Each year in the United States, roughly five million people are bitten by dogs.
About twenty percent of those bites are serious enough to need medical treatment, and 39 people died in 2017 from dog bites.
Dog bites are actually more frequent in North Carolina than in many more heavily populated states.
If you or a relative is bitten by a dog, can you file a claim against the owner?
Fortunately, there is some recourse available owner.
North Carolina, like many states, has a “one bite rule” for dangerous dogs.
Dog Bite Lawyer In Rock Hill
North Carolina law provides for strict liability for dog owners in certain circumstances. This means that, in many cases, a dog owner will be automatically liable for injuries 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 dog”.
- The dog causes injury 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 classified by local animal control authorities as “potentially dangerous.” The “one bite rule” illustrates how a dog can end up with the “potentially dangerous” classification. If a dog has bitten a person, attacked or killed another animal, or behaved in a hostile manner toward a person, it is considered to have had its “one bite,” and can be officially identified as “potentially dangerous. If a dog regularly chases people, intimidates people by snarling or baring its teeth, or tries to knock someone down, it may be classified as “potentially dangerous.”
Rock Hill Legal Professionals For Animal Attacks
An owner will be responsible for injuries or damages caused by a pet that has been classified as a dangerous animal. The owner’s liability extends to secondary damages, such as injuries sustained in a fall when being chased by the dog. If the dangerous animal damages property, the owner is also liable.
Even when the dog has not been classified 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 after dark.
The owner of a dog can avoid liability if his dog bit someone who was willfully trespassing, attempting to commit a crime, or abusing the dog. A person is willfully trespassing only if he knows he is on the property. A child who wanders onto the dog owner’s property by mistake, for example, would not be a willful trespasser.
Violating local animal control regulations can also trigger strict liability. For example, some localities prohibit certain breeds that they have identified as dangerous.
Dog Bite Attorney Near Me
If you have been bitten or injured by a dog, report the bite to the owner and to the local animal control agency. The animal control agency may require an owner to restrain or muzzle a dog that has been known to exhibit threatening habits. Local authorities will also know if the dog has already been reported, triggering the strict liability rules.
Homeowner’s insurance may include dog bites, but most policies limit their coverage. You may sue the dog’s owner for the total amount of your losses, 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.
If you have been injured or bitten by an aggressive dog, talk to a local lawyer who will advise you of your rights under North Carolina law. The attorneys at Campbell & Associates will work hard to see that you are fully compensated for your damages from a bite or encounter with an aggressive dog. Call us for a free consultation at 704-769-2316.