We all love our furry friends, but there are times when a dog can get vicious. Ultimately, the owner is responsible for the actions of their pets. If you are the victim of a dog bite or attack, you deserve compensation.
In most cases, dog bite victims seek compensation through the owner’s homeowners insurance policy. While claiming a policy may seem simple enough, the reality is that insurance companies want to minimize payouts whenever possible. Fortunately, the team at Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys is here to help.
As former defense lawyers, we know the other side’s tactics and can take steps to ensure that our clients get the compensation they deserve. Our attorneys have years of experience working with dog bite victims in Wilmington, North Carolina, and the surrounding area. Call us today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team.
United States Dog Bite Statistics
Here are some dog bite statistics for the United States.
- Every year, approximately 1,000 Americans require emergency medical care for dog bites.
- About 9,500 people in the United States are hospitalized for dog bites annually.
- Dog bites account for approximately 33 fatalities a year.
What is the North Carolina Dog Bite Laws?
Dog bite laws vary from state to state. In North Carolina, a pet owner will be responsible for the actions of a dangerous dog that causes injuries. A dangerous dog is defined as follows:
A dog that has caused injury or death without provocation.
A dog that approaches a person, not on the owner’s property in a terrorizing manner.
A dog that has injured or killed another animal, not on the owner’s property.
There are exceptions to dog bite laws. For instance, a victim may not be compensated if he or she provoked the dog or if they were on the owner’s property without permission. If a law enforcement dog bites while in the line of duty, the victim may be unable to sue for damages.
Also, landlords may be found liable if their tenants’ dog attacks someone, especially if the landlord had prior knowledge of the dog’s vicious propensity. There are also dog control laws that vary in different North Carolina cities and counties including leash laws and other regulations regarding handling and liability.
The One Bite Rule
The one-bite rule is in effect in North Carolina. This means that the dog is not considered dangerous unless it has previously exhibited vicious behavior. However, there are exceptions to this rule and a dog owner may also be held responsible for attacks if the following circumstances exist:
If a dog is out on its own late at night and damages property or causes injury, the owner will be responsible.
A dog may also be considered dangerous if it was trained for fighting or if it follows a person for more than 50 feet barking or growling.
What Are Common Dog Bite Injuries?
Depending on the breed, dogs can be quite strong. And when they bite down, they can cause serious injuries breaking the skin and possibly causing infection. Here are some injuries that may occur.
Broken bones may occur if the dog bites down hard or knocks the victim over.
Lacerations and puncture wounds.
Other impact wounds that may result from being knocked down including TBI’s, spinal cord injuries, cuts, and bruises.
Infections and diseases including rabies, bacterial sepsis, and tetanus.
What to Do After a Dog Bites
There are several steps to take after a dog bite occurs. Here is what’s recommended.
Seek Medical Help
After a dog bite occurs, you may not think you are seriously injured, but it’s always a good idea to get checked out by a medical professional. You never know if the dog has rabies or passed on some other type of bacterial infection. A doctor will treat you so you will not get sick from the bite. Getting medical help is also important because it will tie your injuries to the bite. If you hold off on seeing a doctor, your condition may get worse over time.
Find Out Who the Owner Is
Finding out who the owner is will help you identify who to target in your claim and it will also give you some insight into the dog’s medical history, i.e. whether the dog has rabies, etc.
North Carolina dog bite laws mandate that dogs that bite humans be confined for 10 days. If owners refuse to release their dogs for confinement, they will face a Class 2 misdemeanor. The dog may be confined at home or with authorities.
If the dog is a stray, officials will want to catch it so it can be observed for 10 days.
Report the Incident to the Local Health Director
North Carolina law requires dog bite victims to report incidents to the local health director. This will identify the dog as dangerous and may prevent future attacks.
Call the Police or Animal Control Officials
Call the police and animal control officials and tell them what happened. They will create a report that can serve as a strong piece of evidence in your case. Provide contact information for the owner if you have it.
If you feel well enough, use your phone to take pictures of the accident including photos of all damage and injuries. These may also be used as evidence.
Get the Contact Information of Witnesses
If anyone was around to see the attack, be sure to get their contact information. They may be able to testify on your behalf.
Secure the Dog
If possible, secure the dog in a fenced yard, garage, or other enclosure.
Why Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys Can Help With Your North Carolina Dog Bite Claim
A dog bite claim is not always cut and dry. It may be difficult to track down the owner and establish blame. A good lawyer will help you build a strong case, so you get the compensation you deserve.
Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys have extensive experience representing dog bite clients in the Wilmington, North Carolina area. This experience is also bolstered by the knowledge and insight the Horton & Mendez team has about insurance companies and the methods they use. Our team knows their playbook and we do everything in our power to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. We are known for treating the people we represent with a high level of care and respect. We will stop at nothing to see to it that justice is served.
Dog bites can greatly reduce the quality of life. Don’t let negligent pet owners get away with it. Call Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys to schedule a free consultation and look forward to getting the closure you need.