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How Virginia and Maryland view dog bite attack claims

On Behalf of | Feb 1, 2021 | Personal Injury

Dog bite attacks can happen anywhere and to anyone. The basic support someone needs after such a trauma are often the same. They will probably require medical care and financial resources. However, the location where an attack occurs has an influence on the rights of the victim hurt by a vicious animal.

Every state has a different approach to the obligations and rights of animal owners, as well as the rights of those hurt by domestic animals. After a dog bite attack leaves someone with significant injuries or emotional trauma, they may need medical care that costs thousands of dollars. Depending on whether the attack occurred in Virginia or Maryland, the rights of the victim will vary significantly.

Virginia has a more lenient stance toward animal owners

Well-trained and even pampered animals can sometimes snap with minimal provocation and no warning. They can go from being an innocent companion animal to a snarling ball of fury in mere seconds.

Given that owners can’t always control the behavior of their animals, some states give them the benefit of the doubt when an animal attacks a person. Virginia is one of those states. Virginia has a one-bite law for liability after a dog attacks.

An owner is only liable for the actions of their animal if it has previously bitten someone or if the owner had reason to believe the dog was aggressive or dangerous. A victim attacked by a dog will have to show that the owner knew it posed a risk. Statements made by the owner about the animal or even “beware of dog” signs on a property could help a victim building a legal case after a vicious animal attack.

Maryland has more protections in place for victims of animal attacks

Maryland is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bite attacks that result in property damage or injury to a human. The victims don’t have to prove that the animal had a history of aggression toward humans or previous attacks to its name. They only need to show that they weren’t trespassing, otherwise breaking the law or provoking the animal at the time of the attack.

In either state, those whose claims meet the necessary legal standard may be able to bring an insurance claim against a dog owner or possibly file a personal injury lawsuit for their losses, such as medical expenses and lost wages.