The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that of the 4.7 million Americans who suffer a dog bite injury each year, more than half are children. While many people fear unknown dogs that run at large, few people realize that more than half of all dog bites happen in the home. Your own dog may be just as likely to bite as a dog belonging to a stranger. The most important step you can take to preventing dog bites is to educate your family, especially young children, about how to interact with dogs.
At Cohen & Dwin, our Maryland dog bite lawyers understand the complex issues involved in dog bite cases. Please contact Cohen & Dwin online or by calling (800) 692-2500 if you or your child has been bitten by a dog. Even if you aren’t sure if the dog’s owner is liable, we can fully explain your rights and find out if you may be able to collect compensation.
Children and Dogs
Because of their small stature, children are more likely to be bitten in the face, neck, and head. About half the victims of fatal dog attacks are children under 14. Even minor injuries resulting from dog bites can leave children with deep emotional scars and trauma. Scaring and disfigurement can add to the psychological impacts. In 2011, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that more than 29,000 reconstructive procedures were performed as the result of injuries caused by dog bites.
(800) 692-2500 to learn how our Baltimore dog bite attorneys can help" src="/sites/www.law-help.com/files/Dog%20Bite%20Attorney.jpg" style="height: 200px; width: 300px; border-width: 5px; border-style: solid; margin-top: 5px; margin-bottom: 5px; float: right;" />Tip to Avoid Attacks
- Never leave a baby or small child unsupervised with a dog—even your own family pet.
- Don't run past a dog as this may trigger the dog's natural instinct to chase and catch you.
- Never approach a dog you don’t know, especially if it’s tied up or confined.
- Don't disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating or caring for puppies.
- Obtain permission from a dog’s owner before petting or touching it.
- Allow the dog to sniff you before touching it
- Avoid touching a dog on the top of the head as this may seem threatening to the dog, instead, pet under the chin or the side of the head.
- If a dog is displaying aggressive or threatening body language, try to place an inanimate object between yourself and the dog, or get away into a car or building.
Costs of Dog Attacks
The costs of dog attacks can be staggering. In 2013, dog bite claims accounted for 1/3 of all homeowner’s insurance claims. Together, victims of dog attacks suffer over $1 billion in monetary losses annually, and a 2010 study showed that hospital stays related to dog attacks were about 50% more expensive than an average injury-related hospital stay.
Maryland Dog Bite Laws
Our Maryland dog bite attorneys have handled many cases around the state. Maryland operates under a fault system for dog bites, meaning that the owner of the dog is liable only if certain circumstances are met. Under Maryland dog bite law, an owner can be deemed responsible for their dog’s actions in two scenarios:
- Strict Liability - If the owner knew that the dog was likely to hurt someone. For example, if the dog had bitten anyone before or displayed threatening behavior toward humans. Due to the court decision in Tracey v. Solesky, all pit bulls are presumed to be dangerous in Maryland, so owning a pit bull now carries a very high level of responsibility.
- Negligence – If the owner doesn’t’ properly control their dog in a situation where it could reasonably be expected that a bite could occur, they may be found to be responsible due to negligence. Violations of leash laws often fall under this scenario, even if a dog has no history of aggressive behavior.
When to Call a Dog Bite Attorney
Under Maryland dog bite law, each case is unique and is decided on its particular circumstances. Determination of liability in these cases can be a highly complex matter. Talking to our Maryland dog bite lawyers is the first step to finding out if you have a valid case. If your child has been bitten, please contact our dog bite attorneys right away so we can begin investigating your claim.