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North Carolina Dog Bite Laws

North Carolina has several different laws that can help a person that has been injured by a dog.  Generally, the owner of the dog is the person who is responsible. In addition, North Carolina law even holds a person that is the keeper or one who is harboring a dangerous dog.

There are four main laws that protect innocent citizens from dog bites.  North Carolina dog bite laws can be complex.  It’s important to call a North Carolina dog bite attorney.

“One Bite Rule”

To win a dog bite case, we need to prove that the owner or keeper of the dog is at fault. Many North Carolina dog bite attorneys will refer to the “one bite rule.” However, there really two ways to prove fault: knowledge of the potential danger or violation of a leash law. The best way to prove the owner knew the dog was dangerous is to have evidence that the dog attacked or bit someone else prior to your injury. This is where the “one bite rule” comes from. Usually, this means an owner of a dog that has not been previously known to be vicious or dangerous cannot be liable for the actions of that dog if it is involved in an attack, bite or maiming.

It is possible to show the owner of the dog should have known the dog was dangerous through other aggressive behavior short of an actual attack. You may be able to receive compensation for your dog bite injury, if the canine was labeled as a “potentially dangerous” dog by animal control. A dog can be labeled “potentially dangerous” if he or she:

  • Has terrorized a person while roaming off the owner’s property
  • Has seriously, injured, maimed or killed another animal while on the owner’s property

If you can’t prove the owner should have known the dog was dangerous, you can still win if you can prove a violation of a leash law. Leash laws can be different in the counties, cities, and towns across North Carolina. North Carolina also has a statue that prohibits dogs over the age of six months to run “at large” at night without being accompanied by the owner. Owners that willingly violate this statue may be charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor and shall be liable for damages to any person injured or suffering loss to his property.

It is very important to call Animal Control shortly after you are attacked to report the incident. Dog bite victims should seek medical attention immediately after the attack. By law, any person that provides medical treatment for a dog bite must report it to the local health director.

Once you prove the dog owner or keeper was at fault, the next step is to find the money to pay for your injuries. Homeowner’s insurance is the most likely type of insurance that will cover injuries caused in a dog attack. There are many tragic cases where someone is seriously injured in a dog attack and the dog owner rents a home. Most renters don’t have any insurance coverage or assets. It’s possible to get coverage from the homeowner when the renter is at fault. However, that’s very difficult and requires a very specific set of facts. Sadly, in some cases there’s simply no money to pay for the injuries caused by a dog bite.

Because it’s difficult to prove fault and to find insurance coverage to pay for the injuries caused in a dog bite attack, it’s important for you to contact a North Carolina dog bite attorney quickly after your are attacked to discuss the facts of your case. Dog bite victims only have 3 years to file a lawsuit for their injuries.

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