If you or someone you care for have been bitten and injured by a dog, read on for how a Dog Bite Lawyer in Raleigh, NC can help you recover your losses.
Raleigh, NC’s population is close to 500,000 people and more than one-third of all Raleigh residents own dogs. The city is expected to be home to more than 100,000 canines by 2023 per WRAL.com. With more than 200 parks, and a large portion of the population living in multi-family housing, there is a risk that you will encounter dogs that are not known to you.
Dog bite and attack injuries can cause puncture wounds, scratches, broken bones, or even death depending on the severity of the attack, and especially if the dog attacks a little one. There is also risk of infection, nerve damage, rabies and tetanus, to name a few. We have written before about tips to avoid dog bites, but some dogs are simply so territorial and aggressive that there is nothing you can do to avoid being injured. Who is financially responsible for your medical bills and expenses if you are injured by a dog in Raleigh, NC?
First, we should discuss trespassing. If you are trespassing on someone else’s property and are attacked by their dog, you are responsible for your injuries and expenses related to the dog bite/attack. But, if you are an invited visitor and are attacked by a dog, then the dog owner/property owner may be responsible for your injuries. Dogs whose owners know, or should know, to be aggressive and/or territorial must be restrained or safely confined to protect visitors. In Raleigh, it is against the law for domesticated animals such as dogs and cats to run unrestrained within the city limits. They must be confined to their guardian’s property or walked on a leash.
A common scenario we see at my firm is when the owner’s fence is somehow compromised, whether because of a hole or other weakness in its structure, that the owner is or should be aware of and does not fix as they should, through which the dog escapes. The dog considers the property on the outside of their fence as their territory and attacks a passerby. Unfortunately, NC is a contributory negligence state. Which means if you are even 1% negligent for your injury (but see Last Clear Chance Doctrine), you can not recover for your injuries. A good Samaritan passing by may see the stray dog and try to help it. Please note that approaching a stray dog and trying to capture it may make you contributorily negligent for your injury.
But what if the owner knew that their dog was “dangerous?” According the NC General Statutes, a “dangerous dog” is a dog who has inflicted serious injury or killed a person or is held for the sole purpose of dog fighting. A “potentially dangerous dog” is a dog who has bit a person or killed a domestic animal outside of the owners property or has approached a person not on the owner’s property in a terrorizing way. Owners of dangerous dogs are held strictly liable in civil damages for any injuries or property damage the dog inflicts upon a person, his/her property, or another animal.
Usually homeowner’s insurance pays for these types of claims but it should be noted that many homeowner insurance companies refuse to cover certain breeds. Even though all policies are different, Pit Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Terriers, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Presa Canarios, Chows Chows, Doberman Pinschers and Akitas seem to reoccur quite often on insurance companies’ uninsurable lists. If you are bitten/attacked by one of these breeds, you may have to consider alternate ways of recovering for your losses besides contacting the homeowner’s insurance company.
If you have been attacked or bitten by dog, you should consult a Dog Bite Lawyer in Raleigh, NC. A personal injury attorney can help you recover the cost of your medical expenses, pain and suffering damages and any damage to your property from the attack. The Bishop Law Firm represents dog bite victims in Raleigh, NC. We do not get paid unless you win and we offer free case reviews. Call us today, (919) 615-3095!