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Dog Attacks / Bites

Many people own pets (most commonly dogs) and most people, for good and deserved reason, treat their pets as members of the family. While dogs are loyal and excellent companions, they are still animals with instincts and defensive behaviors unlike that of a person. Dogs can attack or bite a person for many reasons, including for protection or out of fear. If a dog was neglected or abused, it can often cause the dog to become aggressive. Age can also affect a dog’s behavior and level of aggression. Because of their curious and trusting nature, children are at a higher risk for falling victim to dog attacks. Often, dog owners unintentionally create or facilitate situations that increase the dangers of their dog’s attacking someone. However, it is only reasonable that the owner is held liable when their dog causes personal injury to another party.

Maryland statutory law holds a dog owner strictly liable if the owner’s dog attacks someone while it is “at large” (the term is not defined but most likely means off the owner’s property and off a leash), or if an owner of a dog that attacks someone cannot prove that he neither knew or should have known that his dog had vicious propensities. In dog attacks not falling under any of the above circumstances, victims must prove that the dog owner (or another person against who a claim is made, i.e., landlords) knew or should have known of the dog’s vicious or aggressive propensities and failed to use reasonable care to prevent the dog from harming someone. Defenses against a claim brought by a victim of a dog attack include if the victim was committing a crime at the time of the attack; if the victim was trespassing on the owner’s property; if a victim provokes the dog; or if the victim’s own negligence caused or contributed to the attack and injury.

In the District of Columbia, a victim must show that that the dog was “at large” when it attacked, or that the dog owner knew or should have known of their dog’s vicious or aggressive propensities and failed to use reasonable care to prevent the dog from harming someone. Defenses against a claim brought by a victim of a dog attack are similar to those in Maryland.

A dog bite or attack can be an extremely traumatic event. A victim can claim pain and suffering (including shock, fear and trauma), medical expenses, permanent injury (from scarring or emotional trauma) and lost wages.

Contact an Experienced Dog Bite Attorney in Rockville, Maryland

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog attack, contact the attorneys at Spigelman & Cecere, LLC in Rockville, Maryland so that we can begin protecting your rights as soon as possible. Call our office at (301) 948-6363 for your free case evaluation.

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