Sometimes, “man’s best friend”, isn’t. When dogs bite, like all personal injury cases, immense complexities arise. As your attorneys, we have the experience and knowledge to tackle these complexities. A study conducted in 2016-2017 showed that 60.2 million households in the United States own a dog with there being 89.7 million dogs living as pets. (Source American Pet Products Association’s 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey). Dog ownership laws vary from state to state, but in North Carolina, they can be found in North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 67 and often are supplemented by each county and city’s local ordinances.
When is Someone Liable
As in all personal injury cases, there has to be liability. A dog bite is examined under North Carolina’s strict contributory negligence standard. If you somehow contributed to your injuries, then you are unable to collect. Examples of this would be if the dog was contained in an area and you willingly enter that area or if you somehow goaded the dog to attack you. Both of these situations are very fact specific. If you are able to prove that you did not contribute to the injuries, the next step is finding out who is at fault.
Who is Liable
Obviously, you can’t pursue the dog for your injuries. Typically, it is the dog’s owner that will be liable but there may be others at fault as well. It all comes down to who had control of the animal at the time of the injury and if they failed to exercise reasonable control of that animal. If someone brings their dog to your house, you could be on the hook as well as the owner. Often, homeowner’s insurance will provide coverage for injuries, but that depends on the individual’s policy. Finding that coverage requires skill and experience and the attorneys and staff at the Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor know how to leave no stone unturned to make you whole.
What can You Expect From a Dog Bite Claim
Being bit by a dog is a scary thing. Many of us (myself included) love dogs and couldn’t imagine a life without one. If you are bitten by a dog, there is no common injury like a car accident with neck and back pain. The injury could be to hands, arms, legs, even face. A bite is not only something that tears tissue, but also has a crush aspect as well which can cause damage to the bones, ligaments, muscles and nerves. Dogs also carry bacteria in their mouths which can cause infection, and often, one has to be checked for rabies. Treatment for a dog bite can be surgery to repair the wound, wound care to prevent infection, physical therapy if there is damage to the muscles or nerves, and mental therapy to help with the fear and post-traumatic stress of the attack. Once the injury heals, then one has to potentially deal with scarring from the bite which may or may not be corrected with plastic surgery, and also continued therapy for the mental trauma of being bit by something many consider to be friendly. Making sure that every aspect of your claim has been thoroughly investigated and accounted for requires a law firm that has been through it before and is willing to fight for you. With over 100 years of experience and four office located in Charlotte, Hickory and Greenville, North Carolina and Columbia, South Carolina, The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor are ready for that fight.
What Happens to the Dog
If a dog attacks someone or another pet, the best thing to do is call the police and have animal control handle the animal. They will also fill out a dog bite report which allows you to have documentation of the attack by a law enforcement body. If animal control arrives, the dog will be quarantined and tested for rabies. The dog has to be quarantined in a different county though. If the attack happens in Catawba County, the dog will have to go to Lincoln or Cabarrus County. Once the results of the rabies test are known, if negative, then there will be a hearing by the county or municipal Board to determine if the dog will be deemed “dangerous” or “potentially dangerous.” If it the dog’s first bite, typically they will receive their one of these classifications and be allowed to be returned to the owner. If this is the dog’s second attack, or was previously designated “dangerous” or “potentially dangerous”, then the dog will be destroyed.
Attacks on Other Animals
Sometimes, it is your dog or other pet that is the victim of the dog attack. If so, then the owner of the attacking dog will be liable for any medical treatment for the injured pet and a similar hearing will be held to determine how the attacking dog will be classified in the future. Although we all love our pets, they are still considered our property so there is no pain and suffering damages associated with a dog bite on your pet.
The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor have represented victims of dog bites, both human and animal, for many years. Recoveries for our clients have varied but the hard work and dedication of the firm was and continues to be the same. When you or someone you love is hurt by a dog, The Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor are equipped for your case whether you are in Hickory, Charlotte, Columbia or Greenville.