Though man’s best friend may be cute and cuddly, dogs do bite. If you’ve been bitten by a dog, then you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and any damages that have occurred during the attack. You’re going to need a Westminster, MD Dog Bite Lawyer to help you work through the details of your case.
The Laws Have Changed in Recent Years
Before 2014, Maryland operated on the “one bite” rule. This law basically stated that owners were not liable for their dogs attacking people if they had no reason to believe that the dog would, indeed, attack someone. Basically, dogs could bite people once without the owner being held liable for the dog’s actions.
However, the times have changed. Nowadays, the law states that dog owners are liable for any damage that their dogs do whether the dog has bitten anyone before or not. However, the victim of the bite may not have a case if any of the following occurred:
- The victim was trespassing on the dog owner’s property.
- The victim was attempting a different crime on the dog owner’s property.
- The victim was committing a criminal offense against another person.
- The victim abused, provoked, teased, or tormented the dog.
These laws, more so than the “one bite” rules seem to be the most fair to both dog owners and victims of dog bites. Not only that, but these laws are “breed neutral” which means that the breed of the dog that bites you is irrelevant. The laws are the same for Chihuahuas, Pit Bulls, Dalmatians, Corgis, and everything in between. A Westminster, MD Dog Bite Attorney can help you determine whether or not you have a case.
Warning Signs from Dogs
Getting attacked by a dog is pretty scary whether you’re the dog’s owner or not. Dogs, especially angry ones, can be quite dangerous. However, before we get into the steps you need to take while under attack, there are a few things that you should watch out for before the situation escalates. Here are a few warning signs that a dog might display before attacking.
- Showing Teeth
- Raised Fur on the Nape of the Dog’s Neck
- Stiff posture
- Frenetic Tail Wagging
- “Whale Eye”
If you’ve never heard of it before, “whale eye” is a term used to describe a situation where a dog shows the whites of their eyes. Usually, this is a look they’ll shoot you from the side. If you see this kind of behavior, you need to back off immediately. That dog is about to lash out. However, as with all behavioral signals, context is important, so make sure to take into consideration the dog’s overall behavior.
What Should You Do When Under Attack?
If a situation with a dog escalates, they could end up attacking you. If you are under attack, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Divert the dog’s attention to another target: A coat sleeve, for example, would work well. Hopefully, the dog will latch on to that so that you can get away.
Do not run away!: Though it may be tempting, running will only inspire the dog to chase you, and dogs are much faster than humans. Back away as slowly as your fear will allow you to with your hands up.
Protect Yourself: Do your best to curl into a ball and protect your most sensitive spots like your throat. Place your hands over your ears and call for help in a deep voice. Avoid screaming, as this may inspire more aggression from the dog.
Ross W. Albers is a Trusted Dog Bite Lawyer in Westminster, MD
If you’ve been attacked by a dog in Westminster, MD you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages. If you have questions about your situation and whether or not you have a case, contact us today. We’ll get you set up with a free consultation to learn more about your options.