People love dogs, so it’s easy to forget they can be dangerous. Unfortunately, a friendly pet can easily turn into a dangerous dog capable of inflicting serious injury. When an irresponsible owner fails to keep their dog under control, you can hold them responsible for your injuries and the costs you incurred.
Did a dog bite and injure you? Do you want to know your legal options? If so, contact DeMayo Law Offices and we’ll help you pursue compensation. Dog bites can lead to severe injuries and psychological trauma. If an owner fails to keep those around their dog safe, they should be held liable.
Dog teeth are sharp enough to break the skin and damage underlying tendons, nerves, tissue, and muscle. A dog bite is a painful experience that can result in extensive medical care for infections and tissue damage. You shouldn’t have to pay if the attack was someone else’s fault.
Don’t Wait to Start Building Your Case.
If you are hurt by a dog, don’t wait to take action. You can strengthen any eventual legal action by collecting as much evidence as possible and seeking medical treatment for your injuries. Follow these steps below to ensure you can pursue financial damages:
- Secure the dog: If a stray dog bit you, find a way to confine them so they can’t run away and call animal control. If you know who the dog owner is, notify them that their dog injured you.
- Get information: Write down the dog owner’s name and contact information. Ask for the animal’s vital details, such as the breed, vaccination history, etc.
- File an incident report. If you were in a public place, such as a restaurant, when the dog attacked you, notify the management. Request a copy of their incident report and write down the business’s liability insurance information for your lawyer to review.
- Seek treatment. Go to the doctor immediately after the dog bite. Call 911 for an ambulance if you require one.
- Notify animal control. A dog that has a history of attacking people shouldn’t be allowed to put other people in danger. Animal control can assess the situation and remove the dog if necessary.
- File an insurance claim. If you choose to pursue compensation, you can file a liability insurance claim against the dog owner. You may also be able to file a claim with the business’s liability insurance if the attack occurred on public property.
- Hire an attorney. Call DeMayo Law Offices and speak with one of our Monroe, NC dog bite lawyers. Legal representation is crucial if you want to receive the maximum settlement possible.
North Carolina Dog Bite Laws
There are laws regarding dog bites and dangerous breeds that attack people. According to North Carolina statute 67-4.4, a dog owner is automatically liable for any physical harm or property damage caused by a “dangerous dog.”
The legal definition of a dangerous dog in North Carolina is one that:
- Seriously injured or killed someone; or
- The county, municipal board, or animal control personnel indicates it’s a dangerous dog because it exhibited at least one of the following behaviors:
- Approached someone off the owner’s property in a manner that was vicious and indicated a potential attack;
- Caused a severe injury or fatality of livestock or another person’s domestic animal while on property other than its owner; or
- Bit a person and caused a broken bone or laceration that required cosmetic surgery or hospitalization.
Dog bite laws can be confusing. Each city institutes its own rules. Some cities require dog owners to use a leash in public and prohibit dogs in specific places. Other cities expand on state dog bite laws with additional ordinances or penalties.
If you don’t know how the laws work in your city, contact DeMayo Law Offices. We’ll help you determine if you qualify for an insurance claim or lawsuit. If someone’s dog attacked you without provocation and you sustained a physical injury, you may be entitled to compensation.
Injuries Caused by Dog Bites
North Carolina allows the victim of a dog bite to file an insurance claim if the attack resulted in physical harm or property damage. Most claims involve injuries rather than property damage, but your claim can include damage to things like fences, jewelry, or other items damaged during the attack.
Some of the most common injuries people suffer from after a dog bite include:
- Puncture wounds and lacerations
- Broken bones
- Bacterial sepsis, rabies, or tetanus
- Torn muscle, flesh, or soft tissue
- Impact injury, such as a traumatic brain injury if the dog knocked you to the ground
Victims of the above injuries require medical treatment and sometimes ongoing care for months or years. Others suffer psychological trauma, such as PTSD. If this has happened to you, you can demand that the dog’s owner pay for your past and future medical expenses, missed work, and pain and suffering. The Monroe, NC dog bite lawyers know how to handle these cases and ca
How Much is My Case Worth?
The settlement amount of your insurance claim depends on the circumstances of your dog attack. Typically, the more serious the injury, the higher the compensation.
The factors that could result in a higher settlement include:
- If there’s a permanent injury, such as loss of a limb
- Total medical expenses
- Whether an M.D provided all medical care
- How much the injury affected quality of life
- If the attack resulted in any broken bones
- The duration of medical treatment and recovery
- Medication prescribed to manage symptoms or relieve pain
Contact an experienced attorney, like ours at DeMayo Law Offices, to determine what you may be owed as part of a dog bite settlement. We’ll fight for your right to the full, fair compensation you’re owed.
You Deserve Compensation for Your Damages
If someone’s dog bites you and you suffer physical, emotional, or financial harm, you’re entitled to seek compensation for your damages. Damages fall under two separate categories indicating whether they’re a real expense or a physical or emotional loss.
The economic damages available in a Monroe dog bite case include:
- Property damage
- Past and future medical costs
- Out of pocket expenses
- Past and future lost wages
The non-economic damages you could pursue after a dog bites you include:
- Permanent disfigurement, physical impairment or disability
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
What Should I Do if I Want to File a Lawsuit?
If you think the dog owner should face liability for their dangerous dog, you may be able to sue them directly instead of making an insurance claim. To file a lawsuit in North Carolina, you’ll need to follow the statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations for dog bite cases is three years. You’ll only have three years from the date of the attack to initiate a civil action in court against the owner. After three years, you may lose your right to compensation.
Some states allow exceptions to the statute of limitations that stop the “clock” for a period.
You can file suit past the statute of limitations under either of the below circumstances:
- The dog owner left the state temporarily. The clock will begin again upon their return.
- You were a minor, meaning the clock will not start until you turn 18 years old.
Dog Owner Defenses
Unfortunately, there are multiple different defenses pet owners can use to avoid liability for their dog biting another person. If any of the scenarios below occurred, you might not be able to pursue compensation from them:
- The dog was a police dog, herding dog, or hunting dog and carried out its duties at the time of the attack;
- The injured victim was trespassing on the owner’s property and attempted to commit a crime; or
- The injured person abused, tormented, or assaulted the dog first.
If any of the circumstances above apply to your dog bite, you may not be able to pursue financial damages from the dog owner. Contact DeMayo Law Offices to find out if these scenarios apply to you.
Monroe, NC Dog Bite Lawyers You Can Trust
The lawyers at DeMayo Law Offices understand how traumatic it is to suffer a dog bite attack. It can lead to severe bodily harm and cause you to fear an animal you once liked. When you hire us, we’ll fight hard to hold the dog owner responsible for their negligence and help you win the maximum compensation possible.
Irresponsible dog owners should be accountable for their careless actions. Whether the dog had a history of attacking people or was allowed to roam without a leash, you have the right to demand compensation from negligent dog owners. We’ll handle your insurance claim or lawsuit so you can concentrate on recovery.
If you sustained an injury from a dog bite, call DeMayo Law Offices at (704) 291-9200 and schedule a free consultation.