Navigating the Complexities of Dog Bite Litigation in North Carolina 

At our Charlotte law office, we frequently encounter clients seeking answers about their legal rights following a dog bite. The common question we hear is, “Can I sue for a dog bite?” The answer is a definitive YES, but it’s crucial to understand the complexities of North Carolina’s dog bite laws. A scared dog right before he bites the man petting him.

Dog bites are more common than one might think, with nearly 4.5 million occurrences each year in the United States. In Charlotte, the laws surrounding dog bites provide a framework for seeking compensation under specific circumstances. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering suing for a dog bite in Charlotte. 

The “One Bite Rule” in North Carolina 

North Carolina dog bite incidents are predominantly guided by the ‘One Bite Rule’. This legal principle suggests that a dog owner may not automatically be held liable for their dog’s first bite, provided they had no prior indication or reason to believe that their dog posed a danger. The rule hinges on the owner’s knowledge of the dog’s behavior: if the dog has never bitten or exhibited aggressive behavior before, the owner might not be held responsible for the first incident.

However, this rule is not absolute. A dog is classified as ‘dangerous’ in North Carolina under certain conditions, such as if it has previously bitten someone, caused an injury, or killed another animal. Additionally, some breeds are intrinsically categorized as ‘potentially dangerous,’ which can negate the one-bite rule. If a dog is known to be dangerous or has shown aggressive tendencies prior to an attack, the owner could be held accountable regardless of whether it was the dog’s first bite. This approach underscores the responsibility of dog owners to be aware of and manage their pets’ behavior, ensuring public safety. 

Breed-Specific Considerations 

In some cases, the breed of the dog can influence a liability claim. Certain breeds, traditionally trained or bred for protection, may be viewed differently under the law. This includes breeds like Rottweilers, Pit-Bulls, Dobermans, German Shepherds, Chows and more. If you’re bitten by a dog known to be aggressive, dangerous, or belong to a breed considered inherently dangerous, you might have a substantial case. 

Potential Damages and Liabilities In Dog Bite Cases

If you’re bitten by a dog known to be aggressive or from a breed considered dangerous, you might have a strong case against the owner. In such situations, the owner may be responsible for your injuries. You can seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. 

It’s important to act quickly if you’re a dog bite victim. Get medical help right away, report the bite to the authorities, and gather evidence like photos and witness accounts. This evidence is crucial in proving the dog owner’s liability and helping you get compensation for your expenses and suffering. 

Exceptions to the Rule 

However, there are exceptions. For instance, if you were bitten while trespassing or approached a dog without the owner’s consent, your case might be dismissed under North Carolina’s doctrine of contributory negligence. 

The Importance of Documentation After a Dog Bite

As a dog bite victim, it’s imperative to document everything related to the incident. This includes seeking immediate medical attention, reporting the incident to local authorities (usually animal control), and collecting any available evidence, like photos of your injuries and witness statements. 

Call Our Experienced North Carolina Dog Bite Law Firm

It’s essential to remember that every dog bite case in North Carolina has its unique aspects. Therefore, consulting with a personal injury attorney who specializes in dog bite cases is often the wisest course of action. An experienced attorney can guide you through the legal process, helping you understand your rights and the potential for a successful claim.