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Recovering damages after dog bites could be challenging

Thousands of people nationwide fall victim to animal attacks every year. Along with severe injuries, dog bites can cause emotional trauma to victims and their loved ones -- particularly if the victim is a child. In Maryland, dog owners are held strictly liable for any injury or death caused to a person or damage done to property -- if the dog is unrestrained on property other than that of the dog owner. Liability may also attach when a dog attacks someone own its own property. Exceptions exist when victims are trespassing on the dog owner's property or torment, tease, abuse or provoke the dog -- in which cases the dog owner may avoid liability.

Animal bites can result in serious infections if not treated promptly -- especially if the animal has some disease. After medical treatment, the victim can consider legal action. In some cases, the person to file a claim against may be someone other than the dog owner. These could include animal keepers at shelters, pounds or kennels who are in charge of caring for the dog -- this could also be a dog sitter or walker. Parents of minors who own dogs or property owners and landlords who allow tenants to bring animals onto the property may also face responsibility.

The damages which a victim may claim include medical expenses -- keeping in mind that there might be scarring for which plastic surgery may be required. Lost income, if the victims is an adult that is unable to return to work immediately, can also be sought along with any expenses related to property damage. Emotional damages such as pain and suffering may also form part of the claim.

Pursuing civil lawsuits after dog bites in Maryland can be complicated and might be best navigated by an attorney who is experienced in this field of the law. The lawyer can assess the circumstances of the attack, determine the viability of a claim and identify possible defendants. Compiling a list of documented claims for the past and future losses related to the incident can also be accomplished with the support and guidance of the attorney.

Source: FindLaw, "Dog Bites and Animal Attack Overview", Accessed on July 28, 2017

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