The owner of a domestic animal such as a dog is responsible for injuries or damages caused by that animal if the owner knew, or by the use of reasonable care should have known, that the animal had a propensity to engage in the aggressive behavior that caused the injuries. In some jurisdictions, liability may also be based upon a violation of a "leash law."
Most recently, legislation has centered on pit bulls. In some jurisdictions, pit bulls are even illegal to own.
When a serious dog bite injury has occurred, it may be helpful to have the dog evaluated before it is either destroyed or given away. If possible, secure photos or videos of the dog to demonstrate its size, weight and mannerisms. Talk to neighbors about the typical behavior of the dog and whether it was potentially dangerous. Neighbors might know if the dog gets out of the yard, if the owner allowed it to wander the streets, or if there were any prior attacks.
It is also imperative to contact animal control and the police so the incident is documented, and to determine if the animal is a threat to the public.
It is important to retain an attorney familiar with animal inflicted injury cases as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can make sure there are no missed opportunities and help build a solid foundation of testimony by documenting the animal's aggressive behavior, assuring that all relevant information is obtained to assist in the preparation of your claim.
The lawyers at Blank, Moorstein & Lipshutz, L.L.P., in Rockville, Maryland, are here to help you find the best resolution to your legal issues. Contact our office today to speak with an attorney about your case.