Do I Need a Lawyer If I Was Bitten by a Dog?

stockfresh_749112_the-guardian_sizeS-300x200With many American households owning at least one canine, chances are you know a friend, a relative or a neighbor who has a dog. Many dogs may appear to be friendly, but it is important to remember that any dog is capable of biting or attacking – even a dog that you are familiar with and have spent a significant amount of time around.

A dog attack is no trivial matter. Victims can face serious injuries such as:

• Deep cuts and lacerations
• Puncture wounds
• Broken bones if you are knocked to the ground by a dog
• Infections
• Disfigurement and scarring
• Loss of limbs such as fingers

If you or a loved one have been attacked by a vicious dog, the most pressing matter is for you to seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries. You may also consider filing a dog bite lawsuit in North Carolina or South Carolina to recover compensation for your injuries.

Dog Bite Laws in North Carolina and South Carolina

Dog bite laws in North Carolina differ markedly from those in South Carolina. Although both states have adopted “strict liability” laws (meaning that the dog owner can be held responsible for injuries caused by the dog regardless of whether the owner acted carelessly), the conditions under which these strict liability rules may be applied are not the same.

In North Carolina, a dog owner may be held responsible for the injuries his or her dog causes to another person if the dog is a “dangerous dog.” A dangerous dog is one that has attacked and killed a person or seriously injured a person in the past without provocation. In other words, it is a dog that the owner should know has dangerous and violent tendencies.

North Carolina’s law is sometimes referred to as a “one bite law.” Unless the dog owner had reason to know the animal was dangerous, a dog bite victim cannot recover damages under a strict liability theory.

In South Carolina, by contrast, a dog owner is strictly liable for the injuries his or her dog causes to others. It does not matter if the dog owner had reason to know of the animal’s tendency to bite or attack others. It may therefore be easier to recover damages for a dog bite under a strict liability theory in South Carolina than in North Carolina.

It is important to note that each state’s laws have important exceptions that can limit the application of the strict liability rule. An experienced dog bite attorney can help determine if any of these exceptions apply to you.

Contact a North Carolina and South Carolina Dog Bite Attorney Today

If you have been injured in a dog attack, it is important to pursue compensation quickly. Most dog bite lawsuits are paid out of the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy – not out of the owner’s pocket.  Because of that, pursuing a dog bite insurance claim against even a friend, relative or neighbor should not result in strained relationships.

The dog bite attorneys at Grimes Teich Anderson LLP can assist you in obtaining compensation you may deserve for your injuries following a dog bite attack. Contact us today at (800) 533-6845 and schedule your free case consultation today.

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