Dog Bites and Other Animal Attacks
If you've been bitten or attacked by a dog in North Carolina, it is important to understand North Carolina law as it relates to these kinds of attacks. Compensation for medical bills, lost wages, scarring or disfigurement and pain and suffering may be available.
There are a variety of laws that must be considered in determining liability for animal attacks. State law, County regulations and city ordinances vary by locality.
Collecting compensation from owners of animals responsible for an attack can be difficult. Merely proving ownership of the animal involved is not enough. In North Carolina, for an owner of a dog to be responsible, it is necessary to demonstrate that the owner “knew or should have known” of an animals dangerous propensities prior to an attack. This is referred to as the “one free bite” rule. It is not necessary that the animal must have previously attacked someone in order to recover. If the animal exhibits behavior that would put the owner on notice of the dangerous nature of the animal, then the owner may be liable.
Dog attacks and other domestic animal bites are unfortunately a common occurrence. It is estimated that 2% of the population of the United States are bitten annually. Two-thirds of those attacked are bitten by pets of family or friends. A study conducted by the Center for Disease and Control in 2001 estimated that 368,245 people were treated in emergency rooms in the United States for nonfatal dog bite related injuries. The same study estimated that 42% of all attacks occurred among children 14 and under with the highest concentration occurring between the ages of five and nine.
While there is considerable disagreement as to what extent the breed of the dog plays in the frequency of attacks, there is little disagreement that attacks by certain breeds are more likely to lead to fatalities than others. In a 2000 study by the Center for Disease and Control, Pitbulls and Rottweilers were involved in 67% of fatalities during the previous 20 years.
If you've been injured as a result of a dog or other animal attack, you need the knowledge and experience of the attorneys at Price, Hargett, Petho & Anderson working for you. We have successfully handled animal attacks across the state of North Carolina since 1979. As always, consultation is free and there are no legal fees unless we recover compensation on your behalf.