In North Carolina, when a dog bites and injures you, you can pursue compensation from the dog owners for their negligence. You may be owed financial damages for your medical expenses, missed work, and pain and suffering. Contact our North Carolina personal injury lawyers to schedule your free consultation to learn more.
While more Americans have pet dogs and enjoy owning them than don’t, nearly 90 million dogs in the U.S. present real risks to dog lovers and skeptics alike. Even a dog that is properly trained and has a history of being affectionate can turn in an instant and attack someone if they feel provoked or their protective instincts kick in.
Each year, around 4.7 million people sustain a dog bite, meaning roughly one in every 69 people in the U.S. are bitten annually. These aren’t just friendly nips. Dog bite injuries can be devastating, and in some cases, fatal.
When dogs bite, they’re often trying to protect either their owner or property and interpret your actions as threatening in some way. Some dogs, especially aggressive breeds used historically for protection, may try to establish dominance.
Regardless of the cause of the dog’s attack, dog owners have a responsibility to keep their pets under control. Many cities and some states have instituted laws that regulate dog breeds based on their tendency to attack to mitigate the risk of dog bites. A similar law in North Carolina has not yet passed.
If you’ve been hurt by a dog, contact DeMayo Law Offices to learn more about dog bite laws and how you may be able to file for damages. Call one of our North Carolina dog bite lawyers at (877) 333-1000 to set up a free consultation.
North Carolina Dog Bite Laws & Breed Restriction Information
Some dog breeds are statistically more likely to attack than others, especially if their owners fail to them properly or abuse them. A 2013 bill put forth in the North Carolina House of Representatives proposed some restrictions on six of these breeds, including:
- Pit Bulls
- Chow Chow
- Presa Canarios
- Wolf Hybrids
The prospective law would require any owner to undergo a background check, attend four hours of specialized training, obtain a special state permit, and notify their property insurer of the dog. The bill was referred to a committee, and you can check its status here.
According to North Carolina General Statute 67-12, no dog owner may let a dog over six months old out unaccompanied at night. Violators can be charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor.
North Carolina General Statute 67-4 states that the dog owners have strict liability for civil damages if their “dangerous dog” causes any injury or damage to your property. Article 1A of this statute outlines the classifications for dangerous dogs, which include dogs that have:
- Previously bitten or attacked someone without being provoked
- Bitten someone so severely that they required hospitalization
- Killed another domesticated animal on someone else’s property
- Attempted to attack a person off of their owner’s property
An owner of a dangerous dog must take steps to keep the dog secure, including but not limited to keeping it inside or in an enclosed structure. If the dog is allowed off their property at all, it must be restrained properly, for example, with a leash and muzzle.
If the owner fails to meet these conditions and their dangerous dog attacks you, they may be liable for any injuries you sustain and owe you compensation.
Filing for a Dog Bite Claim
If you are injured by a dog in North Carolina, you may be able to file a claim against the owner under legal doctrines like statutory liability, scienter, or negligence. Your dog bite lawyer will advise you on the best route to take after hearing your case.
When you file a claim under statutory liability, your attorney will argue that the dog owner knowingly and willfully disobeyed the laws surrounding dog ownership in the state of North Carolina. For example, if an owner lets their dog out at night without restraining it, allowing the dog to run your property and attack you on your own driveway, the owner is likely liable for your injuries. You could demand they pay the costs you incurred as a result.
An experienced dog bite attorney, like ours at DeMayo Law Offices, may suggest another legal strategy known as scienter. Scienter is also known as the “one-bite” rule adopted by many states.
If a dog has attacked someone previously and the owner knows about it, you can use scienter to argue that the owner owes you compensation. Scienter is a kind of “negligence per se,” meaning that the owner violated animal control laws through their negligence.
Filing a claim of negligence can be difficult because North Carolina follows the contributory negligence doctrine. This strict rule makes it could be harder to settle your dog claim.
Essentially, contributory negligence dictates that you may only claim damages if you didn’t contribute to the circumstances surrounding your dog bite injury in any way. The dog owner’s insurer or lawyer may argue that you did something to provoke the dog into attacking you, thus preventing you from recovering any damages that the dog bite caused.
Your attorney will protect you from unfair contributory negligence defenses so that you can get the compensation you deserve. Your DeMayo Law Offices dog bite lawyer will advise you on the intricacies of North Carolina’s laws, including:
Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Bites
We have experience fighting for fair compensation for dog bite victims in North Carolina, so our attorneys have heard a lot of common questions. We’ve answered some of them here, but remember your best resource will be your lawyer.
What kind of compensation could I be entitled to after a dog bite?
If you suffer a dog bite, you could be entitled to compensation from the owner, including but not limited to past medical bills, future medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, permanent disability, permanent scarring, more. Some aggressive dogs will attack a dog owner and their dog at the same time, causing your pet and you pain, injury, or even death. If the dog’s owner was negligent, you could seek damages for your pet as well.
If a dog kills my loved one, can I sue for wrongful death?
When a dog attacks and kills a family member, you may be able to pursue compensation in a wrongful death claim. If this incredibly difficult experience has happened to you, we can help investigate the incident to see if you can hold the dog’s owner legally responsible for the damages they caused. We can discuss it in a free consultation.
What should I do if a dog bites me?
Call 9-1-1 immediately. The authorities will respond and make an official report. If you are able, document the scene as much as you can. Keep all of your medical records. You or your lawyer can ask neighbors to see if the dog was previously aggressive. Their statements could strengthen your claim against the owner. Our dog bite attorneys at DeMayo Law Offices can take over investigating and documenting your injury as soon as you hire us.
Are there times when a dog bite victim would not have legal grounds to sue?
There are some cases where it would be more difficult to establish legal grounds claim compensation from a dog owner after you are bitten. For example, someone who trespasses may not be able to pursue a claim even if they were injured. If you think you may be partially at fault for your injury, it’s still a good idea to speak to a lawyer to see what legal rights and options you have.
Has a dog injured you in North Carolina? Contact DeMayo Law Offices for a free consultation.
If you are the victim of a dog bite injury, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Our North Carolina dog bite lawyers will work tirelessly for you to hold the dog owner legally responsible for your damages. We’ll seek the maximum compensation possible on your behalf.
Since the negligence laws in North Carolina are so stringent, it’s in your best interest to contact an attorney to discuss the particulars of your case. In a free consultation, a skilled DeMayo Law Offices attorney can explain your dog bite claim options and how we can help.
We can collect evidence, speak to witnesses, and build a solid legal argument that the owner’s negligence caused your injury. We’ll demand that the owner’s insurance company pays you full, fair compensation, negotiate with them, and take them to court if necessary.
At DeMayo Law Offices, our NC dog bite attorneys fight for the victims of dog injuries so they can move on with financial stability. If you suffered a dog bite, call us at (877) 333-1000 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Don’t wait to take the first step in holding the person who caused your injury responsible.
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