According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 4.5 million U.S. residents are bitten by dogs every year. Of those dog bite attacks, about 70% of them happen to children, and at least 25% of them need medical attention.

The physical and emotional scars from animal attacks do not go away overnight. Sometimes these scars remain with a dog bite attack victim for the rest of their life.

If you or a loved one have been injured and need the expertise of a dog bite attorney in the Gaithersburg or Rockville, MD area, call the team at Sussman & Simcox. The attorneys at our firm have a combined 40+ years of experience with dog bite cases and many other types of personal injury claims. We assist dog bite victims of all ages across Maryland and D.C. and would welcome the opportunity to review your case.

Common Dog Bite Attack Injuries

Common injuries from dog bite attacks we see include:

  • Permanent scarring or disfigurement requiring reconstructive plastic surgery
  • Bruising or puncture wound marks
  • Muscle and nerve damage
  • Broken bones
  • Treatment for rabies
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Occasionally, a dog bite wound may even result in death. Young children and elderly adults are most at risk of fatal dog bite attack injuries.

If the dog is not current on its vaccinations or its vaccination status is unknown, medical experts may require the victim to undergo rabies shots as a precautionary measure.

Common Consequences

Dog bite attack victims file personal injury claims to help cover the losses related to the attack. These include:

  • Medical expenses, including surgery, rehabilitation, and prescription medication
  • Anticipated future needs related to disfigurement or other disability
  • Lost wages during recovery or a parent’s lost wages while taking care of a child victim
  • Anticipated future loss of earning potential if the victim’s disability will affect their ability to work
  • Pain and suffering or emotional and psychological trauma
  • Funeral and burial costs (if the victim has passed away from their injuries)

Maryland’s “One Bite Rule” and How it Affects Dog Bite Cases

Dog owners have a responsibility to uphold the public’s safety. According to the Code of Maryland Section 3-1901, “The owner of a dog is liable for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that is caused by the dog, when the dog is running at large.” The only circumstances that would negate this responsibility are if the injured party was trespassing on the owner’s property, was attempting to commit a crime on the owner’s property or another type of criminal offense against the owner or another person, or if the person provoked the attack by teasing or abusing the dog.

Maryland generally has a “One Bite Rule” regarding injuries caused by dogs, allowing the owner to avoid liability if the dog has never previously been aggressive. Owners may be held liable if reasonable care is not taken to prevent aggressive dog behavior, especially if the dog has caused injuries or damages in the past.

Dog bite cases may include claims for both strict liability and negligence. According to the Code of Maryland Section 10-619, a dangerous dog is one that “without provocation has killed or inflicted severe injury on a person.” Once a dog has been classified as a dangerous dog, it is up to the owner to take special precautions to prevent further injuries or attacks, including dog muzzles and restraints, when out in public. Owners who fail to adhere to these rules may face both criminal consequences and civil liability for injuries inflicted by the dog.

Contact Sussman & Simcox for a Free Initial Consultation

If you or a loved one has been bitten or attacked by a dog in the state of Maryland, our experienced dog bite attorneys recommend you take the following actions immediately:

  • Seek medical help. Even if you believe your injuries are minor, it is vital that you be evaluated by a trained healthcare provider to prevent future complications and to document the incident.
  • Take photos of your dog bite injuries if you are able to do so. Photos taken from multiple angles over many days can prove to be valuable evidence of the harm you’ve suffered.
  • Keep your shoes and the clothing you were wearing at the time of the attack in a safe location. Bloodstains or ripped clothing document the severity of the attack.
  • Write down what you remember about the attack while it is still fresh in your mind.
  • File a police incident report or animal control report to document the attack.
  • Contact an experienced dog bite attorney to assess your case.

If you could use skilled representation from a dog bite attorney in the Gaithersburg or Rockville, MD area, contact Sussman & Simcox today for a free initial consultation. Our law firm specializes in personal injury lawsuits and helping clients reach settlements due to others’ negligence. We would be happy to evaluate your dog bite case to see how we may be of assistance with filing a personal injury claim.

Remember, it is always in your best interest to consult a knowledgeable attorney before speaking with the insurance companies to receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to for your injuries. When we represent a dog bite victim, we work behind the scenes to research the dog’s history to determine whether there is any known instance of aggressive behavior. We also work to establish whether there is insurance that would cover injuries caused by the dog, such as homeowners or renters insurance.