If you or a loved one has been injured, you deserve a firm with an impressive track record of winning dog bite cases under Maryland law. It’s important to be represented by the best Baltimore Dog Bite Accident Lawyer.
DOG BITE SETTLEMENT RESULTS
Contact our law firm today about your personal injury case and speak with a Baltimore dog bite lawyer to schedule a free consultation so we can help you navigate the complex legal process.
How Can the Baltimore Dog Bite Lawyer Help Victims of Dog Bites?
You may be surprised that Maryland law doesn’t always find dog owners to be liable for dog bites. . Certain circumstances must be proven for the owner to be held legally and financially responsible for your physical pain and injuries.
Your dog bite injury lawyer may be able to establish a dog owner’s liability if you can prove that the owner failed to protect innocent human beings from dog bites.
Some states have a one-bite rule where dog owners should not bear responsibility for attacks if you can’t prove the dog’s owner knew about their dog’s potential for violence or aggression beforehand.
Maryland does not practice the one-bite rule, and dog owners can be held liable even if it is the first time their dog bites someone.
Other parties responsible for physical injuries caused by a pit bull or other aggressive dog may include:
- A pet sitter or caretaker
- The parents of a minor dog owner
- Property owners
Maryland dog bite law may hold your landlord responsible for dog bites on their property if you are a renter. In most cases, you must prove that the landlord knew that a dangerous dog lived on their property, could have done something about it, and failed to do so.
Wondering who should be held responsible for your emotional distress and injuries? Learn more. Please read our full article for more information about landlord liability and strict liability laws.
$500,000 Dog Bite Settlement
Our client had bites on her legs and was pregnant when the attack occurred. Originally the insurance company offered substantially less and stated that they would never offer their policy limits of $500,000. Zirkin and Schmerling Law wrote the insurance company a letter detailing how they would take the case to trial and win a larger verdict. Three days later the insurance company called and offered their policy limits of $500,000.
Will The Insurance Company Help Me?
You may feel pressured by your insurance company or the dog’s owner’s insurance coverage to settle the case quickly and accept a modest payment for injuries caused.
Before discussing your options with a Baltimore dog bite lawyer, never accept any payment for your injury or personal property damage. Doing so could end your ability to seek the settlement you need to recover from the dog attack.
How Long Do You Have to File Baltimore Dog Bite Claims?
The statute of limitations in Maryland for personal injury cases is up to three years. If you fail to bring dog bite lawsuits within those three years, you likely won’t be able to recover the fees and costs resulting from the injury and medical treatment.
However, there is an exception to this Maryland rule. Children bitten by dogs have three years past their 18th birthday, or up to the age of 21, to file for a dog bite settlement.
How To Choose a Dog Attack Lawyer Who Will Fight For Your Rights
Experience. While an attorney of any background can defend you in court, an experienced attorney will present the best case for dog bite settlements. Does the attorney have experience and familiarity with claims and Maryland’s general negligence laws?
Results. An experienced attorney has a solid history of getting positive results for their clients. They should be able to present past cases, verdicts they attained, and the average settlement amount for clients involved in a dog bite claim.
Reputation. Referrals from outside sources speak louder than any attorney’s sales pitch. Talk to people you know who have used various attorneys. Ask your veterinarian, local animal control department, or someone you trust.
What Should Dog Bite Victims Do After Dog Bites?
Follow these steps after being bitten by a dog to protect your health and legal rights:
- Get medical attention for bite injuries.
- Document your injuries and the scene.
- Get contact information.
- Contact your local police department.
- Contact a Maryland personal injury attorney.
Your Baltimore dog bite lawyer can advise you on a wide range of legal matters related to dog bite accidents. They understand compensation for future medical expenses, emotional distress, legal options, owner’s liability, and the hidden risks of sharing details of your dog attack on social media.
Our attorneys know the standards of reasonable care and when a situation may be considered a criminal offense.
What if the Dog is a Pit Bull or Other Aggressive Dog Breed?
If you are bitten by a Pit Bull, German Shepherd or other breeds known for biting, you may wonder if there are any laws about owning a particular breed. Since 2014, Maryland has operated according to “breed neutrality,” meaning that no dog breeds, including pit bulls, are automatically considered dangerous.
The strict liability laws focus more on the circumstances of the dog attack, the damage done, and the actions of the dog’s owner rather than whether the bite was caused by pit bulls.
What Are The Most Common Injuries From Dog Bites?
The most common injuries include lacerations and broken bones. These may come directly from dog bites or being knocked down during the attack.
The age of the victim may determine the recovery rate and scar tissue. Older adults may be at a higher disposition to suffer broken bones. Either way, there can be pain and suffering, including emotional damage that lasts after the attack or becomes a lifelong struggle for dog bite victims.
Here are a few common personal injuries when pit bulls or other dogs bite people:
- Abrasions: Superficial scrapes or skin rubbing.
- Laceration: Deep cuts or tears in the skin.
- Puncture: Puncture wounds occur when the dog’s teeth pierce the skin.
- Infection: Dogs mouths are filled with bacteria and 10 to 15% of dog attacks lead to infections. Preventative treatment based on infectious disease control protocols is essential.
- Rabies: Owners should be able to provide the dog’s vaccination history.
- Crushing injuries: These aren’t always visible from the outside, and you will need a medical evaluation to determine the extent of injury from dogs.
- Avulsion: Avulsion refers to tearing skin or tissue away from the body.
- Scarring: Scarring may occur directly from the wound or procedures victims undergo after dog attacks.
- Nerve Damage: Depending on the location and depth of the wound, it is possible to experience permanent or temporary nerve damage, often requiring physical therapy.
- Traumatic brain injury:TBIs, are serious injuries stemming from a blow to the head that results in a disruption in normal brain function, leading to high rehabilitation costs.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Dog attacks can trigger PTSD. Symptoms include intrusive memories, avoidance, negative mood swings, guilt, irrational thoughts and fears, recurring nightmares, loss of sleep, and memory problems.
- Death: In the past 15 years, more than 470 Americans have died due to a dog’s attack.
What Types of Compensation are Awarded in Dog Bite Cases?
- Economic damages: You may be awarded medical costs, lost wages, and other costs explicitly related to your recovery.
- Non-economic damages: This includes compensation for your pain and suffering, emotional trauma, plus the damage to the quality of your life since the dog bite injury according to the state dog bite laws.
- Punitive damages: Punitive damages may occur as part of the settlement if the owner is reckless. An example of recklessness might be training a dog to fight and having that dog present with children or situations where harm could come to others.
Are There Any Limits to Pit Bull or Other Breed Bite Damages?
There are no restrictions in Maryland for economic damages. According to Maryland dog bite laws, “fair, reasonable, and necessarily incurred” monetary damages, including medical expenses, future medical costs, and lost wages, can be awarded.
However, maximum compensation for non-economic damages is adjusted yearly for the cost of living.
What Happens to the Dog if a Claim is Filed Against Dog Owners?
A civil lawsuit does not determine the future of dogs and is primarily focused on the injury event, its costs, and damages. As the victim, you can file a claim and contact Animal Control to establish a recorded history of the animal’s behavior. The lawsuit also helps document the dangerous event and warns against future possibilities.
Due to the dog bite lawsuit, Animal Control may require that in the future, dog owners use a muzzle when the dog is in public or undergoes training.
Is it Possible That I Won’t Receive Compensation?
Everyone suffering after dog attacks can seek compensation, but you have to overcome the issues of who is at fault, what is the case worth, and is there money to pay for the injuries and pain and suffering.While dog owners and landlords are responsible for some dog attacks according to Maryland dog bite law, there are a few defenses that they can bring up.
In settlements, the dog owner is not held strictly liable if the injured person was:
- Trespassing or attempting to trespass onto the owner’s property where the dog was located.
- Committing or attempting to commit a crime on the property.
- Committing or attempting to commit a crime against another person.
- Purposefully provoking, abusing, teasing, or tormenting dogs.
Zirkin & Schmerling Law Firm: Baltimore Dog Bite Accident Lawyer
An excellent and experienced team of personal injury 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 recover compensation. We can even help you with a car accident case, personal injury case, and more. Contact us today – 410-753-4611.