Dog Bite Injuries
Almost 1,000 people every day seek emergency treatment for a dog bite injury. Injuries can range from minor to life-threatening. In some cases, dog bite injuries can lead to death. However, even a minor dog bite injury can lead to more serious harm if it becomes infected. Dog owners rarely take full responsibility if their dog bites someone, trying to blame it on the victim. However, if you or your child is injured by a dog bite, you may have a claim for damages to cover your medical bills, pain, and suffering.
Dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years. They are often referred to as ‘man's best friend.' Even if most people consider their dog as part of the family, it is still an animal with sharp teeth and powerful jaws. This is why dog bite injuries are so common in Maryland and across the country.
Maryland has a strict liability law for dog bite injuries. Under Maryland Code §3–1901, “in an action against an owner of a dog for damages for personal injury or death caused by the dog, evidence that the dog caused the personal injury or death creates a rebuttable presumption that the owner knew or should have known that the dog had vicious or dangerous propensities.”
This essentially means that a dog is presumably dangerous because of the fact that they caused an injury or death. Additionally, if a dog is running loose, the owner is responsible for any injury, death or damages caused by the dog. However, Maryland is also a state that generally bars recovery if the injured individual was partly responsible for the injury. This includes if the injured individual was teasing, abusing, or provoking the dog, or if they were trespassing on the owner's property.
Aggressive Dog Breeds
Some dog breeds, like pit bulls, have a reputation for being dangerous animals. Larger dogs may have the physical strength and ability to inflict more serious bites, causing disfiguring injury or death. However, any dog breed can be involved in a dog biting incident. According to a survey of dog bite studies by the American Veterinary Medical Association, breeds that are found to be more highly represented in biting incidents include: German Shepherd, mixed breed, pit bull types Rottweiler, Jack Russell Terriers Chow Chow, Spaniel, Collie, Saint Bernard, and Labrador Retriever.
Another study found that small to medium-sized dogs were more aggressive towards people. This included collies, toy breeds, spaniels, Lhasa Apso, and Shih Tsu. A study in Canada found that these breeds were more likely to bite. However, even small dogs can inflict serious injuries, especially when the victim is a child.
There are a number of other factors that may be more representative about why dogs bite and when. Breed is not the only factor. Other factors relating to dog bite propensity include training method, care of the dog, sex of the dog, neutering status, the individual who is injured, and environment.
Dog Bite Injuries
Some dogs are unfortunately trained to be aggressive. Dog owners may train their animals to intimidate others, fight other dogs, and encourage aggressive behavior. When these dogs get loose, it may come as no surprise that the dog bites an unsuspecting individual. However, most dog bites injuries involve ordinary pet dogs that are well-cared for.
Most dog bites occur on the hand. It may involve a child reaching out to pet a dog, or the dog going after food in a person's hand. Hand injuries can be serious, and in some cases, involve permanent damage. Dog bites can deeply penetrate the skin of the hand, injuring ligaments and nerves. However, one of the biggest concerns after a bite injury involves infections.
Some dog bite injuries require hospitalization due to subsequent infection. A bite may press bacteria deep into the bones, joints, or soft tissue of the hand, allowing a serious infection to develop. Any bite injury should be addressed by a doctor. Fast care and proper cleaning of the bite will reduce the chance of infection, and may prevent a more serious injury.
Dog Bite Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one was injured in a dog bite accident, you should talk to an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney about getting compensation for your lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. Your personal injury attorney will help guide you through the claims process and advise you of your options. You should not have to suffer because of a dog owner's negligence. Do not hesitate to call Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation.