Durham Dog Bite Lawyer

If you or someone you care for has been bitten or injured by a dog, read on for how a Durham Dog Bite Lawyer can help you recover your losses.

The Bishop Law Firm represents dog bite victims in Durham and surrounding areas of North Carolina. We do not get paid unless we win your case, and we offer free case reviews. Start your free case review online now.

Durham Dogs (not Bulls)

Durham's population was over 291,000 people in 2022 with around 120,000 households (census.gov). According to Dogster, the average home in North Carolina has 1.6 dogs with 41.3% of homes having at least one dog.

Based on either statistic, Durham is home to at least 50,000 dogs. There are four dog parks in Durham (via DPR): Downtown Durham Dog Park, PetSafe Dog Park at Duke Park, Piney Wood Dog Park, and Rock Quarry Dog Park.

In addition, there are special events for dogs held throughout the year, such as Dog-Gone Egg Hunt and Barktoberfest.

Needless to say, people in Durham love their dogs. Also, dogs must be walked, so this means there are many pets on the streets of Durham at any time who are not known to you.

Encountering strange, unleashed dogs can be frightening and lead to animal attacks. If you see an animal roaming loose in your Durham neighborhood, contact animal control at 919-560-0630.

According to Durham County Animal ordinances, it is "unlawful for any person owning, keeping, possessing or maintaining a dog in this county to intentionally or negligently allow the dog to run at large" (via Municipal Code).

It is also unlawful for an animal to create a nuisance. Nuisances are defined as any act that annoys or disturbs rights and privileges common to the public or enjoyment of public property (examples are getting into or turning over garbage containers, frequently roaming on property of another, or chases, snaps at, attacks or otherwise molests pedestrians...)(found here).

The Durham ordinance also discusses "dangerous" and "potentially dangerous" dogs. The sheriff generally makes the determination as to if a dog is dangerous or potentially dangerous.

Once that determination is made by the sheriff, it is unlawful for the dog not to be confined and the owner must notify the sheriff at once if the dog escapes. The owner must also get the dog microchipped within 30 days of the sheriff's determination.

It should be noted that you will only have a Durham Personal Injury case if you sustain a bodily injury from a dog attack. If your dog is attacked by another dog, you may have a property damage claim against the owner of the dog that attacked your dog, but you will not have a personal injury case.

Also read Tips to Avoid Dog Bite and Attack

Dog Bite Injuries

Dog bites and attack injuries can cause puncture wounds, scratches, broken bones, or even wrongful death depending on the severity of the attack, and especially if the dog attacks a little one.

If you have been attacked by a dog, please seek immediate medical attention. There is a risk of infection, nerve damage, rabies, and tetanus for the dog bite victim.

In addition, a dog attack can leave a victim with mental scars, including post-traumatic stress disorder. Seeking medical treatment for your injuries as soon as possible and taking photos of your injuries is imperative to recovering on a personal injury claim from your dog bite.

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 Durham?

North Carolina Dog Bite Law

A dog bite injury victim can recover the cost of their medical expenses, lost income, and pain & suffering for their severe injuries. Pain & suffering damages attempt to compensate the victim for the physical pain and mental stress caused by an animal bite.

Dogs need restraint.

In Durham, "pet owners are required to keep their animals under restraint when they’re away from their property. It’s unlawful to take a dog on a stroll through your neighborhood without a leash" (Via Durham County Sheriff's Office). While at home, dogs should be securely confined to the owner's property.

If everyone followed the law, there would be fewer dog attacks and bites. Unfortunately, an owner can become careless and this can result in injury to others.

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.

In addition, if the owner of the dog was negligent in restraining the dog while they are away from home, and the dog injures a victim, the owner can be held liable for those injuries.

A violation of Durham's Animal Ordinance could result in the dog owner being found negligent.

Dangerous Dog Owner Strict Liability

Owners of dangerous dogs are held strictly liable in civil damages for any dog attack injuries or property damage the dog inflicts upon a person, his/her property, or another animal.

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 owner's property or has approached a person not on the owner's property in a terrorizing way.

However, there are bars to recovery for a dog bite injury victim: trespassing and contributory negligence.


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, are aggressive and/or territorial must be restrained or safely confined to protect visitors.

Contributory Negligence

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 cannot recover for your injuries.

A good Samaritan passing by may see the Durham stray dog and try to help it. Please note that approaching a stray dog and trying to touch or capture it may make you contributorily negligent for your injury.

Durham Dog Bite Lawyer

If you have been bitten by a dog in Durham, hiring dog bite attorneys to help may be essential to your recovery.

Usually, homeowner's insurance pays for these types of claims, but it should be noted that many homeowner insurance companies refuse to cover certain dog breeds.

Even though all policies are different, Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Terrier, Rottweiler, German Shepherd, Presa Canario, Chow Chow, Doberman Pinscher and Akitas seem to reoccur quite often on insurance companies' uninsurable lists.

If you are bitten/attacked by one of these dangerous dog breeds, you may have to consider alternate ways of recovering for your losses besides contacting the owner's insurance company. You may need to file a dog bite lawsuit.

Contacting a Durham Dog Bite Lawyer may be your only chance of recovering fair compensation for your or your family member's injury.

The Bishop Law Firm represents dog bite and dog attack victims in Durham, and we do not get paid unless we win your case. We also offer free case reviews which you can start online now!

Also read North Carolina Dog Bite Lawyer

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