In the aftermath of the ruling by the Court of Appeals (Tracey v. Solesky) that pit bulls are dangerous and their owners (and perhaps others) are automatically on notice that they can cause injuries, a special task force has been created to prepare a “legislative fix.”
The special session has met twice, but the next meeting will not take place until September or October. The plan is to have proposed legislation in time for the 2013 legislative session. The Maryland Daily Record reports that the task force is leaning toward overruling the Court’s decision. Whether that means a return to the status quo, or (my prediction) a ruling that all dogs are inherently dangerous and owners are liable for injuries in all but a few situations remains to be seen. And, once the legislation is proposed, there is no telling whether it will be approved, or whether competing legislation might be put forth.
If the legislature decides owners are on the hook for their dogs (why stop there? How about all animals), I expect they will carve out some sort of special exception for non-owners, like landlords, homeowner associations, and government entities. Which makes sense—unless there is evidence of negligence, those entities probably should not be liable to pay for the horrific dog bite injuries we often see in Maryland. But an owner should be 100% liable—for any type of dog.
If you have been injured in a Maryland dog bite attack, contact us at 443.850.4426, or online. We can help to explain your options, regardless of what the legislature does. The important thing to know is that many homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policies provide coverage for dog bite injuries, and you may be entitled to medical expenses and “pain and suffering” damages.