North Carolina Dog Bite Lawyers
Being attacked by a dog is a traumatic and painful experience. Dog bites can result in severe injuries, possible infection, and permanent scarring. Pursing a claim for damages can cause additional stress, especially in situations where you know the dog owner.
These are complicated cases to pursue as North Carolina dog bite settlements vary widely from case to case. However, you still deserve compensation for your injuries and pain and suffering.
If you are the victim of a dog bite, let the skilled Greenville dog bite lawyers at Dawson & Albritton, P.A., assist.
How Our Greenville Dog Bite Attorneys Can Help
Our experienced legal team has decades of experience handling North Carolina personal injury claims, including dog bite cases. We’re here to help you navigate the challenging legal system and handle negotiations with the dog owner’s insurance company.
In some instances, the insurance company may try to offer you an early settlement to close your case quickly. This settlement offer won’t cover your current expenses or costs. It won’t include future treatment or the pain and suffering you endured either.
When you retain an experienced personal injury lawyer, we know how to evaluate your case. We also work with industry experts when necessary. These experts can testify as to whether the treatment you received was reasonable and appropriate. They also understand the long-term impacts of a dog bite. You may need scar revision surgery in the future, you could be unable to work, or you may even suffer severe emotional trauma from the incident.
All these elements are critical aspects of a dog bite case that insurance companies often downplay. The differences in injuries and treatment are several reasons why North Carolina dog bite settlements do not fall into a specific range.
Understanding North Carolina’s One Bite Rule and Strict Liability
The laws governing dog bite cases can be confusing. One of the most important rules to understand is North Carolina’s “one bite” rule. Essentially, a dog gets “one free bite.” This rule shields animal owners from liability if they lacked knowledge that their dog was dangerous. However, this applies to any injury the dog inflicts. That means the damage doesn’t necessarily have to be a bite.
Dog owners are strictly liable for injuries inflicted by a “dangerous dog.” This means that they will be responsible for any injury the dog causes, regardless of precautions they may have taken. North Carolina defines “dangerous dog” as one that:
- Has previously killed or inflicted severe injury on someone without provocation;
- Has been trained for dogfighting; or
- Has been deemed a “potentially dangerous dog” by animal control due to a previous incident of violence or aggression.
A dog owner can also be held strictly liable for your injuries or damage resulting from letting their dog run free at night.
You might be wondering how to collect your damages if your situation does not fit the criteria listed here. That is one reason why you want a knowledgeable attorney protecting your rights.
Proving Liability Against a Dog Owner
Depending on the circumstances, there may be other ways to hold the dog owner liable for your injuries. When you retain Dawson & Albritton, P.A., to represent you, we will go over all possible scenarios. This includes potential liability arguments. Our goal is to help you get you the highest amount in your North Carolina dog bite settlement or jury award.
There might be an argument for negligence per se if the owner violated a North Carolina animal control law. To prevail on a negligence per se argument, we need to show:
- There is an applicable law or ordinance that established a duty that a dog owner should follow;
- As a plaintiff, you are a member of the class that the ordinance or regulation intends to protect;
- There was a breach of duty; and
- This breach of duty caused your injuries.
Due to the complicated nature of dog bite laws in North Carolina, your best chance at recovery is retaining a Greenville dog bite lawyer. If you attempt to pursue a claim on your own, the dog owner’s insurance company is likely to try to convince you that you don’t have a case. North Carolina is a contributory negligence state. That means that if you are even one percent at fault, you cannot collect anything for your injuries. Insurance adjusters will allege that you provoked the dog, as that will allow them to avoid liability entirely.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
Even a seemingly minor dog bite can result in long-term consequences. You could wind up with an infection or even rabies. This is why we often discourage people from settling their claims early on. There may be problems that develop that you did not anticipate.
Some insurance companies will extend you an offer to resolve your case because they know there’s an increased risk as time passes. Once you agree to a settlement and sign the release of all claims, your case is over. You can’t ask for additional compensation because you developed an infection, or the bite didn’t heal correctly and now you need scar revision surgery.
Some of the most common injuries we see with dog bite cases include:
- Puncture wounds,
- Nerve damage,
- Facial injuries,
- Neck and head injuries, and
Every dog bite case is unique as injuries differ and healing times vary. That is why we evaluate your situation individually and cannot provide an average amount for North Carolina dog bite settlements.
Contact a Greenville Dog Bite Attorney
If you need assistance with a dog bite injury in North Carolina, contact Dawson & Albritton to schedule a free case review. You may be entitled to reimbursement for your medical bills, loss of earnings, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and more. Let us protect your rights and help you fight for the compensation you deserve.