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North Carolina laws on dog bite liability

| Mar 4, 2021 | Premises Liability/Dog Bites

Dogs are great companions for many North Carolina families, but unfortunately not all dog owners take the time to train and love their pets. When a dog becomes a danger to others, it can inflict harm on victims when its owner does not take proper precautions. This informative post will educate readers about general dog bite laws in North Carolina. No part of this post should be read as legal advice or guidance on specific dog bite cases.

What is strict liability?

Strict liability is a legal concept that imposes legal liability on a party when an event occurs. A victim in such a situation does not have to prove fault or negligence in order to prevail on their claim. When a person owns a dangerous dog, any injuries that the dog inflicts on victims will impose strict liability on its owner.

In North Carolina, a dangerous dog is defined as one that has killed or inflict serious injury on a person. The owner of a statutorily defined dangerous dog is strictly liable for the harm their dog causes once they have been designated as dangerous and the dog inflicts personal or property injury on a victim.

Are their defenses to the strict liability dog bite law?

There are ways that dog owners may attempt to avoid liability when their dangerous dogs inflict harm on others. They may claim that the victim in the claim was illegally trespassing at the time the bite occurred, or that the victim was tormenting the dog prior to the alleged attack. Similarly, dogs working in law enforcement are generally not held to the strict liability standard of dog bite attacks, nor are dogs that are being used during lawfully sanctioned hunting events.

What should a victim do after a dog bite attack?

Dog bites can cause serious injuries and disfigurement in victims. When a dog attacks, it is important that a victim seeks medical help to ensure that their wounds are evaluated and that they are assessed for possible diseases. Healing from a dog bite or attack can take time, and victims should allow themselves to heal and deal with the trauma of their ordeals.

When they are ready, dog bite victims can talk to personal injury attorneys about their rights and options. In North Carolina, dog bite victims have 3 years to file their claims under the state’s statute of limitations. It can be helpful for victims to solicit the counsel of knowledgeable personal injury representatives before initiating their claims. Personal injury attorneys can help their clients identify their claims, file their lawsuits, and argue their cases so that they can work to recover the best possible damages’ awards for their dog bite related losses.