Millions of dog bites are documented in America every year.
About twenty percent of those bites are serious enough to require medical care, and 39 people died in 2017 from dog bites.
Dog bites are actually more prevalent in North Carolina than in many more heavily populated states.
If you or a relative is bitten by a dog, can you file suit the owner?
The answer is yes, under some circumstances.
Most people have heard that every dog gets one bite. That is the law in North Carolina.
Dog Bite Legal Professionals In McAdenville NC
North Carolina law provides for strict liability for dog owners in certain circumstances. This means that, oftentimes, a dog owner will be automatically responsible for damages caused by a dog, even if he is not negligent. Two conditions must be met for strict liability:
- The dog has been determined to be a ‘dangerous animal”.
- The dog causes harm to a person or damages property.
A “dangerous animal” is defined as an animal that has previously killed or seriously injured a person without being provoked, is kept and/or trained for the purpose of dog fighting, or has been identified by local animal control authorities as “potentially dangerous.”
The “potentially dangerous” designation is where the “one bite” rule enters into play. The “one bite” may not even be a bite. Attacking and/or killing another animal or acting in a hostile manner toward a person are actions that will result in being classified as “potentially dangerous.” If a dog regularly chases people, threatens people by growling or baring its teeth, or tries to knock someone down, it can be identified as “potentially dangerous.”
McAdenville Animal Attack Attorney
The owner of a dog that has been designated as a dangerous animal will be held liable for any damages caused by the dog. The owner’s liability extends to indirect damages, like injuries sustained in a fall when being chased by the dog. The owner is also required to pay for any property damage.
The owner of an adult dog found loose after dark is also liable if the dog bites someone.
There are some exceptions to the strict liability law. The owner can avoid liability if he shows that the injured person was willfully trespassing on the owner’s property, trying to commit a crime, or abusing or tormenting the dog. The owner will still be responsible for injuries to an innocent trespasser, like a child who stumbles onto the property accidentally.
The strict liability law may also be applied to a dog owner who violates local ordinances. In some localities, so-called dangerous breeds, like pit bulls, are banned completely, and in other localities, special restrictions apply to certain breeds.
Dog Bite Lawyers Near Me
Always report any dog bite to the owner and to your local animal control authority. If the dog has a history of aggressive actions, the local animal control authority may require the owner to restrain or muzzle the dog. Your local animal control agency will have a record of previous issues about the dog, which will help you prove liability.
Homeowner’s insurance may include dog bites, but there will be limits on coverage. The homeowner’s insurance will pay for damages up to the policy limit. Anything beyond that would be the owner’s responsibility.
Call a local dog bite lawyer if you or a loved one has been injured by a dog. The attorneys at Campbell & Associates have represented dog bite victims in North Carolina for many years, and know exactly how to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us for a no-cost consultation at 704-769-2316.