Most people don't expect to be the victim of a serious dog bite that calls for them to engage the services of a personal injury lawyer. Unfortunately, the behavior of some dogs can unexpectedly result in a serious dog bite injury. These injuries can require substantial medical care and sometimes necessitate reconstructive surgery. If you or someone you care about has been injured by a dog bite call Attorney William A. Stavros, as soon as you are able, to set up a free consultation.
The Law Offices of William A. Stavros, LLC has two locations to serve you. The Baltimore County office is located in Towson and the Eastern Shore office is located in Queen Anne's County, on Lawyers Row in Centreville. Call (410) 825-3300 in the Baltimore Metropolitan Area or (410) 739-0794 on the Eastern Shore.What Should I Do If I Have the Misfortune to Be Attacked by a Dog and Wish to Pursue a Claim?
After a dog bite injury, getting to an emergency room or urgent care facility as quickly as possible is almost always the safest course of action. Obtaining the identity and contact information of the dog's owner, however, will be necessary to making any legal claim for compensation of your injuries.How Should I Go About Pursuing a Dog Bite Claim and Who Will Pay for the Damages?
As soon as urgent medical considerations have been adequately addressed you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help guide you through the complex process of pursuing your dog bite case. A common issue that arises in dog bite claims is ascertaining the presence, or absence, of liability insurance to pay for your claim. Many homeowners will have homeowner's insurance policies that includes coverage for injuries resulting from the owner's negligence. This coverage often includes coverage for dog bite injuries. However, many dog owners, especially renters, are not covered by any liability insurance. Unless a renter has renter's insurance (which provides liability coverage similar to that of a homeowner's insurance policy) there will likely be no liability insurance applicable to the dog bite victim's claim. The absence of liability insurance on the part of the dog owner does not necessarily preclude the possibility of obtaining financial compensation, but it often complicates matters.When Can a Dog Owner Be Liable for Injuries?
In April of 2014 a new law was passed in Maryland regarding evidence in dog-bite cases. That law provides that when an owner's dog causes an injury to another person it raises a rebuttable presumption that the owner of the dog knew or should have known that the dog had vicious or dangerous propensities. This means that an injured party can assert a claim against a dog owner seeking damages for a dog bite, even though the victim has no information with which to prove that the dog actually had vicious or dangerous propensities. However, this in no way guarantees the successful outcome of any claim as the owner is permitted to offer affirmative evidence to show that, in fact, the dog did not have such propensities. In a contested case, it is then up to a judge and/or a jury, depending on the issues presented, to decide whether the Plaintiff/Victim is entitled to damages.
County and municipal codes also often have sections containing regulations related to animals. There can be language in some of these codes imposing strict liability on the owner of the biting dog. Strict liability, in general, makes the party at fault automatically liable to the victim. However, the dog owner is still able to assert defenses such as contributory negligence or assumption of the risk; and if successful the dog owner could still escape responsibility for the bite.
Of course there are many other complex factors that go into pursuing a dog bite claim. An experienced personal injury lawyer can discuss these matters with you and how best to proceed. Call as soon as possible at (410) 825-3300 or (410) 739-0794 as there are hard deadlines in pursuing such cases.