Millions of people are bitten by dogs every year in the United States, approximately 4.5 million people according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As many as 800,000 people suffer from dog bites that need to be treated by a medical professional. So how does liability work in these common cases of injury? The dog owners usually end up with the blame, but not in every case.
North Carolina is one of 19 states to have a “One-Bite” rule. What this means is that a dog owner is responsible for any injury the dog inflicts if and only if the owner should have been aware that the dog posed a danger. Of course, this can mean that the dog has bitten someone before, and the owner should have taken precautions accordingly. But the one-bite rule does not mean that that bites are the only warnings of danger.
For example, the first time a dog bites someone, the owner would still be liable if the dog has growled at people and only attempted to bite them before. This is certainly adequate warning to an owner that a dog could be a danger to others. An owner could also be a liable for a first dog bite if the pet is recognized as a dangerous dog under state law, the term “dangerous” being applied to certain breeds.
This could mean that if someone owns a dog that is a pit bull, for example, the owner should be automatically be aware that the animal is a potential danger to others. Of course, there can be other ways that an owner should have known his or her dog might bite someone.
If you think you might have a personal injury case from a dog’s attack, then contact the Whitley Law Firm today. You can have experience and excellence on your side when you work with one of our Durham personal injury lawyers.