Dogs are a wonderful addition to the family. They provide companionship and hours of fun for anyone lucky enough to bring one into their home. However, despite their loyal nature, dogs can bite. Whether they’re feeling anxious, meeting a new person they don’t like, or simply acting out, a dog bite can be quite serious. This is especially true if the dog bites someone you don’t know. Whether you’ve been bitten by a dog or you have a dog that has bitten someone, the situation may escalate to getting the law involved. No matter which side of the case you’re on, you’re going to need a dog bite lawyer in Essex, MD.
Why Do Dogs Bite?
There are many reasons why an otherwise friendly dog may choose to bite someone. Usually, they are acting out of fear or a protective instinct. For example, a dog may bite a stranger that enters your yard. Though this person may be a good friend of yours, your dog doesn’t necessarily know that, and may try to protect their territory. Dogs have few methods of communication beyond barking, growling, and taking action. In some cases, dogs may not warn you explicitly before taking action and this is where problems usually arise.
Many Dogs Send Out Warnings Before They Strike
Though there may be some speculation on whether or not dogs understand us, they usually understand that biting is unacceptable behavior. However, this has a lot to do with how they were trained and how well you communicate boundaries with your pet. Either way, many dogs will send out warnings signals that they are not happy. Here are some of the ways a dog may express their displeasure.
- Displaying their teeth
- Stiffening their posture
- Raising the fur on their back or neck
- Bringing their tail so high that it tilts towards their back with wagging
- Pressing their ears flat against their head
For the most part, if you know the signs of a dog’s discomfort, you can avoid being bitten. However, this is not always the case.
The Laws for Dog Bites Have Changed
Maryland used to employ the “one bite” rule, which stated that all dogs get one free bite before serious consequences occurred. Though this is, perhaps, an oversimplification of the law, the new laws addressed the “free bite” idea specifically. Now, all dog owners are liable for any damage done by their dogs while they are “running at large” regardless of prior history and breed. However, if the defense can prove that the victim of the bite was partially negligent or responsible for the bite, then under Maryland’s “contributory negligence” laws, the case may turn. For example, if the victim of the dog bite had been antagonizing the dog before being bitten, they will be found partially at fault, and thus unable to pursue damages. Trespassers and other unscrupulous persons who contributed to their own demise will also be held accountable for their actions despite their injuries.
Work with a Dog Bite Lawyer to Address Your Case
Whether you’re a dog owner or you’ve been bitten by a dog, having a dog bite lawyer on your side is essential to ensure that your case is judged fairly. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss the specific details of your situation. We look forward to serving you.