Dog bites and animal attacks represent some of the most gruesome personal injuries that are suffered by residents of Charlotte and our surrounding communities. Although the most common injuries are disfiguring scars from a dog bite, we have also represented clients that have sustained traumatic scarring from being clawed and clients that have sustained fractures requiring surgery when tripped or knocked to the ground by the aggressive animal.
Unlike a car accident claim, dog and animal attack claims are usually not investigated by the local police or animal control. Obtaining the facts necessary to prove your case is difficult, especially considering the nature of this area of law which makes it difficult to hold an owner responsible for the actions of their animal. It is imperative that you hire a law firm that is experienced in Charlotte dog bite law and has a stellar record representing the victims of Charlotte dog bites and animal attacks.
Charlotte dog bite lawyer Arlene Auger has been representing dog bite and animal attack victims in the Carolinas for over 20 years. “Our firm takes an aggressive approach to dog bite claims and makes sure that we start the investigation immediately. Dog bite claims in North Carolina are difficult to prove so it is imperative that we meet with our client right away and begin gathering evidence to prove our case. Documenting the bites by photograph and measurement, locating the animal and its owner, locating insurance, speaking with witnesses to the dog attack and even speaking with neighbors who are familiar with the dog’s personality, aggressive behavior and bite history are all important in proving your case. We want to make sure that we are the first responders, not the insurance carrier adjusters!” – Arlene Auger.
While North Carolina adheres to the archaic rule that dog owners are not liable for the first bite inflicted by their dog, owners will be held liable under certain situations. If a dog has previously been declared a “dangerous dog” by a municipality, North Carolina General Statutes section 67-4.1 holds the owner strictly liable for injuries inflicted by the dog. Additionally, an owner will be held liable for having knowledge of the general propensities for that particular breed. For example, the owner of a pit bull will be held liable for having the knowledge of the general propensities of a pit bull, and will be liable for injuries inflicted by that breed. On the other hand, if you are bitten by a stray dog, you have little legal recourse because your claim is against the dog’s owner or keeper. We have been successful in the past in locating the owner and applicable insurance coverage in cases where the unclaimed dog had a chip with the owner’s identity.
In North Carolina, it is up to each municipality to decide whether or not to enact a leash law. The City of Charlotte has a leash law, embodied in Part 2, Section 3, Chapter 71 of the Code of Ordinances. Charlotte’s leash law requires dogs to be on a leash or within a fence, regardless of whether it is on the owners’ property or not. It further provides that if the dog is on a leash, the holder of the leash must be “of sufficient age and physical size or ability” to restrain the dog. The law does allow for use of an “invisible fence” provided there is a visible, permanent sign, and also allows an adult, over the age of 18 to have the dog off leash on the owner’s property if the adult is immediately adjacent to the dog and the dog is obedient to that person’s voice commands.
Violation of Charlotte’s leash law does not automatically make a dog’s owner liable. North Carolina has laws pertaining to contributory negligence, meaning, if you have contributed any way to your injury, you may be prevented from recovering money damages for your injury.
If you or a family member has been the victim of a dog bite in Charlotte, our dog bite attorneys can help you with the following:
If you or a loved one is the victim of a dog bite, contact Auger & Auger for your free consultation.