Earlier this month, an appellate court handed down a decision in a personal injury case involving a plaintiff who was seriously injured after she was attacked by several dogs belonging to the defendant. The case required the court to determine whether the owner of the dogs could be held strictly liable for the injuries caused by the dogs. Additionally, the court had to determine if the plaintiff’s potential negligence in bringing about her own injuries should factor into the jury’s decision.
The case presents several interesting issues for Maryland dog bite victims because Maryland law applies a similar standard to that which is applied in the case. However, under Maryland’s contributory negligence law, a plaintiff who is found to be even the slightest bit at fault for her own injuries will be precluded from recovery. Thus, while the laws applied in the case are different in some ways from those in Maryland, the case is still illustrative of how a similar case could proceed in a Maryland courtroom.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff, who was on a friend’s property hunting squirrels, was attacked by a pack of dogs belonging to the defendant. The plaintiff brought a personal injury lawsuit against the dogs’ owners, arguing that the owner of a dog is strictly liable for any injuries caused by the dog. Thus, under the plaintiff’s argument, there need not be a showing of negligence in order for a dog’s owner to be found liable; proof of ownership is sufficient to establish liability.