If you have experienced a dog bite, you are not alone. Nearly 1 in 74 (or 4.5 million) people will be bitten by a dog each year. As the most common type of animal bite in the U.S., dog bites account for 95% of bites seen in U.S. emergency rooms. Approximately 300,000 people who experience a dog bite seek emergency care and nearly 30,000 require some form of reconstructive surgery each year.
The physical, emotional, and even financial impact of a dog bit can be tremendous depending on the severity of the injury. Common complications of dog bites include serious infections, wound management, musculoskeletal damage, and even post-traumatic stress disorders. These effects can cost you time, energy, and money for a situation you ultimately were not responsible for.
Surprisingly, the majority of dog bites (as many as 60%) occur from a family or neighborhood pet, rather than a stray canine. Because most bites are caused by a domesticated animal, that means there is usually an owner who is responsible for the unfortunate incident. It can be somewhat complicated for plaintiffs to prove when seeking to cover lost damages. After you’ve been bitten and sought all necessary medical attention, you will need a team of legal experts to help make your case and understand what your dog bite settlement may be worth.
Legal Protections Relating to Dog Bites
To reduce the incidence of dog bites, Maryland passed personal injury laws that outline the dog owners’ responsibility for their pet’s behavior and the damages caused. Victims of dog bite injuries in Maryland can recover damages via two major legal pathways: negligence and strict liability.
Proving negligence is the longer-standing approach in dog bite legal matters. Historically, Maryland courts required the victim to prove that the owner knew, or should have known, that their dog was capable of or had previously behaved dangerously. Owners are expected to maintain control of their dogs. Whether ignoring a dog’s tendencies or not taking the proper precautions, the dog owner could be considered negligent and at fault for the incident. Negligence in Maryland can also include circumstances in which another law or ordinance was violated, such as having an unleashed dog in a public place.
In strict liability cases, plaintiffs are not required to prove negligence. Instead, they must prove the dog owner exposed others to a dangerous dog either knowingly or unknowingly. This may be done by showing that the dog had bit before..In addition, in Maryland it is also strict liability if the dog is running at large and attacks someone.
The Value of My Dog Bite Lawsuit
The average amount for a dog bite lawsuit has risen steadily over the years. Each claim is valued based on the unique circumstances surrounding the case. You and your legal team will consider existing or anticipated medical bills, lost wages, emotional damages, and other sources of pain or suffering. Typically, the dog owner’s homeowner or renters insurance policies provide dog bite coverage, unless specifically excluded. Often, these policies are capped at $100,000 to $300,000 with the dog owner responsible for any remaining balance.
Many firms and sources estimate average dog bite lawsuit settlements to range between $15,000 to $60,000. Despite the average settlement amount consistently increasing over time, these averages remain well below the capped amounts and may not represent the full damages experienced due to a dog bite.
However, Zirkin & Schmerling have had significant success with dog bite cases, having settled many claims for over $100,000 and some for as much as $500,000 or more., Our legal expertise has contributed to our dog bite claim successes and above-average settlement results. Through careful documentation and presentation of evidence and damages incurred, our team works to prove negligence or liability on behalf of the dog owner and to maximize your settlement.
Zirkin & Schmerling: Maryland Dog Bite Injury Lawyers
Being involved in a dog bite accident can be an extremely traumatic and emotional event. The physical and emotional toll can be long-lasting or even permanent. Though money can not fix all of these side effects, adequate financial compensation can help to create space and provide resources for your physical and psychological recovery. It can help support your quality of life when resulting in permanent changes.
Having an excellent and experienced team of attorneys, like Zirkin & Schmerling, can mean a difference of tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for your dog bite settlement. Our team is dedicated to supporting you and your quality of life after experiencing a dog bite injury by helping you receive your maximum compensation. Contact us today – 410-753-4611.