When a dog attacks and bites someone it can cause very serious and painful physical injuries. Fortunately, most dog bite victims have the ability to get compensation by bringing a lawsuit against the dog’s owner (which should be covered by their homeowner’s insurance). On this page, we will look at Maryland dog bite lawsuits and the average settlement payouts in these cases.
Maryland Dog Bite Law
In Maryland, dog owners can be held responsible for injuries caused by their dog in almost any circumstances.
Maryland has adopted a strict liability law that makes dog owners automatically liable for most injuries and damages caused by their dog. If a dog attacks and injuries someone in Maryland, the law assumes that the dog’s owner knew or should have known that the dog was potentially dangerous. Therefore, the dog owner will almost always be liable.
Maryland’s strict liability laws for dogs covers all injuries caused by a dog, not just bites. If a dog is running around and knocks someone over and breaks their leg, the owner can be liable for that too.
The only situations in which dog owners are not held strictly liable for injuries caused by their dogs are as follows:
- The victim was trespassing on the dog owner’s property when they were attacked or injured
- The victim was assaulting or committing another criminal act against a person or the dog owner’s property
- The victim was teasing or abusing the dog.
Dog owners in Maryland can also be liable based on ordinary negligence. A negligence claim against the dog’s owners is premised on the fact that the owner knew or had reason to know of the animal’s vicious propensity or where the owner has acted negligently in controlling his animal (including violation of leash laws). Maryland’s dog injury law is codified at Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 3-1901.
How Long Do You Have to Sue for Dog Bites in Maryland?
Personal injury lawsuits involving dog bites are subject to Maryland’s general 3-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. This means that victims of dog bites or dog-related injuries must file a lawsuit within 3 years of the date of their injuries or the claim will be legally barred.
Settlement Value of Dog Bite Injury Cases
Dog injury cases in Maryland tend to have a fairly high settlement payout value. A big reason for this is that dog owner’s liability in these cases is generally covered by homeowners’ or renters’ insurance. If the dog’s owner has insurance for their house, the insurance will step in to cover any damages or liabilities in a dog bite case. The homeowners’ insurance generally covers damages even when the dog bite incident occurs away from the house.
Most homeowners’ insurance policies have high coverage limits, especially in comparison to the coverage limits for most auto insurance policies. The availability of insurance coverage with high limits is the primary driving force behind the high settlement value.
According to national verdict and settlement data from, the average verdict in dog bite injury cases nationally is $285,100 and the median verdict is $29,500. For dog bite cases that get settled, the average settlement is $164,094 and the median is $55,000.
Maryland Dog Bite Settlements and Verdicts
Below are recent settlements and reported verdicts in Maryland dog bite cases.
$133,322 Verdict (Maryland 2022): Plaintiff was attacked and injured by a German Shepard that was allowed to roam free by her neighbors who had an adjoining yard. The dog bite her on the leg resulting in puncture wounds requiring medical treatment, but no permanent injuries.
$27,780 Settlement (Maryland 2020): The female plaintiff suffered bite wounds to her buttocks and on the back of her legs while the male plaintiff claimed bites to his arm when they were attacked in a state park by a pit bull mix owned by defendants. The plaintiffs claimed the defendants were negligent in failing to keep the dog on a leash, bringing the dog to an area of the park where dogs were not permitted, and allowing the dog to pose an unreasonable danger.
$759,560 Verdict (Maryland 2019): The owner of a nursing home had a pit bull that attacked and bit both a resident of the facility and an employee. The resident suffered facial injuries and wounds to the arm and midsection causing permanent scarring and mobility limitations. The nature of the employee’s injuries were not specified.
$45,624 Verdict (Maryland 2019): The plaintiff was bitten by a rottweiler on her upper and lower leg. She sued the dog’s owner for failing to keep the dog on a leash when he knew of its aggressive tendencies. The verdict included $25,000 in medical expenses.
$25,000 Verdict (Maryland 2019): The plaintiff, a 7 year old girl, suffered permanent injuries to her nose requiring plastic surgery when the defendant’s dog got excited, jumped up and lunged at her in a park.
$545,000 Verdict (Maryland 2017): A minor is attacked and bitten by her landlord’s pit bull resulting in very serious injuries which required five surgeries to correct and left permanent scarring on her legs. The verdict included $275,000 for medical expenses and $270,000 for pain and suffering.
Maryland Case Law on Dog Bite Issues
Blitzer v. Breski (2023): In this case, the appellate court was asked to interpret the exact meaning of “running at large” as set forth in the Maryland’s dog bite liability statute which imposes strict liability.
Latz v. Parr (2021): Simply allowing a dog to stay on one’s property might not be adequate to confirm ownership. However, demonstrating a certain level of care and control over a dog while it is on one’s premises could be enough to establish liability.
Contact a Maryland Dog Bite Lawyer
Our Maryland dog bite lawyers handle cases involving serious dog related injuries across the state. Contact us today for free consultation at 800-553-8082.