Bowie Dog Bite Lawyers

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Please contact the dog bite injury lawyers, George Patterson and Maria Patterson to arrange for free consultation to discuss your dog bite injury case.

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Top rated Bowie personal injury lawyers, Maria and George Patterson, handle dog bite cases and other injuries caused by dogs in Prince George's County.  Dog owners may be liable for injuries caused by dog bites, dogs chasing people or knocking people over.   The laws governing dog owners have continued to evolve in Maryland and in particular, Prince George's County.  The Maryland Court of Appeals recently imposed strict liability for Pit Bull Terrier owners and land owners with the ability to control pit bulls on their property. This is a dramatic change in the law.    

            Strict Liability for Pit Bull Attacks

In the case of Tracey v. Solesky, the parents of a child attacked by a pit bull owned by the landlord’s tenant sued the landlord. Animal attack and dog bite cases in Maryland prior to the April 26, 2012 decision required plaintiffs to establish that the owner or landlord knew or should have known that the particular animal was dangerous.

To hold a pit bull owner (or an individual with the right to control the pit bull on the property) liable for an attack or bite the following elements must be established:

  1. The animal that committed the attack was a pit bull or a pit bull mix;
  2. The defendant was the owner or a person with the right to control the pit bull or pit bull mix on the premises; and
  3. The defendant knew or had reason to know that the dog was a pit bull or a pit bull mix.
              Violations of Leash Laws

In most jurisdictions there are statutes that require animal owners to take steps to keep their dogs under control.  These statutes are often referred to as leash laws.  A violation of a leash law that leads to an injury can form the basis for holding a dog owner liable for a dog bite.  In Prince George’s County, pit bull owners are subject to several statutory restrictions including, that a pit bull must be kept on a leash or in an enclosure at all times. This led to a Prince George’s County Court holding a pit bull owner liable for the injuries sustained by a twelve year old that was chased into the path of a car by an unleashed pit bull.  Dogs that are unleashed but on their owner's property are not "roaming at large" in violation of the Prince George's County leash law.  Lawyer George Patterson has represented clients that have been injured by dogs that were not kept on a leash as required by local ordinances.

   Negligent Dog Owners' Responsibility for Injuries

A dog owner may be liable for injuries, particularly dog bites caused by their dog, if the owner failed to exercise reasonable control over the animal or failed to prevent the harm caused by the dog.  Negligence claims often rest on the owner's knowledge that the dog posed a danger to the public.  The reasonableness of the control exercised by the owner depends on what the owner knew or should have known about the danger posed by the dog.  A history of dog bites or dog attacks will demand a high degree of control.  The control required of a dog that has bit other people or chased other people is different than for an older sedentary dog.  A dog owner still has a responsibility to exercise control over even the most docile dog.  The failure to comply with leash laws for a dog that has never exhibited any signs of aggression can still form the basis for a successful claim against the dog owner if that dog injures or bites a person. 
Delivery Professionals Attacked Dogs

Attorney George Patterson has represented several delivery drivers that have been attacked by dogs.  Whether the person worked for Fed Ex, United Parcel Service, DHL or the United States Postal Service they all receive training whether informal or formal about delivery packages to properties with dogs.  Many of attorney George Patterson's clients have gone decades without ever being bit by a dog despite daily encounters.  The reason is simple, a delivery person develops a unique set of skills to identify dangerous situations and to navigate those situations as carefully as possible.  The most common scenario is an owner that opens the front door to receive a package and fails to restrain an unleashed dog that breaks free and attacks the delivery person.  Sometimes a dog is left in the custody of a young child or friend that simply does not have the strength to control the dog or the ability to verbally command a dog.  It is negligent for the owner of a 120 lb dog to permit a 60 lb child to walk the dog on a leash.  If the child is unable to restrain the dog, the owner has not complied with the spirit and intent of the applicable leash law.  Despite years of experience encountering dogs, a delivery person will occasionally encounter an improperly restrained dog that they are unable to avoid.  Typically ff a delivery person is attacked by a dog the fault almost always rests with the dog owner.
        For other incidents involving breeds including Rottweilers, German Shepards, Akitas, and Doberman Pinchers, a plaintiff must establish that the defendant knew or should have known that the particular animal was dangerous.   It only needs to be shown that the owner knew or should have known of the dog's propensity for the type of mischief that led to the injury.  Evidence of a prior dog bite or dog attack is compelling evidence.  For example, an owner that knew his dog often chased people on bikes would be liable for the injuries sustained by a bicyclist that crashed as a result of being chased by the dog.  On the other hand, the owner of this particular dog may not be liable if the dog unexpectedly bit a child that went to pet the dog.   

If you or a loved one have been injured by a pit bull or other dangerous animal please contact the Bowie lawyers, George or Maria Patterson at Reinstein, Glackin, Patterson & Herriott at 301-383-1525 for a free consultation.  The top rated Prince George's County dog bite lawyers are located in Bowie, Maryland near the intersection of Route 301 and Route 50.

The dog bite Lawyers at Reinstein, Glackin, Patterson & Herriott serve clients in Prince George's, Montgomery, Calvert, Charles, St. Mary's, Howard, Anne Arundel, Queen Anne's and Baltimore Counties. Our clients are from Silver Spring, Upper Marlboro, Bowie, Forestville, Largo, College Park, Leonardtown, Annapolis, Edgewater, Rockville, Clinton, Germantown, Olney, Beltsville, Landover, Deale, Severna Park, Crofton, Columbia and Landover.
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