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North Carolina Dog Bite Lawyer

North Carolina


Dog bites can have serious physical and emotional repercussions for victims, and navigating the legal landscape to seek compensation in North Carolina necessitates expertise. North Carolina dog bite lawyers specialize in representing individuals who have suffered injuries due to dog attacks. Their knowledge of state laws, including the one-bite rule and strict liability statutes, is crucial for clients to understand their rights and the complexities of pursuing a claim.

Understanding North Carolina Dog Bite Law

State Statutes and Liability

In North Carolina (NC), the principle of negligence plays a significant role in dog bite cases. The state does not have a specific dog bite statute; instead, it relies on case law and the concept of negligence to establish owner liability. Dog owners are held liable if it is proven that they knew or should have known about their dog’s aggressive tendencies. 

Strict Liability vs. One-Bite Rule

NC does not adhere strictly to the “one-bite rule” but does incorporate elements of it. The “one-bite rule” suggests an owner cannot be held liable for a dog bite if the dog has never bitten anyone before or shown aggression. However, if a dog is deemed to be dangerous or if the attack occurred while the dog was not on the owner’s property, strict liability may apply. This means the owner could be accountable regardless of the animal’s past behavior or the owner’s knowledge of such behavior.

Role of Local Ordinances

Local ordinances in NC can augment state law by establishing additional rules regarding dog ownership and liability. Cities and counties may have breed-specific legislation or dangerous dog laws that impact what is considered negligence or a dangerous breed. Local ordinances may dictate how dogs should be confined or when a dog is considered at-large, which can affect a liability claim.

What to Do After a Dog Bite Incident

Immediate Steps

After a dog bite, it’s important to act swiftly and carefully. Begin by putting distance between yourself and the dog to prevent further injury. Identify the dog and its owner, ensuring you have contact information. Next, clean the wound gently with soap and water to reduce the risk of infection. If possible, gather evidence at the scene; take photographs of your injuries, the location, and the dog if it’s safe to do so.

Medical Attention and Documentation

Seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if the injury seems minor. Dog bites can lead to infections, rabies, or more severe complications. Inform the medical professional about the bite so it can be reported appropriately, especially in areas like Raleigh, Durham, and Fayetteville, where local health departments may track animal attack incidents. Documentation of your injuries, treatment, and any hospitalization is also vital. Keep records of all medical expenses, and notes on pain and suffering or emotional distress caused by the incident.

Consulting a Dog Bite Lawyer

If you’re considering seeking compensation, consulting a dog bite lawyer can be immensely beneficial. Many attorneys offer a free consultation to discuss the specifics of your case, including the likelihood of recovering funds for medical expenses, scarring, or pain and suffering. A seasoned dog bite attorney will be well-versed in state laws and can guide you through the process of filing an insurance claim and, if necessary, a lawsuit. An attorney can help ensure that your legal rights are fully represented and that you receive just compensation for the consequences of the animal attack.

The Legal Process and Your Rights

Filing a Claim

To initiate a legal dispute following a dog bite, clients must file a claim. This involves the preparation of necessary documentation that may include medical reports, an accident report, and any evidence of fault and liability. The law firm handling the case will use its experience in personal injury claims to draft and file this documentation.

Negotiation With Insurance Companies

Many dog bite cases are resolved out of court through settlement negotiations. Experienced attorneys will advocate on the client’s behalf, contesting any attempts by the insurance company to undervalue the claim. The goal is to reach an agreement that covers all client losses, including property damage and any long-term effects of the injury.

Going to Trial

If a settlement cannot be reached, the case may go to trial. Experienced lawyers from a seasoned law firm will strive to prepare a robust case, calling upon evidence and witness testimony to support the client’s demand for compensation. Taking a case to trial can be a complex process, but with knowledgeable legal representation, clients can be confident in their pursuit of insurance and civil justice.

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Special Considerations for Dog Bite Cases

Dangerous Dog Breeds

In the context of dog bite liability, certain breeds are often labeled as dangerous, which can influence a case. North Carolina law identifies breeds such as Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and German Shepherds as potentially dangerous due to a higher propensity for aggression. This classification can affect the handling of a dog bite incident both in and out of court. A personal injury attorney can provide a free accident report to a victim and will typically examine specific breed behaviors and any previous aggressive incidents to establish the dog’s history.

Dog Bites Involving Children

When a dog bite involves a child, the stakes are high, and the law is especially protective. Children may not recognize warning signs from dogs, leading to unexpected attacks, often to the face or neck. These injuries can result in significant trauma or, in severe cases, wrongful death. A skilled NC dog bite attorney will factor this vulnerability into the case, striving for compensation that addresses both immediate and future medical needs such as amputations or reconstructive surgeries.

Compensation for Long-Term Effects

Dog bite injuries can result in lasting physical and emotional scars. Injuries could lead to a range of long-term issues, including disfigurement, nerve damage, and psychological trauma. It’s the responsibility of the personal injury law firm to accurately assess the full amount of damages. This includes negotiating with homeowners’ insurance policies to ensure that the victim receives compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, especially in events categorized as work accidents. Statutes like the one-bite rule in Raleigh, NC, can also affect the outcome, depending on whether the dog had previously bitten someone or acted in a way that could be considered dangerous.

Client Testimonials

They WILL take care of you.

This was the easiest and best experience I've experienced with a law firm. They represented me aggressively and handled my case with finesse and diligence. I highly recommend anyone who is having any issues to reach out to Mike Agruss Law Firm. They WILL take care of you.

-Victor

He went above and beyond

Mike called me on the weekend to answer a question I had emailed him on a Friday I wasn't expecting to hear from him until Monday. He went above and beyond anything I could have ever expected. Not only is he a excellent attorney he is also a kind, caring and a patient person. I was truly blessed by him, his paralegal, and this law firm.

-Sean

Thank you everyone!

Yes this team is incredible. They were not only professional and intelligent and thorough, they demonstrated the highest level of care and compassion for what was otherwise a really demoralizing and confusing experience. My case was long and difficult and they kept me in the loop all along the way and brought it to excellent resolution. So grateful to their team especially Rachael who took my first flustered call on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to partner Jim who carried the case across the line. Oh, and they got a great settlement! Thank you everyone!

-Jared

I can’t say thank you enough!

I was injured and tried handling things on my own with insurance. My first call it was apparent they weren’t going to help me even though I wasn’t at fault. I was referred to Mike Agruss Law and the experience made what was a nightmare turn into an easy and peaceful experience. They handled everything for me and made sure my medical bills were paid, and I was compensated for loss of wages and more. I came to them in tears, shaken up, and scared. They comforted me and took care of me and my family. I can’t say thank you enough! Thank you, Rachael Mitchell, Jackie Laino, and Ryan Platt!!

-Rochelle

Highly recommend

We had a wonderful experience with Mike Agruss Law! They were honest and took care of our issue quickly and efficiently. Highly recommend.

-Sarah

Thank you!

Mike and his team were compassionate, detailed, and displayed excellent professionalism. This is the 1st time I needed a lawyer for legal services. Mike and his team walked me through the process. Agruss law firm are real experts. They fought for me and were able to settle my case. I received more than expected. Thanks to Mike and his team. I felt value and appreciate by them. Thank you!

-Lavone

I highly recommend Mike Agruss and his staff.

The attorneys at Agruss are attentive, hard-working, and genuinely care for their clients and their best interests. I have seen them work tirelessly to ensure the best outcome for clients. I highly recommend Mike Agruss and his staff.

-Kristin

Communication was top notch

Mike Agruss Law was extremely easy to work with. They helped me on two different times. Communication was top notch. If ever in need I would use again and have recommended to several people.

-Tara

I highly recommend him and his firm!

Mike Agruss is an extremely knowledgeable personal injury attorney who puts his client's best interests first. Whenever I reach out to him with questions, he always gets back to me right away, which is extremely refreshing when dealing with an attorney. I highly recommend him and his firm!

-Trista

Mike Agruss Law was incredibly helpful

Mike Agruss Law was incredibly helpful and tenacious at fighting for me with my case. I am beyond satisfied with my results and cannot recommend them enough for all the hard work they put in. They really care about what they do and care about their clients and it can be seen in the work they do. All that is left to say was that my case was a win-win all around very happy with the results. Please consider them if you have any issues.

-Brandy

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