The answer that most Matthews dog bite attorneys will give you is - it depends. This is because there are multiple theories of liability each of which has its exceptions and limitations. As such, this area of law is quite complex, so if you or your kids were bitten or injured in any way by someone else's dog, it is imperative to speak with a Matthews dog bite attorney who will evaluate your case and explain all possible legal options.
Unlike other states, North Carolina follows the One Bite Rule with respect to dog bite liability. Under this rule, the dog's owner does not automatically become liable for injuring someone if his or her animal has not exhibited violent behavior in the past. There are, however, exceptions under which you may still recover for all of your injuries if the owner can be held strictly liable. In addition, North Carolina is a contributory negligence state, making it even more difficult for some victims to recover compensation.
The following list details some of the possible theories under which you may be able to recover compensation for dog bite injuries:
North Carolina General Statute, specifically Chapter 67, among other things, covers matter related to owner's liability of dangerous dogs. Under section 67-12 of North Carolina General Statutes, the dog's owner in North Carolina will be held strictly liable for damages inflicted to a human being or to property without a showing of negligence if the victim can establish that:
In North Carolina, victims of dog bites can recover compensation under the traditional ground of negligence. Negligence can be defined as failure to exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in like or similar circumstances. As such, if a person's conduct in a given situation doesn't measure up to conduct of an ordinary prudent person, then that person is deemed to have been negligent. North Carolina generally follows the traditional common law rules of Negligence.
In North Carolina, to establish a case of negligence, the plaintiff must prove:
Another theory of recovery that a dog bite victim can pursue in North Carolina is negligence per se. Under this doctrine, a dog owner or someone who was entrusted with the custody of the animal can be held liable if he or she violated an animal control law or an ordinance. For instance, under Section 3-71. (Restraint of animals) - "It shall be unlawful for any person owning or having possession, charge, custody or control of any animal, excluding cats, to keep such animal on his own premises or off the premises, unless such animal is under sufficient physical restraint to controls the animal, or within a vehicle or adequately contained by a fence on the premises or other secure enclosure." Click here to read the entire Matthews Code of Ordinances.
In North Carolina, to prove a claim of negligence per se, a victim must show:
In North Carolina, an action for dog bite must be commenced within three. The three year period starts running on the date of the dog bite. As such, if you commence the suit after the three year deadline, your suit will likely be thrown out.
Just like in other negligence actions, if you were able to prove all of the requisite elements, then you will be entitled to all of the special damages along with the pain and suffering. Specifically, you will be able to recover any lost wages, loss of future income, property damage, mileage of commute to doctor's offices, and most importantly pain and suffering.
This blog is not to be construed as legal advice. We strongly encourage you to seek the advice of a North Carolina Personal Injury Attorney if you incur injuries due to the fault of others who were texting and driving or in all other matters where you incur injuries due to the fault of others. To schedule a consultation today, contact Panchenko Law Firm.