How Maryland’s Dog Bite Law Affects a Personal Injury Case

Maryland statute 3-1901 defines when a dog owner is liable for the death, injury or loss or property caused because of their biting someone. When a victim of a dog bite decides to sue the dog’s owners, it is not always as simple as how the law defines liability. For instance, the dog must be running at large at the time it bites a victim.

A Dog Owner May Not Be Liable for a Dog Bite Under Certain Circumstances

It is always important to discuss a case with a personal injury law firm owings mills md because the dog owner may not be responsible for the dog bite. This means the victim of a dog bite must pay their own expenses such as medical bills. A dog owner is not legally responsible if their dog bites a victim when the victim:

1. Attempted to or actually trespassed on the owner’s property
2. Attempted to or actually committed another crime other than trespassing on the owner’s property.
3. Teased, abused, provoked or tormented the owner’s dog.
4. Attempted to or actually committed a crime against another person.

Contributory Negligence in a Dog Bite Injury Case

Section 3-1901 also defines a dog bite as strict liability. Strict liability means the dog owner is legally responsible for the dog bite injury even if they didn’t know the dog would act aggressively. In addition, they are still responsible if the dog owner took reasonable steps to prevent an injury from happening.

However, a dog owner does have a defense they can use in a dog bite personal injury case. It’s called contributory negligence rule. This rule holds the dog bite victim responsible for their actions before or during their interactions with the dog. For instance, if the victim entered an area marked with posting about a dog, they may not collect all the damages available. Instead, they may have to pay for part of their damages. The dog owner can claim the victim did something to cause their dog to bite them. That’s why having a personal injury lawyer is vital to winning or settling a dog injury case. Sometimes a dog owner will claim contributory negligence defense even when they are strictly liable for their dog biting a victim.

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Filing Personal Injury Dog Bite Claim in Maryland

A victim of a dog bite can receive various damages such as lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering. If a victim of a dog bite is thinking about filing a claim, it’s imperative that it is done before the statute of limitation ends. Statute of limitations refers to the time limit the state gives a victim to file their personal injury case.

It’s three years from the date of the dog bite. So, it is best to file the case before that three-year period ends. If the statute of limitation ends, the victim can’t sue the dog owner. They can’t settle the claim either. The victim loses all rights to sue or settle their dog bite claim.