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Maryland Dog Bite Lawyer | Virginia Animal Attack Attorney

Have you been attacked by a pit bull dog in Maryland or Virginia? Did you know that the owners of animals such as dogs have a duty, in the event their animals have a prior propensity towards violence, to undertake safety measures to prevent future attacks or dog bites? Further, in Maryland, owners may be held strictly liable for harm caused by certain dangerous breeds of dogs.

Animal Attack Lawyers Ready to Assist You

If you have been injured an animal attack, you may be entitled to bring a claim for compensation. Call Bob Katz today for a free dog bite injury consultation. As a victim of someone else’s carelessness, you may have a right to recover compensation for your injuries. We are presently accepting dog bite cases in Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. Call us today at 1-888-540-2599.

Differences Between Dog Bite Laws in Maryland and Virginia

In the Maryland, D.C., and Virginia region, it is not uncommon for people to move their residence from one state to another. Likewise, many workers live in one state and commute to work in another. It is even possible for a resident to cross state lines while walking their dog in neighborhoods like Silver Spring or Takoma Park, which are near the D.C. border.

What many people fail to realize, is that personal injury laws are often very different from one state to another. Dog bite laws, for example, are different in Virginia than they are in Maryland and the District of Columbia. Where an owner lives or where a bite occurs may affect what law applies to the lawsuit. These differences can be very important to both dog owners and dog bite victims. Below we will discuss some of the main differences in dog bite law.

Dog Bite Liability in Maryland

Under Maryland law, an injured victim may be able to recover compensation under two theories of liability; negligence or strict liability.

Negligent Dog Bite Cases in Maryland

In Maryland, a claim for negligence may be made against a negligent dog owner or caretaker where the dog’s owner or caretaker knew or had reason to know of the animal’s vicious propensity and failed to take reasonable measures to protect others from being harmed by the animal. In this regard, the types of negligence can be various and can include failure to restrain the dog, failure to obey leash law requirements or using an improper manner of restraint (faulty yard fencing etc.)

Dog Bite Strict Liability in Maryland

Maryland Strict liability cases, on the other hand, usually arise from instances where the dog has a known dangerous propensity which has been ignored or mishandled by the animal’s owner. In these types of cases, regardless of whether the owner was negligent, animal owners and caretakers are strictly held responsible for any harm caused by their animals, regardless of the precautions taken. Owners of pit bulls, for example, are routinely held strictly liable in Maryland, when their dogs cause harm to plaintiffs. This is generally true regardless of the owner’s knowledge their dogs dangerous propensity. Maryland courts have repeatedly upheld such laws and this fact is given deference in legal statutes. In Tracy v. Solesky, for example, the Maryland Court of Appeals recently upheld imposing strict liability on dog owners for injuries caused by pit bulls and pit bull mixes.

Maryland Leash Laws

Although it has experienced significant changes in recent years, Maryland dog bite law currently hinges on whether the dog was on a leash at the time of the incident. Generally speaking:

On a Leash – If the dog bite occurred while the dog was on a leash or confined, this will create a rebuttable presumption that the owner knew or should have known that the dog was dangerous or violent. If the owner fails to rebut the presumption and the jury determines that the owner knew the dog was dangerous or violent, the owner will be liable for the injury or death.

Not on a Leash – Maryland dog bite law imposes strict liability on dog owners for personal injury or death caused by a dog of any breed while running at large.

Virginia Dog Bite Law

Virginia is an example of what is known as a “one bite state.” Under Virginia law, every dog gets one free bite before the owner becomes liable for damages caused by the dog. If the dog has previously bitten a person or a “companion animal,” such as another dog or cat, the owner will be liable for the second bite. An owner may also be liable if they are negligent or were breaking a law, such as a local leash ordinance. Butler v. Frieden, 208 Va. 352 (Va. 1967)

Virginia’s has some laws similar to Maryland. Dangerous Dog Bite Law is codified in the Virginia Rules under § 3.2-6540. Control of dangerous dogs; penalties, however, unlike Maryland, Virginia does not impose automatic strict liability for certain breeds of dogs. (i.e. Pit Bulls.)  Accordingly, you should consult with an attorney if you were bitten by a dangerous dog in Virginia.

District of Columbia Dog Bite Law

District of Columbia Code Section 1812 states: “If a dog injures a person while at large, lack of knowledge of the dog’s vicious propensity standing alone shall not absolve the owner from a finding of negligence.”

This means that if a dog is running loose and bites someone, the owner cannot win a lawsuit simply by arguing that they did not know the dog was dangerous. In general, dog bites lawsuits in Washington, D.C. are governed by the common law of negligence. The person who was bitten by the dog must prove that the dog owner owed them a duty, breached that duty, and that the breach caused them injury. Evidence that a dog was running at large can be offered as evidence that the owner was negligent.

Kinds of Injuries Caused by Dog Bites

The CDC has calculated that about 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year. Further, more than half of those bitten are children. One in five requires medical attention and in 2012, more than 27,000 individuals had to have reconstructive plastic surgery to repair injuries caused by a dangerous dog bite.

Most Common Injuries Resulting from Dog Bites:

  • Abrasions, lacerations
  • Punctures
  • Broken Bones
  • Scarring
  • Infections (Rabies)
  • Anxiety
  • Emotional trauma
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

How To Make a Dog Bite Injury Claim

1. Get prompt medical treatment. – Do not wait to seek medical care if you are injured. Frequently, bite injuries left untreated can result in serious infections, or even rabies.

2. Identify the animal and its owner – This is critical. If an accident happens in a public place or you don’t know the dog owner from your regular neighborhood, make sure you obtain identifying information from the owner so that a claim can be made later. Often a driver’s license is the best source of information in this regard.

3. Take photographs of the animal or the injury.

4. Obtain the name, phone number and address of any witness to the occurrence.

5. Report the incident promptly to your local animal control department.

6. Consider calling a lawyer. (When you call Bob Katz for a free consultation, you will speak with an attorney who can advise you as to, your specific legal rights as a dog bite victim. We will help you determine 1. who can be held accountable-owners, caretakers, landlords, homeowners associations; 2. what kind of compensation may be available to you; 3. what specific evidence should be preserved.

See Our Related Blog Posts

Update – New Dog Bite Law Passed! Dog Owners Liable For At Large Bites Regardless of Breed

Maryland Legislature Considers Changing Dog Bite Law

Why Should I Hire a Personal Injury Attorney in Maryland?

Read Some of Our Recent Client Reviews!

Fadie Mohammad
Fadie Mohammad
14:54 08 Jan 19
Worked with Sarah Treuhaft (Paralegal) when retained Bob Katz's office. Sarah was absolutely amazing to work with, she was very professional and prompt with everything she did. She would respond to any inquiries I had immediately and never hesitated to hop on the phone to clarify or assist with anything, regardless of how early or late it was. I definitely highly recommend her and this law office.
Kelly Kess Malone
Kelly Kess Malone
15:50 20 Nov 18
Very helpful paralegals and attorney assistants. Also informative on various types of cases. Reasonably priced for the work that they provide.
Brittany Peterson
Brittany Peterson
08:19 17 Nov 18
Had a very awesome experience fast settlements... Communication was a A+ ...Strongly recommend Mr.Katz. !!! Ms. Robin made me felt like family was always there when i needed her and when i had a question.
Yarnell Goodwin
Yarnell Goodwin
23:38 15 Nov 18
Got a little more settlement money than expected. Was provided great service and prompt responses. I greatly appreciate it!
Ashley Poole
Ashley Poole
01:05 08 Nov 18
Attorney Bob Katz and his staff are highly recommend. Customer Service was impeccable. Every phone call and email was responded to in a timely manner. Natalie Ulrich was very professional, helpful and thorough every step of the way, which resulted in a stress free experience. I will recommend this law firm to family and friends!
Tania Jefferson
Tania Jefferson
17:51 06 Nov 18
Customer service was A+. All questions were answered promptly and information was shared appropriately. Concerns were addressed and I was made aware of all updates on my case. I would whole heartedly recommend this firm.
edward Robinson
edward Robinson
03:00 06 Nov 18
I highly recommend Mr. Katz and his staff. They were friendly, compassionate and really showed they had their clients best interest at heart. There was never a time you called them they didn't respond or returned your calls and answer your questions.They took the worry, and stress and turn it into reassurance. They were diligent and just down right professional. My wife and I really thank God for allowing us to cross paths on a professional business experience. Ms. Rebecca Slatery is the most courteous, compassionate soul. We wish you all peace, love and blessings. Thank you for your service.
20:11 31 Oct 18
I decided to use this firm again for an accident I was involved in. As always they were professional and caring. Rebecca slattery was the paralegal assigned to my case and she was professional and kept me up to date with everything. I would recommend this firm to friends and family!
Cedric Jones
Cedric Jones
19:04 23 Oct 18
Erica Z is amazing with keeping you to date and staying communication with you during the entire process. Meghan Young was a wonderful lawyer made me feel extremely comfortable in the courtroom and she also fights for the best possible outcome for you..GREAT LAW FIRM
Nguyen Le
Nguyen Le
16:44 23 Oct 18
It was a great experience being taken care of by Rebecca Slattery and Meghan Young, they helped me resolve my case and were very courteous and professional. Highly recommend working with this law firm
Soun Gil
Soun Gil
21:35 17 Oct 18
Ms. Park helped me out through my whole accident process. She took her time with me and made sure I understood everything. I would recommend to her all of my friends if they were to get into any accident.
Yejin Chung
Yejin Chung
15:40 12 Oct 18
I highly recommend. My family’s experience with this office was great. Christina Franetovich was very helpful throughout the whole process, which made this experience less stressful. She responded to my questions immediately and made sure that I understood everything.
Claudette Pope
Claudette Pope
13:18 30 Aug 18
I was referred to Gordon & feindblatt in 2014 when my family was in an accident, Mr. Katz personally consulted with me by phone and he was very polite and professional, Mr. Carpuso, one of the litigation attorneys even came out to our home and went over our case with us, he made sure all of our needs was addressed and before he left our home that day I felt like we were old friends. that case was settled and I was very pleased, I have used this law firm twice since then and the results are always the same, I have nothing but great experiences with Gordon & Feindblatt the staff are courteous and professional and they get the job done but the one in particular that really stood out for me is Rebecca Slattery, she is truly a gem, she is so compassionate, she walked me through the entire process, she even checked up on me from time to time just to see how I was feeling and I really appreciated her kindness. I will use this law firm again and again for any future legal issue that may arise and I would highly recommend Gordon & Fiendblatt to friends, family and co-workers.
02:32 04 Aug 18
The lawyer who was initially handling my case parted ways with the company and I was assigned a new lawyer. This new lawyer was amazing! Christina Franetovich made me feel secure by double checking all the facts and notes in my case so that I was not worried during this transition. I was on disability from an a different accident while she was finalizing my case, and I had called and hounded her about the time frame of my settlement very frequently to the point that I felt guilty for calling so much. Christina was very sympathetic to my situation and assured me that she would do everything in her power to make sure the situation would be resolved quickly. She actually finalized my case before the time frame she had given me, was always very courteous and knowledgable on the phone, and I feel extremely lucky that she ended up handling my case because the previous lawyer was not as amazing with customer service as Christina. She also has a way of making you feel comfortable and builds incredible rapport quickly. I am going to highly recommend her to my friends and family. Thank you Christina!!!
Richard Hose
Richard Hose
02:26 27 Jun 18
On Feb 23, 2017 I was in a bad accident on the JFX. I had been rear end by another driver. Almost immediately I felt pressured by the other drivers insurance. Everything from wanting a recorded statement; to failing to acknowledge responsibility. No one would answer my questions, nor would anyone take responsibility. I was frustrated and overwhelmed with everyone from the towing company, to the repair shop, to the insurance company nightmare I just entered. I reached out to Attorney Robert Katz and I was assured they were here to help. He provided with some much needed information, and told me not to worry, Sarah his Paralegal would be in touch to help get things moving. Sarah reached out as expected and explained their process and walked me through what my expectations would be. She as well assured me they were here to help me navigate the obstacles. What Sarah really did was so much more than help. She took the stress and burden off my shoulders and assumed ownership for handling everything on my behalf. I knew what to expect, and I received regular updates throughout the entire process. Honestly, I received so much more than I anticipated. Some of the most frustrating items to chase after are medical records and hospital charges. While I was trying to recall events and timelines, she had already obtained my records and information. She made this process so painless. I truly cannot say enough about the exceptional service she provided. Many thanks for all your help. Sincerely, Richard Hose
Andrea Barajas
Andrea Barajas
15:13 16 May 18
My husband and I were in a car accident in August 2017. We contacted Bob Katz team for legal representation in our case. Kristen A. Turner was our paralegal and she was excellent. It took 9 months for us to receive our settlement and Kristen kept us updated throughout this entire process. She was very kind and patient as I happened to have several questions. She always answered my questions promptly and thoroughly. I would highly recommend this firm and Kristen if you are in need of legal assistance.
15:24 09 Feb 18
My experience here was great. My lawyer Rebecca was so professional and I love her personality. She handled my case well and kept me updated and made the process easy and always made me feel comfortable to call whenever I needed to know anything.
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