While dogs maintain a reputation for being man’s best friend, more than 4 million people become victims of dog bites every year in the U.S. While owners rarely want to acknowledge the harm that their beloved pets cause, North Carolina’s laws hold pet owners liable for any subsequent injuries.
North Carolina operates under the “one-bite” law for dog attacks. This law forbids you from pursuing a lawsuit against a dog owner if their pet has never bitten anyone previously. Exceptions to the one-bite law include:
- The dog’s history includes violent or dangerous actions.
- Evidence demonstrates the owners should have known about the dog’s potential to cause harm.
- The animal has previously caused significant property damage.
“Potentially dangerous” dogs
Dogs who do not fall under the one-bite law may be labeled as “potentially dangerous.” Typically, you may pursue legal actions after being bitten by dogs labeled as potentially dangerous. To receive the label of potentially dangerous, a dog must:
- Terrorize or threaten someone off of its own property
- Kill or injure other animals
- Cause significant injuries to people, such as disfigurement or broken bones.
Legal exceptions to dog bite liability
Some dogs belong to a category of ownership that prevents you from suing their owners if you are bitten. These types of dogs biting you typically prevent you from pursuing legal action against the owner:
- Law enforcement dogs
- Dogs in the middle of a legal hunt
- Dogs performing a hunting, herding, or protection task on their owner’s property
- Dogs that bit you while you were in the middle of trying to commit a crime against the property or its owner.
Dog bites can cause serious medical problems and even death. If you or a loved one sustain a dog bite, you may be able to seek compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages.