Thursday, September 3, 2009

Dog Bite Cases and Methods of Recovery

Dog bite cases can often be very lucrative because of the potential to name multiple defendants.  In many cases where a dog owner is renting their home or apartment, successful claims can be made against both the landlord and tenant.

For example, a Baltimore City woman was recently able to obtain a verdict of over $325,000 for injuries she suffered as a result of a dog bite.  In this case, the Plaintiff was walking her dog down a public street when another dog broke free from a nearby apartment.  The loose dog then attacked the Plaintiff, causing a flesh wound that would later require 25 stitches to repair.  The Plaintiff subsequently filed suit against both the dog owner and the landlord of the dog owner's property. 

In her suit, the Plaintiff claimed that the dog owner was liable for not adequately securing his dog, and that the landlord was vicariously liable because the property being rented to the dog's owner was not sufficient to house a large dog (the dog in this case was a rottweiler).  Only the landlord presented a defense at trial, claiming that he was not liable for the actions of the dog involved in the attack.  A Baltimore City jury took just 1 hour to return a verdict against the dog owner in the amount of $175,025, and against the landlord in the amount of $150,025.  The amount rendered for the pain and suffering of the Plaintiff was not provided by the Court. 

In dog bite cases, a good attorney should be careful to identify all possible individuals or entities that could be held liable for the actions of the attacking dog.  Specifically, an attorney should focus on whether the attacking dog had escaped the control of its owner.  If the dog did break loose from its owner, an attorney should uncover initially how the dog was being restrained, how the dog was able to break free, and where the dog was able to break free from.  Further, the attorney must investigate the past history of the dog.  If the dog previously demonstrated violent tendencies, the owner is on notice that the dog would be violent, or would bite again.  The issue of notice should be given considerable attention in all dog bite cases.

The attorneys at Portner & Shure are among the most experienced in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia in representing victims of dog bites.  If you, a friend or a loved one has been attacked by a dog, please contact Portner & Shure

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