Dog Bites

Dog Bite Lawyers in Waldorf

Tireless Advocacy for Severely Injured Victims

Being attacked by a dog is one of the most frightening experiences a person can go through. This is especially true when the victim is a child which, sadly, is often the case. According to a report from, there were 36 dog bite-related fatalities in the United States in 2018 and 15 of those occurrences involved children under the age of 7. Even when these attacks are not fatal, victims are often left with severe injuries and life-altering emotional trauma.

At Farmer & Klopfer, we believe that negligent dog owners should be held accountable. Our Waldorf dog bite injury lawyers fight to hold dog owners liable for the harm their animals cause, and we are known for being a law firm that doesn’t back down, even in the face of very complex cases. If you, your child, or your loved one was bitten or attacked by a dog, get in touch with our legal team today to learn how we can help.

Call our office at (301) 265-2220 or fill out and submit a free online case evaluation form today. 

Common Causes of Dog Bites

Dog bites can occur for various reasons, and understanding the common causes can help prevent such incidents and promote responsible pet ownership. Here are some of the most common causes of dog bites:

  • Fear or Threat: Dogs may bite when they feel threatened or scared. This could be due to unfamiliar people, loud noises, sudden movements, or feeling cornered. Dogs may resort to biting as a means of defending themselves or their territory.
  • Pain or Illness: Dogs experiencing pain or discomfort may react defensively if someone touches or approaches them, even if the intention is to provide care. Dogs in pain may also lash out if someone inadvertently aggravates their condition.
  • Resource Guarding: Dogs are territorial animals and may exhibit aggressive behavior when they perceive a threat to their possessions, such as food, toys, or resting areas. This behavior, known as resource guarding, can lead to biting if someone tries to take away the dog's belongings.
  • Maternal Instincts: Female dogs with puppies may become protective and aggressive if they feel their offspring are in danger. This instinctual behavior can lead to bites if someone approaches the mother or her puppies.
  • Lack of Socialization: Dogs that have not been adequately socialized with people, other animals, or different environments may feel anxious or stressed in unfamiliar situations. This can increase the likelihood of fearful or defensive behavior, including biting.
  • Provocation: Provoking or teasing a dog can elicit a defensive response. This includes actions such as pulling the dog's tail, startling it while it's sleeping, or attempting to take away its food or toys.
  • Predatory Instincts: Certain breeds or individual dogs may exhibit predatory behavior, which can lead to biting if they perceive smaller animals or even humans as prey.
  • Medical Conditions: Some medical conditions, such as neurological disorders or hormonal imbalances, can affect a dog's behavior and increase the risk of aggression or biting.
  • Lack of Training or Obedience: Dogs that have not received proper training or obedience commands may be more likely to engage in unwanted behaviors, including aggression or biting.
  • Genetics and Breed Traits: Certain breeds may have a predisposition towards aggressive behavior due to their genetics or breed traits. However, it's essential to recognize that individual temperament and upbringing play significant roles in a dog's behavior.

Understanding Dog Bite Laws in Maryland

In 2014, Maryland’s dog bite laws underwent significant changes. Notably, dog owners are currently considered strictly liable for injuries and/or harm their dogs cause while running “at large,” meaning when they are off leash, loose, or otherwise unrestrained. A dog bite victim can hold the owner responsible under the strict liability rule if they were attacked by a dog that was running loose.

Victims can also file a claim against a dog owner under Maryland’s general negligence laws. In order to bring a claim for negligence, the victim will need to prove that the owner failed to uphold an owed duty of care and that this led to the victim’s injuries. This type of claim is similar to most other personal injury claims in that negligence is the key factor.

What Is a “Dangerous” Dog?

Maryland law outlines what is considered a “dangerous” dog. Owners of dangerous dogs are subject to strict rules regarding where they must keep their animal and what they must do when taking the dog out into public.

Under Maryland law, a “dangerous” dog is one that:

  • Has previously injured or killed a person without being provoked
  • Was classified as a “potentially dangerous dog” and bit a person, attacked or killed another domestic animal while not on the owner’s property, or attacked without being provoked

Owners of dangerous dogs in Maryland are required to keep their dogs securely on their property at all times except when intentionally taking the dog into public and, when they do take the dog into public, it must be muzzled and restrained. If the owner of a dangerous dog fails to follow all applicable rules, he or she can be held both civilly liable and criminally responsible.

What to Do After Getting Bit or Attacked by a Dog in Maryland

If you've been bitten by a dog in Maryland, it's crucial to take certain steps to ensure your health and safety, as well as to protect your legal rights in the event of a dog bite claim. Here are the steps to take:

  • Seek Medical Attention: Your first priority should be your health. Clean the wound with soap and water to reduce the risk of infection, and seek medical attention promptly. Even if the bite seems minor, it's essential to have a healthcare professional examine the wound to determine if further treatment, such as stitches or antibiotics, is necessary.
  • Identify the Dog and Its Owner: Try to identify the dog that bit you and obtain the owner's contact information. If the owner is not present, gather as much information as you can about the dog's appearance and where the incident occurred. If there are witnesses, ask for their contact information as well.
  • Report the Incident: Report the dog bite to the local animal control authorities or the police. Providing details about the incident can help prevent future bites and ensure that the dog is properly evaluated for any health risks, such as rabies.
  • Document the Injury: Take photographs of your injuries, including any bruising, swelling, or broken skin. Keep records of your medical treatment, including doctor visits, prescriptions, and any other related expenses.
  • Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney: Consider consulting with a personal injury attorney who specializes in dog bite cases. They can provide guidance on your legal rights and options for pursuing compensation for your injuries.

Your attorney can help you negotiate with the dog owner's insurance company to reach a settlement that fairly compensates you for your injuries. If a settlement cannot be reached, your attorney may recommend filing a lawsuit and pursuing your case in court.

If your case goes to court, the legal process will involve pre-trial procedures, including discovery (exchange of information between parties), motion hearings, and possibly mediation or arbitration. If the case proceeds to trial, a judge or jury will hear evidence and arguments from both sides and make a decision on the outcome of the case.

Contact Our Firm for a Free Consultation

At Farmer & Klopfer, we understand the immense physical, emotional, and financial impact a dog attack or dog bite injury can have. Our Waldorf dog bite attorneys know the law, and we know how to navigate the legal system in order to fight for the maximum compensation you are owed. If you were injured or your loved one was killed by a dog, turn to our team for the compassion, advocacy, and justice you deserve.

Get started with a complimentary consultation when you call our office at (301) 265-2220.

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