My Dog Bit My Neighbor – Now What?

Those huge, brown eyes; that cute, wagging tail; those… impressively sharp teeth. Your sweet pup, Cujo, is your best friend, but he also sports a mouthful of weapons that can get you both in trouble if you’re not careful. Because what if your dog bites someone? You could find yourself the defendant in a big, hairy (fluffy?) lawsuit.

Here’s what you need to know about dog bite laws in Maryland.

Strict Liability in Maryland

Too bad you and Cujo can’t climb in a time machine and return to the way the law worked before 2014. Back in those golden dog-owning days, Maryland followed the old rule, “the first bite’s for free”— meaning, if your bundle of canine joy had never bitten anyone before, it was not foreseeable that he would, and you couldn’t be held legally responsible. All that changed with the enactment of a new law in 2014.

The new law made Maryland a “statutory strict liability” state. This means that if your dog is running loose and kills or injures someone, the law presumes the owner knew — or should have known — that dear Cujo had vicious or dangerous propensities. Although that “rebuttable presumption” can be overcome, it could be a challenge. In other words, that first bite’s not free anymore.

What Are My Defense Options?

There’s good news, though.  Strict liability is not the final word in dog bite cases, as there are some circumstances that will provide you an out if your dog hurts someone.

Trespassing – Did Gladys Kravitz sneak onto your property to peek in your windows and get some juicy gossip? Trespassing on your property is a no-no; your dog can jump in to defend your privacy.

Criminal offenses – Did Ned Flanders drop by to bop you in the nose because Cujo chewed up his copy of the Springfield Shopper? Assault is a criminal offense, and committing—or even attempting to commit—a crime against any person on your property makes the miscreant subject to the Wrath of Canine.

Teasing, tormenting, abusing, or provoking the dog – Did Eric Cartman jump the fence and start poking sticks at your furry best friend? A dog who is sufficiently provoked has a right to defend himself.

Contributory negligence – Maryland is a contributory negligence state. This means that if the person your dog bit contributed even slightly to the injury, that person can’t recover damages (money) from you. Time to look for holes in your victim’s story.

How Do I Win?

If the injury took place on your own property, it’ll be somewhat easier to prove Cujo’s innocence. The dog bite victim needs to have a legally valid reason to be on your property if he’s going to win. If your dog was out running loose, it won’t be easy to rebut the presumption that you knew he was dangerous. Your best bet is hiring an attorney who understands phrases like “rebuttable presumption” and “strict liability” so you don’t lose your shirt along with your tail-wagging pal.

By |November 6th, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

Contact Me Now For A Free Consultation

Call Now For A FREE Consultation To Discuss Your Case
Call Drew Cochran Directly 410-777-8103

Our Testimonials

Client

Drew Cochran is an outstanding defense attorney. Seasoned, savvy, and smart, he knows the law and understands how to apply it to get the maximum benefit for his client. He keeps his eye on the big picture—getting the best results possible—while attending to the smallest details to ensure success. He is accessible, responsive, and user-friendly, while communicating clearly with the client. And with a fair, single-fee, cost structure for his services, he is also cost-effective and economical, and doesn’t “keep the hourly-rate meter running” for the time he invests in the case. If you’re looking for a super-effective attorney who can get results even against the odds, Drew Cochran should be your choice. Sign me VHC for Very Happy Client

~ Client

Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law
5.0
2017-11-16T15:00:24+00:00

~ Client

Drew Cochran is an outstanding defense attorney. Seasoned, savvy, and smart, he knows the law and understands how to apply it to get the maximum benefit for his client. He keeps his eye on the big picture—getting the best results possible—while attending to the smallest details to ensure success. He is accessible, responsive, and user-friendly, while communicating clearly with the client. And with a fair, single-fee, cost structure for his services, he is also cost-effective and economical, and doesn’t “keep the hourly-rate meter running” for the time he invests in the case. If you’re looking for a super-effective attorney who can get results even against the odds, Drew Cochran should be your choice. Sign me VHC for Very Happy Client

Client

The best lawyer I ever had or dealt with. Very easy to communicate and always able to speak to you without having you wait for days for an answer. Every time he has said something he will take care of that day he actually has done it and took care of it. 

~ Client

Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law
5.0
2016-10-02T18:41:06+00:00

~ Client

The best lawyer I ever had or dealt with. Very easy to communicate and always able to speak to you without having you wait for days for an answer. Every time he has said something he will take care of that day he actually has done it and took care of it. 

Client

I want to thank you for your representation of [our] case. You did a wonderful job in bringing the truth to the jury. You were magnificent in the court room. You gave us our day in court. Thank You.

~ Client

Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law
5.0
2016-10-17T12:54:27+00:00

~ Client

I want to thank you for your representation of [our] case. You did a wonderful job in bringing the truth to the jury. You were magnificent in the court room. You gave us our day in court. Thank You.

Client

Thank you for guiding me through this process. You were efficient and results oriented but also understanding of my bigger picture. I appreciate your patience in listening to my concerns. However, at the end of the day, results matter and you provided the best results for a very serious matter. I would recommend you to anyone facing a district court matter.

~ Client

Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law
5.0
2016-10-17T12:53:19+00:00

~ Client

Thank you for guiding me through this process. You were efficient and results oriented but also understanding of my bigger picture. I appreciate your patience in listening to my concerns. However, at the end of the day, results matter and you provided the best results for a very serious matter. I would recommend you to anyone facing a district court matter.

Client

This is a lawyer that cares about who you are and helping you through the situation. Dealing with such life impacting challenge can be overwhelming, yet Mr. Cochran treats you like family and takes his time to understand your case as well as how it is impacting you. He provides exceptional law support based upon his years of experience and knowledge. Mr. Cochran is someone that you want on your side.

~ Client

Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law
5.0
2017-03-24T14:01:06+00:00

~ Client

This is a lawyer that cares about who you are and helping you through the situation. Dealing with such life impacting challenge can be overwhelming, yet Mr. Cochran treats you like family and takes his time to understand your case as well as how it is impacting you. He provides exceptional law support based upon his years of experience and knowledge. Mr. Cochran is someone that you want on your side.

Client

We wanted to sincerely thank you for all you did to help [our child] through this difficult phase of his life. The additional time that you spent and your effort to take a personal interest in his welfare and progress was certainly far beyond what one would expect. We are most grateful and pleased with your professional services but let's hope we don't have to rely on them in the future.

~ Client

Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law
5.0
2016-10-17T12:53:57+00:00

~ Client

We wanted to sincerely thank you for all you did to help [our child] through this difficult phase of his life. The additional time that you spent and your effort to take a personal interest in his welfare and progress was certainly far beyond what one would expect. We are most grateful and pleased with your professional services but let's hope we don't have to rely on them in the future.
5
6
Whats UpAvvoBBB
TEXT US410-777-8103