Each year in the United States, almost five million people are bitten by dogs.
One-fifth of reported bites need medical care.
In 2017, 39 people died from dog bites, and only thirteen states reported more bites than North Carolina in the same year.
Can the owner of a dog be held accountable for injuries caused by his dog?
The answer is yes, under some circumstances.
Most people have heard the phrase, “every dog gets one bite.” In North Carolina, it is the law.
Pineville North Carolina Animal Bite Lawyer
Dog owners in North Carolina are strictly liable for injuries caused by their pets when certain conditions are met. When those conditions are satisfied, no proof of negligence is required. The conditions are:
- The dog has already been identified as a “dangerous dog,” and:
- The dog has harmed a person or damaged property.
A dog is identified as dangerous in any one of three circumstances:
- The dog has killed or seriously harmed a person.
- The dog is being kept or trained for dog fighting.
- The dog has been recognized by local authorities as “potentially dangerous.”
A dog can be identified as “potentially dangerous” after it has had its “one bite.” If a dog has bitten a person, attacked or killed another animal, or acted in a hostile manner toward a person, it is considered to have had its “one bite,” and can be officially 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 might be determined as “potentially dangerous.”
Once a dog has been identified as a dangerous animal by meeting one of the three criteria, the owner can be strictly liable for injuries caused by the dog. The owner will have to pay for injuries from bites, as well as for ancillary injuries, such as injury from a fall when running away from the dog. The owner is also required to pay for any property damage.
Even if the dog has not been identified as dangerous, North Carolina law makes a dog owner liable for bites or injuries if the dog is more than six months old, and is running loose at night.
Legal Representation For Dog Attacks In Pineville
The owner of a dog can escape strict liability if his dog bit someone who was willfully trespassing, trying to commit a crime, or assaulting the dog. A person is willfully trespassing only if he is aware he is on the property, however. A child who wanders onto the dog owner’s property by mistake would not be considered a willful trespasser.
Animal control regulations vary in different localities, and violation of local regulations can trigger strict liability. For example, some cities regulate certain breeds, and some ban so-called dangerous breeds, like pit bulls, altogether.
Dog Bite Lawyer Near Me
Always report any dog bite to the owner and to your local animal control authority. If the dog has a record of aggressive actions, the local animal control authority may require the owner to restrain or muzzle the dog. If the dog has previously been reported for biting or behaving aggressively, the strict liability rule applies.
Homeowner’s insurance may cover dog bites, but there are often monetary limits. If your damages go over the amount allowed by the homeowner’s policy, the dog owner will be liable for the excess.
Call a local dog bite attorney if you or a family member has been injured by a dog. At Campbell & Associates, our dog bite experts are devoted to serving clients like you. Call us at 704-769-2316 for a no-cost case evaluation.