Is a Dog’s Owner Strictly Liable if Their Animal Bites You in Charlotte, North Carolina?

Nine times out of ten, a dog truly is man’s best friend. Dogs can be the best companions. They love to greet you when you get home from work after a long day. Most dogs are friendly and love to meet new people when they’re out for their walk or at a dog park. However, there are times when a dog is anything but friendly. If you or your loved suffered a dog bite in Charlotte, you may have a claim for damages. The only way to know for sure is to talk to a personal injury attorney in Charlotte. They know the dog bite laws in North Carolina and can let you know if you have a possible case or not.

When it comes to dog bite laws in North Carolina, there is good news and there is bad news. The good news is that North Carolina follows the one-bite rule. This means the dog’s owner will be liable for your injuries if their dog has bitten someone before (or tried to bite someone before). However, the law is also quite strict when it comes to partial fault. If the court finds that you were partially at fault – even if it’s only 5% – then you can’t recover damages. This is why it’s important that you call and talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer in Charlotte if you get bit by a dog.

What is the Law When it Comes to a Dog Bite in Charlotte, North Carolina?

There are several ways in which your Charlotte personal injury lawyer can recover damages for your dog bite. Generally speaking, if your lawyer can prove that the dog’s owner knew or should have known their dog was dangerous, you’ll probably win your case. Or, if the dog wasn’t on a leash, their owner will probably be found liable for your injuries.

In North Carolina, a dog’s owner can be found statutorily liable for your injuries. You’ll likely be awarded damages if your lawyer can prove the following:

  • The dog was older than 6 months
  • They were not on a leash or were otherwise allowed to run loose in public
  • Technically, the law only applies to dogs that are left to run loose at night
  • The dog is not accompanied by its owner or a family member or friend of the owner. This would include a dog-walker.

Under North Carolina General Statute 67-12, if you can prove the above, you should be allowed to recover damages for any injuries sustained by the dog bite.

Your Charlotte Personal Injury Lawyer Can Prove Negligence

If your case doesn’t fall under the above statute, that doesn’t mean you can’t recover damages against the dog’s owner. Your attorney can always rely on ordinary negligence to win your case. Negligence is the basis of most personal injury cases. In order to win in a negligence case, your attorney must show the following four (4) things:

  • The defendant owed you a duty of care – This won’t be hard to prove. All dog owners are required to be careful while walking their dogs. They need to make sure their dog doesn’t hurt an innocent third party.
  • They breached this duty – If the dog’s owner doesn’t behave in a reasonable manner, they’ll have been said to breach this duty. For example, if a person knows their dog is vicious, they shouldn’t let stranger attempt to pet their dog. If they do, they could be said to breached their duty.
  • You were injured – You can only sue someone if you were hurt. If you were bitten but didn’t get hurt, you have no basis to sue someone.
  • Your injuries were caused by the defendant’s breach of duty – It’s not enough that the defendant breached their duty. If they can prove that your injuries were caused by something other than the dog bite, you won’t win your case.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer if You’ve Suffered a Dog Bite in Charlotte

If you or your child are attacked by a dog in Charlotte, you should call our North Carolina personal injury law office right away. An experienced attorney can review your case and let you know if you have a claim for damages. They’ve handled cases like yours before and know what it takes to prove your damages.

Call today and schedule your free initial consultation with our office. If you aren’t able to come into the office, we can arrange to conduct your consultation via telephone.