Dog Bite Attorneys in Frederick, MD
Providing High-Quality & Reliable Legal Services Since 1888
Metzger Wickersham has been a reliable and compassionate advocate for Pennsylvania clients for over 130 years, striving to protect individuals from negligence-induced harm. We are dedicated to upholding accountability in our pursuit of justice.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a dog bite incident, Metzger Wickersham can help you collect evidence, calculate your damages, and fight for your right to fair compensation. Our team of experienced lawyers is dedicated to helping our clients get the justice they deserve in a professional and timely manner. We have a proven track record of success when it comes to the representation of victims just like you.
Call (888) 286-2850 to request an initial consultation with our dog bite attorneys.
Maryland Dog Bite Laws
According to the Code of Maryland § 3-1901(c), dog owners are liable for a person’s injuries, death, or loss of property if such losses and injuries are caused by their dog.However, a dog owner is not liable in the following instances:
- The injured/aggrieved party was teasing, abusing, provoking, or tormenting the dog.
- The injured/aggrieved party was committing (or attempting to commit) a crime against any person.
- The injured/aggrieved party was committing (or attempting to commit) a trespass or another criminal offense on the dog owner’s property.
Maryland law establishes "strict liability" for pet owners, meaning they are legally responsible for their dog's actions even if the damage was done unknowingly and with caution taken. In contrast to this rule, states that practice a "one bite" law will usually protect an owner from legal consequences unless there have been signs exhibited previously indicating aggressive behavior in the animal.
Maryland state law presumes that a dog's owner must be aware of the animal’s potential to cause harm if there is evidence that it has injured or killed someone in the past. This presumption can only be overturned with reasonable proof from the owner, demonstrating otherwise.
In Maryland, a victim of canine-related injuries can take legal action against the dog's owner through either strict liability or negligence claims. For those opting for the latter, they must prove that reasonable care was not taken to control and restrain their pet in accordance with relevant circumstances – leading ultimately to harm inflicted on them.
It is also important to note that, in Maryland, dog owners can also face criminal charges (in addition to a civil suit) if their dog caused an injury or death and is considered a dangerous dog. As defined by the Code of Maryland § 10-619, a dangerous dog is any dog that:
- has killed or inflicted severe injury on a person without provocation, or
- is classified as a potentially dangerous dog (by municipalities or the proper authorities) and then bites, injures, or kills a domestic animal (outside of their owner’s property) or attacks without provocation.
When Should You Be Concerned About a Dog Bite?
The Dunbar Bite Scale is a system used by dog trainers and veterinarians to classify the severity of a dog bite. It ranges from Level 1 (minimal damage) to Level 5 (severe damage).
Each level has criteria that include the size of the wound, depth of penetration, location on the body, and underlying tissue or muscle damage. The Dunbar Scale can help guide treatment decisions for both minor and major injuries, allowing medical professionals to quickly assess and respond to the situation.
The Dunbar Bite Scale levels are:
- Level 1 refers to any minimal damage.
- Level 2 refers to superficial damage, such as punctures, scrapes, and bruises.
- Level 3 refers to partial thickness wounds that involve tissue below the skin's surface such as lacerations or avulsions.
- Level 4 refers to deep wounds with tissue loss that may involve underlying muscle or bone.
- Level 5 refers to severe injuries with extensive tissue loss, and bone or joint involvement.
To determine where you fall on the scale, you should examine your bite wound(s) and pay attention to the:
- Bleeding. If the wound continues to bleed excessively, it is likely more serious than minor scrapes or scratches.
- Swelling. Significant swelling around the wound site indicates that it could be more severe than a superficial injury.
- Pain and discomfort levels. Pain and tenderness in the affected area could indicate a deeper injury that requires medical attention.
- Infection. Signs of an infection such as redness, warmth, fever, or pus can also point towards a more serious dog bite.
In any case, if you are bitten by a dog it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. This can help ensure proper treatment for any type of injury, from minor scrapes to more serious wounds that could require stitches or other forms of treatment. You should also take the following steps after being bitten by a dog:
- Try to remain calm. Panicking can cause the dog to become emboldened and continue attacking.
- Identify the dog's owner if possible. You will need their contact information; they can also help in restraining their dog.
- Wash and cover your wound(s). Washing the wound can reduce your risk of getting an infection.
- Report the incident. If possible, alert local animal control or law enforcement of the attack. Doing this may help prevent further attacks in your community. You are also legally required to report any animal attacks or bites to the Division of Animal Control and Humane Treatment.
You Can Trust Our Team with Your Dog Bite Claim
Dog bites are especially common, but if you or a loved one has been attacked, our experienced attorneys at Metzger Wickersham understand how devastating the effects of such an ordeal can be. Our team of experienced dog bite lawyers has the resources to provide you with personalized attention and support, and our expansive staff is dedicated to providing high-quality legal services.
Schedule a consultation with our Frederick dog bite attorneys today by calling (888) 286-2850 or reaching out to us online.
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“The lawyers at this office and their staff, Mr. [Attorney] DeVere and [Paralegal] Stephanie, his assistant, became the voice I didn’t have after the accident. They were my points of light.”- Ms. D. Lopez
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