If you have been injured by someone else’s dog, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Keep reading to find out how The Bishop Law Firm can help with your dog bite or attack injury. Call us for a free case review at (919) 615-3095 .
While dogs are considered man’s best friend, they can be overly protective and territorial to the point of violence. While some breeds are characteristically more aggressive (Rottweiler or Pit bull, for example) any dog can attack and cause severe injury. Unfortunately, animal attack can leave a victim with rabies, disfiguring lacerations, broken bones and even death.
NC 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. Contributory negligence often results in unfair outcomes for victims, but it is the law in NC. If the personal injury victim is not at fault, they can be compensated for their accident related medical bills, lost wages and pain & suffering.
Approaching a strange dog, especially if they are in their own yard, and getting attacked, 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 that they must protect their owner against. Needless to say, in order 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 types of breeds, but it is impossible to know whether the dog who attacked you is covered by the owner’s insurance without looking at a copy of the policy.
A NC dog bite personal injury lawyer 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 avoiding getting sued. Once sued, the owner of the dangerous dog must turn over a copy of their policy.
In addition to policy coverage, a personal injury attorney can recover money from the owner of the dog if your damages exceed the amount of insurance coverage they have. Most homeowner’s policies have minimum coverage of $100,000. While some insurance companies refuse to write homeowner’s or renter’s policies that offer less than $300,000 in coverage.
If a dog attacks my dog, can I recover money for that?
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 if he/she dies in the attack. Even though dogs are considered property, insurance companies can give money in excess of the vet bills, because they are trying to reduce a generous award from an 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.
Regardless of whether you consult with a NC Dog Bite Lawyer about a dog bite case, be sure seek immediate medical treatment for yourself and your dog so that the risk of infection is lower.
Also read Overview of a NC Personal Injury Case