Animal attacks may cause lasting physical and emotional scars for victims. Even a minor dog bite typically involves an examination by a medical professional and a booster shot, while multiple deep lacerations often require prolonged medical treatment, plastic surgery, or physical therapy. If you or a family member has suffered a dog bite injury, retaining a North Carolina or South Carolina dog bite lawyer to pursue compensation for your losses may help mitigate the financial burden. The premises liability lawyers at Grimes Teich Anderson LLP are experienced in handling dog bite cases and can discuss the legal options that may be available to you.Establishing Owner Liability Under North Carolina Dog Bite Laws
A lawsuit arising out of a dog bite injury may be based on a number of legal grounds, including statutes, local ordinances, and the common law. Generally, the action must be filed within three years from the date of the injury, or the plaintiff probably will be barred from pursuing their claim. There are exceptions to this three-year deadline, however, and a dog bite attorney in North or South Carolina can determine whether an exception may apply. For example, minors injured in dog attacks typically have three years from the date that they reach the age of majority to bring a personal injury claim. In most cases, the lawsuit is filed against the owner of the dog, alleging that the owner was negligent or strictly liable for the victim’s injuries.
Laws in North Carolina and South Carolina may differ when it comes to dog bite injuries. For example, North Carolina law holds the owner of a dangerous dog strictly liable for any injuries or property damage that the dog inflicts upon another person, an animal, or property. “Dangerous dog” is a legal term defined by statute, and it includes any dog that has previously killed or severely injured a person without provocation, any dog trained or kept for dog fighting, and any dog determined to be “potentially dangerous” by the local animal control authority. Accordingly, if animal control has determined that a dog has previously inflicted a bite resulting in broken bones, disfiguring lacerations, or hospitalization, has killed or severely injured a domestic animal outside the owner’s property, or has approached a person in a vicious manner in an attitude of attack outside the owner’s property, the owner may also be held strictly liable for any subsequent injuries inflicted by the dog.
A dog theoretically has a “free bite” under this law before it is deemed a “dangerous dog.” The initial victim may still have recourse against the owner, however, on other legal grounds. Most notably, a victim may pursue an action based on the traditional theory of negligence, which holds any person liable for injuries caused by a failure to exercise ordinary care.
Negligence per se is a separate but related doctrine that may apply if the dog owner violated a law enacted specifically to protect the victim from the type of injury that they suffered. Your attorney can advise you of any municipal ordinances or local laws that may be relevant after learning about the details of your particular case. A plaintiff is entitled to seek economic and non-economic compensation for a dog bite injury, such as medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, the costs of future treatment, and other damages.Consult an Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer in North Carolina or South Carolina
The law concerning dog bite injuries is complex, but a knowledgeable attorney can provide answers and explanations for any questions that you may have. At Grimes Teich Anderson LLP, our personal injury and wrongful death lawyers bring experience and sensitivity to the legal process, guiding our clients through important decisions. Our North Carolina and South Carolina dog bite attorneys can assist residents of Franklin, Rutherfordton, Asheville, Waynesville, and Spruce Pine, North Carolina and Greenville, Spartanburg and Gaffney, South Carolina and many other communities in the Carolinas. To schedule a free appointment to discuss your potential injury case, call 800.533.6845 or contact us online.