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Understanding your legal protections if your dog bites someone

On Behalf of | Jul 11, 2024 | personal injury |

Dog ownership comes with significant responsibilities, including legal liabilities if your pet harms someone. In Maryland, dog bite laws are designed to protect both victims and dog owners. Understanding these laws can help you navigate potential legal challenges if your dog bites someone.

Maryland’s dog bite law

Maryland follows a strict liability rule for dog bites. This means that as a dog owner, you are typically responsible if your dog bites someone, regardless of whether the dog has shown previous aggressive behavior. The law presumes that you should have known your dog could be dangerous, especially if it is off your property or not under control.

The importance of controlling your dog

To minimize your legal risks, always keep your dog under control. Use a leash when walking your dog in public and ensure your yard is secure if your dog is outside. Proper training and socialization can also reduce the likelihood of your dog exhibiting aggressive behavior.

Taking these precautions demonstrates responsible ownership, which can benefit you if a legal issue arises.

Steps to take if your dog bites someone

If your dog bites someone, take immediate steps to address the situation.

  1. First, ensure the victim receives medical attention.
  2. Cooperate with local authorities and provide accurate information about your dog’s vaccination history.
  3. Remain calm and avoid admitting fault or making statements that could be used against you later.

Potential legal defenses

While Maryland’s strict bite liability law can challenge dog owners, consider potential defenses. If the victim provoked your dog or trespassed on your property, you might not be liable.

Additionally, if the bite occurred while your dog was protecting you or your property, this could influence the legal outcome. Understanding these defenses helps you better navigate the legal process.

Being prepared for potential dog bite incidents

Owning a dog in Maryland means understanding and accepting the legal responsibilities that come with it. While no one expects their dog to bite, being prepared for such an event can make a significant difference in the legal repercussions you might face.

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