Each year, an estimated 4.5 million Americans receive dog bites, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Nearly 18% of those (just over 800,000 people) see doctors for treatment for injuries they suffer in a dog attack. Many of those patients who get hurt in Prince George’s County seek medical care and then call up a Lanham dog bite lawyer in our office for help.
Why do injured individuals contact us for help? They do so because their injury incident isn’t often the first time they had a close encounter with a particular dog, but instead, this is the time it hurt them, and now they’re left with life-altering injuries and related bills they shouldn’t be responsible for. All they know is that they have injuries and likely will need further medical care, causing them to accumulate more lost wages in the future and no one to foot the bill. That’s when they reach out to our attorneys at GDH Law to apprise them of their legal options and how to take action, including suing the dog’s owner.
Our Lanham dog bite attorneys can help if you find yourself in a similar situation to what we described above. Our lawyers have experience assisting individuals who suffered harm through no fault of their own after an aggressive dog attacked them. We can be your advocate, too.
Steps To Take After a Dog Bite Incident in Prince George’s County
The Prince George’s County website outlines what residents and visitors alike should do if they suffer animal bites and scratches. It suggests individuals take the following steps:
- Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water, then dry it off and apply an antiseptic like iodine
- Seek medical attention right away
- Call the Prince George’s County Police Department at 301-333-4000 to report the incident
- Reach out to the Prince George’s County Health Department at 301-583-3750 to notify them of the dog bite
Last, they recommend keeping an eye on the dog that bites you if at all possible. The government agency notes that if you determine where it resides, then you should ask the dog’s owner to contain the animal. However, if you have it in your sights but are unaware of its ownership or its owner is unavailable, you should call the county’s Animal Services Division at 301-780-7200 to report its continued presence in the area so it can be collected and quarantined.
The website referenced above doesn’t make any suggestions as to what you should do after seeking medical treatment or reporting the incident, but making contact with a Lanham dog bite lawyer is a good step.
How Our Dog Bite Attorneys in Lanham, MD Can Help You
There’s this false impression that Maryland is one of many states where a one-bite law state, meaning a dog owner isn’t liable for a victim’s injuries if there’s no evidence the dog has bitten someone previously. That’s not the case, though.
Nor is it true that a dog has to fit on some arbitrary list of known aggressive or dangerous dogs for you to be eligible to hold its owner accountable for their dog getting loose from its enclosure and attacking you or simply charging you, although unprovoked, while on a walk. As per a Prince George’s County Animal Management Division brochure, pet owners must have registered their pit bulls “with the Animal Management Division prior to February 3, 1997.” Only pit bulls registered with the county prior to this date are allowed to legally reside within the county, constituting an effective ban on the breed. However, during the summer of 2023, news broke that our county was no longer enforcing the ban on the breed after much public outcry.
The point in sharing this anecdotal information is to send the message home that much of what you may have heard about reporting and recovering compensation after a dog bite here in Maryland may be inaccurate. GDH Law can serve as a reliable source of information for what the truth is, including whether you’re eligible to file a claim with the dog owner’s homeowners insurance policy or sue them in their personal capacity.
Injuries Dog Bite Victims Suffer That GDH Law Assists With
As referenced above, injuries that individuals attacked by dog bites may suffer are wide-ranging. Our Lanham dog bite attorneys have experience representing clients left with:
- Eye injuries
- Puncture wounds
- Scarring or disfiguring injuries
- Broken bones
- Head or brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Many of the clients our attorneys represent also often receive mental health diagnoses, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, after their attacks, for which we petition damages to cover their ongoing and much-needed treatment.
Understanding How Liability Works in Lanham Dog Bite Cases
Liability can be challenging to sort out, but it is fundamental to pursuing a negligent party for damages for a personal injury incident like a dog attack.
Certain situations may constitute negligence, and thus, make them liable if someone gets hurt. One example is if you can show that an owner didn’t properly secure their dog in an enclosure on their property, leaving it vulnerable to getting out and attacking someone. The same logic applies if the dog has a known, dangerous track record, yet its owner proceeds to allow their canine to go unleashed in a public setting.
Liability also works in reverse, though. For example, if a dog owner can show that you ventured onto their property and antagonized the canine, causing it to fear for its safety and thus provoking their attack, you, as the dog bite victim, may not have any valid grounds on which to file a claim or sue.
There are other liability standards that may affect your ability to recover compensation for damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, and even funeral costs (if the incident claimed a relative’s life), which a Lanham dog bite attorney will discuss during your initial conversation with them.
Your initial meeting with a Lanham dog bite lawyer is a completely free, no-obligation one. And, in personal injury cases like these, we work on a contingency basis, meaning we don’t receive any attorneys’ fees for representing you unless we win a settlement for you. Call or contact us online for a free case evaluation. It’s the first step in the right direction toward us holding a negligent dog owner liable for what their canine did to you.