While many consider dogs to be man’s best friend, they can be protective and territorial to the point of violence. If you or someone you care for has been bitten or injured by a dog, a Dog Bite Lawyer in Raleigh, NC can help you recover your losses.
While some breeds are more aggressive, any dog can attack and cause severe injury. Dog attack injuries can cause puncture wounds, scratches, broken bones, or even wrongful death. The risks are even greater 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 so territorial and aggressive that there is nothing you can do to avoid injury.
Who is financially responsible for your medical bills and expenses if you are injured by a dog in Raleigh, NC?
North Carolina Dog Bite Law
NC is a contributory negligence state which means that the victim must not be at fault (but see Last Clear Chance Doctrine) for their injury. This often results in unfair outcomes for victims, but it is the law in North Carolina. If the injured victim is not at fault, they can be compensated for their dog bite related medical bills, lost wages and pain & suffering.
Approaching a strange dog and getting attacked, especially if they are in their own yard, may result in the victim being found contributorily negligent. While the injured party may feel that are they were helping the dog, the dog sees them as an intruder or threat. Needless to say, to recover on a NC dog bite claim, the facts must be carefully examined.
But what if the dog owner knew that their dog was “dangerous?”
According to NC Law, 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 to strict liability in civil damages for any dog attack injuries or property damage the dog inflicts upon a person, his/her property, or another animal.
Who pays for dog bite injuries?
If you are injured or bitten by a dog through no fault of your own, the dog owner should pay for the injury.
Homeowner’s and renter’s policies often cover the pet owner when their dog attacks others. Some policies exclude certain breeds, but it is impossible to know whether the dog who attacked you is covered by the owner’s insurance without looking at the policy.
A dog bite personal injury lawyer in North Carolina can often get a copy of the dog owner’s policy without filing a lawsuit, by convincing the dog owner to voluntarily give them a copy of their policy to avoid getting sued. Once sued, the owner of the dangerous dog must turn over a copy of their policy.
In addition to policy coverage, an attorney can recover money from the owner of the dog if your damages exceed the amount of their insurance coverage. Most homeowner’s policies have minimum coverage of $100,000. Some insurance companies refuse to write homeowner’s or renter’s policies that offer less than $300,000 in coverage.
Can I recover money if another dog attacks my dog?
Yes, you can recover money for damages to your dog if your dog was not at fault. Under North Carolina law, dogs are considered personal property.
This means you are not entitled to money for pain and suffering that your dog endured, but you are entitled to money for vet bills or the value of your dog. Even though dogs are considered property, insurance companies can give money in excess of the vet bills. This happens because they are trying to reduce a generous award from a North Carolina jury, who may feel sympathy for your dog and give money for what your dog went through regardless of the law classifying your dog as property.
If you need help deciding what to do after a dog bite or attack, a NC Dog Bite Lawyer can help. Give us a call today for a free case evaluation at (919) 615-3095. We represent dog attack victims in Raleigh, Cary, Fayetteville, Durham, Rocky Mount, Wilson, Smithfield, Louisburg, Chapel Hill, Roanoke Rapids and surrounding areas in North Carolina.
Whether you consult a Dog Bite Lawyer or not, be sure to seek immediate medical treatment for yourself and your dog to lower the risk of infection.