Dog bites are an all too common problem, with more than five million reported annually.
Many bites are serious enough to need a doctor’s care, and a few are fatal.
Dog bites are actually more common in North Carolina than in many states that are more populous.
If you or a loved one is bitten by a dog, can you file a claim against the owner?
In some situations, an owner will be liable for injuries arising from a bite or attack.
Most people have heard that every dog gets one bite. In North Carolina, it is the law.
Dog Bite Lawyer In Paw Creek
Dog owners in North Carolina are strictly liable for injuries caused by their pets when certain conditions are met. No proof of negligence is required for an injured person to sue a dog owner for damages when the dog injures someone or causes property damage after being identified as a “dangerous animal.”
A dog is identified as dangerous a dangerous animal in any one of three circumstances:
- The dog has previously killed or seriously injured a person.
- The dog is being kept or trained for dog fighting.
- The dog has been identified by local authorities as “potentially dangerous.”
The “potentially dangerous” designation is where the “one bite” rule comes into play. The “one bite” may not even be a bite. Attacking another animal or behaving in an aggressive manner toward a person are actions that will lead to being identified as “potentially dangerous.” A dog that chases or lunges at people, snarls or growls, or regularly jumps on people may be considered aggressive.
The owner of a dog that has been designated as a dangerous animal will be held responsible for any damages caused by the dog. The owner’s liability includes secondary damages, such as injuries sustained in a fall when being chased by the dog and includes property damage caused by the dog.
The owner of an adult dog found loose after dark is also responsible if the dog bites someone.
Paw Creek Legal Professionals For Animal Attacks
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 his property, attempting to commit a crime, or attacking or tormenting the dog. The owner will still be liable for injuries to an innocent trespasser, like a child who wanders onto the property accidentally.
Violating local animal control regulations can also trigger strict liability. For example, some localities prohibit certain breeds that they have identified as dangerous. Strict liability may apply if you are bitten by a pit bull in a locality in which that breed is prohibited.
Dog Bite Attorney Near Me
Report any bites or aggressive actions to the dog owner and to the local animal control agency. 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 earlier problems about the dog, which will help you establish liability.
Homeowner’s insurance may cover dog bites, but there is usually a cap on damages. You may sue the dog’s owner for the total amount of your damages, but you may only recover from the insurance company for their policy limit. Any damages over and above the policy limit would be the responsibility of the owner.
Call a local dog bite lawyer if you or a family member has been injured by a dog. The attorneys at Campbell & Associates have represented dog bite sufferers in North Carolina for many years, and know exactly how to get you the settlement you deserve. Call us today at 704-769-2316 to schedule a free consultation with one of our dog bite experts.