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Many dogs in Wake Forest may be ideal pets, but it only takes one improperly restrained animal to inflict serious injury onto an innocent victim. Besides leaving you with medical bills and other financial consequences, dog bite injuries can have serious long-term psychological effects.

Dog owners should be held liable when their dog causes an injury, and a Wake Forest dog bite lawyer could assist you with accomplishing that if you or a loved one suffered injuries caused by an animal attack. When you work with a well-versed personal injury attorney who understands the unique aspects of these cases, you could receive guidance throughout the process and help to pursue a positive outcome for your unique situation.

Dog Laws in Wake Forest

North Carolina state law dedicates an entire chapter to the responsibilities of dog ownership, including liability for harm caused by dogs. Chapter 67 of the North Carolina Code holds dog owners liable in situations where:

  • Their dog kills or injures an animal on another person’s property
  • They fail to put down a rabid or mad dog
  • They leave a dog unattended without proper confinement
  • They allow a “dangerous dog” to leave their own property without a leash and muzzle or other secure restraint
  • Their “dangerous dog” inflicts injuries or property damage
  • They permit a dog to run free at night

North Carolina General Statutes §67-4.4 specifies that if a dog is considered “dangerous,” the owner would be held strictly liable for injuries or property damage inflicted by that dog.

Besides creating civil liability, violation of some of these provisions constitutes a criminal offense as well. A Wake Forest dog bite attorney could explain how these laws may be used to establish liability in a particular situation.

Strict Liability for Dog Bites Versus Negligence

In many situations where an individual seeks to recover compensation for an injury caused by another person, the injured individual must demonstrate that the person causing the injury acted negligently, meaning they failed to act in a responsible manner. In addition, the injured individual must show that the lack of responsibility by a dog owner was the cause of the harm.

The Strict Liability Standard

In a case based on strict liability, the defendant may still be held liable for the harm the plaintiff suffered even if they took every conceivable precaution. This means that in situations where a dog owner is held to a strict liability standard, it is not necessary to prove that the dog owner was legally negligent.

The strict liability standard applies when a dog is considered “dangerous”. Under N.C. Gen. Stat. §67-4.1, a dangerous dog is one known to have killed or seriously injured someone without provocation.

A dog can also be deemed dangerous because of other past behaviors such as approaching someone off the owner’s property in a “vicious or terrorizing manner,” severely injuring another animal while off the owner’s property, or biting someone—regardless of location—in a manner causing severe injuries such as broken bones or disfigurement. Among other services, an experienced dog bite lawyer in Wake Forest could present evidence to show that a dog meets the legal standards to be considered dangerous.

Reach Out to a Wake Forest Dog Bite Attorney

Although they say that every dog gets one free bite, that is not always true under North Carolina’s liability laws. In some situations, an owner may be held liable even if a dog has not been known to bite before. Moreover, a dog owner may be held liable not only for dog bites but also other injuries caused by dogs, such as those stemming from a dog knocking someone over.

Dog owners found civilly liable for their pet’s actions may be required to pay compensation to cover expenses such as medical bills and lost income due to time missed from work. In addition, someone injured by a dog attack may be able to pursue compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other intangible injuries. If you or a family member suffered an injury caused by a dog, consult with a Wake Forest dog bite lawyer to learn whether you may be entitled to financial restitution.