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Dogs bite someone about 45 million times each year, and infections occur in one of every five bite incidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Most dog bites produce minor injuries, but some dog attacks result in disfigurement, and sometimes the victims, especially young children, are killed. Children between ages five and nine are at the most risk of being bitten.

North Carolina law allows people who are bitten by a dog to claim damages by taking legal action. A Burlington dog bite lawyer can commit to holding dog owners and controllers liable and achieving full compensation for you. Get in touch with a qualified personal injury attorney who can fight for you.

Reasons Dogs Bite

Some dog breeds have more aggressive tendencies than others. Dogs that bite are often reacting to stress of some sort, or at times they feel threatened, frightened, or sick. Dogs are very protective of their owners and territory, and when nursing puppies, for example.

A provoked dog will bite in self-defense and a dog playing can become excited enough to bite or nip. Most dog bites happen at home and the likelihood of an attack is greater in homes with more than two dogs, says the CDC. The most common claims against homeowners’ insurance policies are for dog bites.

North Carolina Dog Bite Laws

North Carolina’s dog bite statutes do not apply to puppies younger than six months. Beyond that age, the dog owner or a person who has control of a dog, such as a boarding business or even a dog walker, can be liable for the injury.

It is illegal in North Carolina for a dog to run loose unaccompanied at night, so the dog owner is responsible for any damages because the law, a class three misdemeanor, was broken.

Dogs that have previously bitten someone or that have been declared dangerous by animal control officials fall under the “one-bite rule.” The person bitten must have had no knowledge that the dog has bitten someone before or tried to do so to prevail in a damages lawsuit. A Burlington dog bite lawyer can attempt to prove that the victim had no prior knowledge of the dog’s status as a dangerous dog.

Determining Negligence in Dog Bite Cases

North Carolina’s contributory negligence doctrine is used to determine responsibility for a dog bite. Negligence is failing to act as a reasonable person would have acted in the same situation, such as failing to effectively control the dog to prevent it from biting someone.

Dog owners have a legal duty to keep harm from happening to someone around the dog. An act that breaches that duty, such as leaving a gate open allowing the dog to leave a confined area, must be the reason that the injury occurred and medical and other expenses resulted.

However, if a visitor or stranger provokes the dog, that person has some responsibility in causing the dog to bite. Under contributory negligence, anyone who is at fault for an incident cannot claim any damages.

Contact a Burlington Dog Bite Attorney

Meeting with a Burlington dog bite lawyer in a free, no-obligation consultation can determine if a case against the dog owner or controller can win damages. The lawyer will explain how the circumstances of the bite meet the requirements of the law. If you have been bitten by a dog, retain a dog bite attorney and start building your case.