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Injuries that result from being bitten by a dog can be quite serious. Bites can result in deep cuts, broken bones, and even sepsis. While some states have instituted “one bite rules” that essentially let the dog’s owner off the hook in the case of a first instance bite, North Carolina has not adopted these rules. Speak with a distinguished personal injury attorney about any harm sustained from a dog bite. In order to recover compensation under the strict scrutiny laws, the dog must be classified as “dangerous.” If this is not the case, the claim will be pursued under negligence laws. Chapel Hill dog bite lawyers work with clients who have been attacked by dogs to analyze their cases and fight for the fair compensation that they deserve.

North Carolina Dog Bite Laws

As discussed above, North Carolina does not have a “one bite rule” that allows first-time dog bite owners to plead ignorance for liability. However, there are still two avenues that may be pursued by injured parties. The first involves bites when the dog has been classified as “dangerous.” This is a legal category defined in North Carolina Statute 67-4.1 for a dog that has inflicted serious injury in the past.

Statute of Limitations

One must keep the statute of limitations in mind. This is a time limit within which a plaintiff must file an action in court. North Carolina Statute 1-52 defines this time limit as three years for all personal injury claims. For this reason, time is of the essence to contact a Chapel Hill dog bite attorney.

Defining Negligence in Chapel Hill

A municipal authority can rule that the dog is dangerous if it has had two or more incidents of violence. If the dog is determined to be dangerous, its owner is automatically liable for any injuries it caused by the dog under North Carolina Statute 67-4.4. A second means of recovery exists in the traditional negligence framework. The plaintiff and their Chapel Hill dog bite lawyer must meet five portions, or elements, in order to be successful.

These are:

  • Duty: Duty is a legal concept that creates a responsibility for some people to protect others from harm. This can be difficult in dog bite cases as, generally speaking, people do not have a responsibility to protect others from their dog.
  • Breach: Through an action, or failure to take action, the defendant failed in their duty to protect the plaintiff. This can be met by the defendant not properly restraining the dog. There are some statutes such as North Carolina Statute 67-12 that require certain actions from dog owners. If an owner violates this sort of statute, negligence can be assumed under the law.
  • Cause: The plaintiff must be able to show that the injuries were caused by the dog bite.
  • Scope: The injuries must have been foreseeable from the facts of the case.
  • Damages: The plaintiff must show physical damages.

Speaking with a Dog Bite Attorney

If you or your child has been bitten by a dog, our attorneys are here to help. By hearing your side of the story and investigating the history of the animal, we will be able to properly evaluate your case and determine under which theory of liability the case should be pursued. Defendants’ insurance companies often deny liability for their clients by claiming that the dog has no violent past or that the dog was provoked. However, Chapel Hill dog bite lawyers know the laws as they apply to these cases and will fight for the fair compensation that you deserve.