Dog Bite Lawyers
Injuries sustained from dog bites or other animal attacks can leave long-lasting physical and emotional scars that can require years of recovery. This is especially true if the dog bite victim is a child. Under North Carolina premises liability law, pet owners are responsible for ensuring that their animals do not attack others and inflict these kinds of serious injuries. If you are hurt by someone else’s dog or other pet, then you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills and other damages. However, in North Carolina, you and your dog bite lawyer typically must demonstrate that the animal was dangerous, or the owner was negligent. The only exception is if you are harmed by a “wild animal” that cannot be domesticated, such as a snake, that someone keeps as a pet.
Have you or a loved one been bitten by a dog or any other domestic animal? Did you have to seek medical attention for the bite? Let the law firm of Riddle & Brantley and their team of premises liability lawyers assist you in determining the details of your case. Our North Carolina attorneys all love dogs (especially our spokes-dog, Coconut), but we also know that not all pets are gentle and loving. If a negligent owner or dangerous animal caused serious injuries to your or a loved one, we can help. Our personal injury lawyers have a proven track record of success and can guide you through the entire litigation process.
What are the Most Common Causes of Dog Bites?
Dog bites are the most common type of animal attacks that may be grounds for a premises liability claim. Attacks, even from small dogs, can cause a variety of injuries, ranging from minor scratches to disfiguring lacerations. In many cases, the resulting scars, physical and mental, can be permanent. The dog does not necessarily have to actually bite the victim for the victim to suffer injuries and recover. We have handled several cases where dogs chased our clients, causing them to fall and suffer serious injuries. We have also successfully resolved cases where dogs entered the road and caused motorcycle riders to wreck and sustain serious injuries.
The three most common liability situations involving dog bites are:
- Wrongfully keeping a vicious dog. This happens when a person knowingly owns or keeps a dog that is vicious or has a vicious propensity. Whether the dog is, in fact, vicious or has a vicious propensity depends on the previously established facts and circumstances particular to the day of the attack. Generally, you must prove that the owner/keeper knew or at least should have known that the dog was dangerous. This can sometimes be difficult to prove unless the dog has a documented history of attacks. However, Riddle & Brantley has been successful in the past by showing that a certain dog displayed other warning signs of viciousness such as prior bites, attacking other dogs or aggressively growling at people.
- Violation of a leash ordinance. An owner or keeper of a dog is under a duty to follow laws enacted for the safety of others. This includes leash laws, which many North Carolina towns and cities enforce. If a dog injures someone while in violation of a leash ordinance, then the owner/keeper should be liable.
- Strict liability for injuries inflicted by a “dangerous dog.” A dangerous dog is one that has, without provocation, killed or inflicted severe injury on a person. Animal Control Authorities typically make this determination. If a dangerous animal inflicts dog bite injuries again, then the owner is strictly liable for the damages. Strict liability means that the victim need not demonstrate negligence on the part of the owner or keeper of the dog in order to recover.
Do North Carolina Dog Bite Laws Apply to Other Types of Animal Attacks?
In general, the same premises liability laws that apply to dogs also apply to other animals. If you sustain serious injuries from any kind of domestic animal or pet, then you may have grounds for a legal claim. However, you usually still have to demonstrate that the owner was negligent, in violation of a law or ordinance or knew that the animal was vicious. On the other hand, if you sustain injuries from a wild animal that someone is keeping as a pet, then different liability rules apply.
Our premises liability lawyers have represented animal attack cases involving:
- Cats. Most of the rules relating to dog bites also apply to cats, which may cause injury by biting or clawing. These attacks are far rarer than dog bite cases. However, our law firm has handled a few cases involving cat attacks and bites. The biggest difference that we have seen is that the risk of serious infection increases in cat attack cases. We have successfully represented clients who have been attacked by cats in previous cases.
- Wild Animals. The rules of liability for wild animals are different from dogs and other pets. The owner/keeper of a wild animal is strictly liable for injuries inflicted by it. Strict liability means that no negligence must be shown. The owner is responsible for any damages so long as the victim did nothing, voluntarily or consciously, to cause the injury. Wild animals include snakes, monkeys and any other animal that can never be fully tamed. In the past, we have successfully represented a case involving bites from a monkey.
Questions about Dog Bite Cases? Contact Our North Carolina Law Firm Today
Often the biggest hurdles to overcome in animal attack cases are locating the owner/keeper of the animal and determining whose insurance coverage will pay for the injuries. Time is not on your side in this regard, so you should contact a dog bite lawyer right away. As soon as you call Riddle & Brantley, we can begin to investigate the attack. We can locate and obtain any and all animal control reports, talk to witnesses and identify the correct owner/keeper. We will also locate and notify any available insurance company of the claim.
If you or a loved one sustained dog bite injuries, then you may be eligible to receive compensation. Dogs are often wonderful, loving pets, but owners must take responsibility when their negligence results in an animal attack. Riddle & Brantley, also handles claims involving other animal attacks, including those by wild animals kept as pets.
With office locations in Goldsboro, Raleigh, Kinston, and Jacksonville, our lawyers serve injury victims across North Carolina. For your convenience, we offer free consultations and flexible appointment times. Also, our lawyers are happy to make home, hospital, and nursing home visits to discuss your case.
Contact us today by calling (800) 525-7111 or simply complete our free case evaluation form.