland imposes strict liability on dog owners for personal injuries or fatalities caused by any dog breed while running at large.
What Types of Injuries Are Most Common in Dog Bite Cases?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 4.5 million people in the United States are bitten by dogs every year and 1 in 5 of the bites requiring medical attention. Most victims of dog bites are actually children. A study undertaken back in 2006 revealed that 70 percent of dog attacks actually happened to children of 11 years and below. In 2011, however, the number of adult victims actually doubled that of child victims.
The injury is usually so extensive in some cases that reconstructive surgery is sometimes needed and may leave a dog bite victim either permanently disfigured or with permanent scars. Other common injuries that we’ve seen sustained from dog attacks in Maryland include:
- Eye damage
- Bruises and puncture wounds from teeth
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injury
- Brain/head injury
Expenses paid as a result of dog bites are in excess of $1 billion annually. Each year, there are more than 350,000 victims of dog bites that seek medical attention in emergency rooms with approximately 850,000 seeking medical attention outside of the hospital. Approximately, 15,000 of dog bite victims recover for their injuries each year.
Dogsbite.org reported 23 fatal dog attacks in 2008. Pit bulls were responsible for 65 percent of those. Pit bulls also comprise 5 percent of the dog population in the United States.
What Steps Should I Follow When Making a Dog Bite Claim?
1. Get prompt medical treatment: You shouldn’t wait to seek medical care if you have sustained injuries. Bite injuries that are left untreated often result in serious infections or even rabies.
2. Identify the dog and the owner: This is a very important step. If the accident happened in a public place or you don’t know the owner of the dog from your neighborhood, ensure that you obtain identifying information from the owner to allow you to make a claim later. A driver’s license is usually the best information source in this regard.
3. Take photos of the injury or the animal.
4. Obtain the name, phone number, and address of any witness to the incident.
5. Report the incident without delay to the local animal control department.
Get in touch with a trusted Baltimore dog bite lawyer, we will help you determine the following:
- Who can be held liable i.e. caretakers, owners, homeowners’ associations, landlords, etc.
- What kind of compensation may be available to you
- What specific evidence needs to be preserved.
Contact Our Experienced Dog Bite Attorneys Today!
Pinder Plotkin represents victims of dog bites in Baltimore on a contingency fee basis, which means that no “upfront charges” are sought from the victim. Contact us today or use the online form provided to schedule your Free Consultation.