Dogs are amazing creatures except that they can become unruly and inflict mild to severe injuries with their bites. As an unsuspecting victim, a dog bite can be excruciating and traumatic. It can also leave permanent scars on the victim’s skin. This is not to talk of the skyrocketing medical bills and wasted long hours you’d have to spend in recovery.
In America, and Maryland in particular, dog bite cases are an increasingly reoccurring phenomenon. Many of the victims are children who become prone to fear of dogs as they grow older.
This harsh reality incites two questions. First, how dedicated is Maryland in ensuring that dog owners don’t fail in their duty to control their pets? Secondly, can victims get compensation for dog bite injuries in the state? This article would answer these questions and more.
All You Need to Know About Dog Bite Injury Compensation in Maryland
Maryland has a dog bite law that tries to lessen dog bite cases by imposing dog control responsibility on dog owners. Dog owners are expected to monitor their dogs and ensure that it poses no threat to public safety in public places. When dog owners fail to perform this duty, they’re liable to pay compensation for any injury the dog causes to another.
So, yes, you can get compensation for a dog bite in Maryland. In Maryland, the liability of a dog owner to pay damages for injuries is based on negligence and strict liability. If it can be shown that the dog owner’s failure in controlling his dog led to the dog bite, the dog owner would be held responsible.
The strict liability rule means that in some cases, the dog owner would still be liable even if he didn’t know that the dog could cause harm. It also means that the claimant doesn’t need to prove the dog owners’ negligence in the event of a lawsuit. He also doesn’t need to prove that the dog had a propensity to injure. Once it has been established that the defendant’s dog bit the claimant, the defendant is held strictly liable for damages.
Legal Defences for Dog Bite Claims in Maryland
If a dog bite claim isn’t categorized under the strict liability rule, the defendant has several defenses available to him. They include –
- Contributory Negligence:
If the defendant can show in the slightest that the victim’s negligence contributed to the dog bite, the claim may fail. For example, if the victim was found to have poked the dog or instigated the bite somehow, his compensation claim will die a natural death.
Trespassers are not entitled to compensation for dog bite injuries that occurred in the course of their trespassing. A trespasser is anyone who gains entry into a property or premises without the owner’s permission. A dog owner’s duty of care to control his dog isn’t extended to protecting trespassers.
- Non-adherence to Warnings
Sometimes, the dog owner may have warned the claimant to stay away from the dog. In the case where the claimant refused to adhere to such instructions, the dog owner would not be held liable for dog bite damages.
It is important to note, at this point, that Maryland is not a one-bite state. As such, dog owners would not be allowed to rely on the defense that the case is their dog’s first bite. Regardless of whether the dog had bitten someone previously or not, the dog owner would be held liable for his negligence.
How Much Compensation Can I Claim for a Dog Bite Injury in Maryland?
The amount of compensation to be awarded to the claimant depends on a lot of factors. For example, a dog bite victim who suffered permanent disability would get higher compensation than a victim with just a small scar.
Generally, though, dog bites have high settlement ranges. Depending on the severity of the case, the average compensation is between $15 to $ 30,000.
Hire a Maryland Dog Bite Attorney to Help You!
No one looks forward to a dog bite. But life happens, and anyone can become a dog bite victim in the twinkle of an eye. If you’re a victim or know someone who was bitten by another’s dog in Maryland, contact us at Pinder Plotkin LLC.
At Pinder Plotkin LLC, we are expert personal injury liability lawyers and have successfully handled several dog bite cases. We will ensure that you get full compensation for your dog bite injuries and are ready to answer any questions that you might have.