You can encounter dogs in all sorts of places across North Carolina. Dogs may run on the beach or roam in parks, especially those with areas allocated for dog socialization or walking. You likely also have many dogs living in your neighborhood, some of whom may not have proper fencing or restraints to keep them separate from the public.
Whether you visit a friend at their home or go for a walk to your local library, the potential exists to cross paths with a dog that turns out to be aggressive or violent. Dogs can cause severe injuries and even fatalities depending on the breed of the dog, the nature of the attack and the age and health of the victim. Knowing how North Carolina views dog bite attacks can help you determine what options you have after suffering a vicious animal attack.
North Carolina law creates liability for negligence of owners of dangerous animals
Not every dog bite attack will give the victim the right to take legal action against the dog’s owner. Especially in a situation where the victim trespassed on someone else’s property or otherwise violated the law prior to the dog bite incidents, there may not be grounds in that situation for the victim to hold the owner accountable.
In fact, even in situations where an individual was visiting someone after an invitation into their home or got bit in the park, the victim will have to demonstrate either that the owner was negligent or that the animal itself was dangerous in order to bring a claim against the owner.
A previous history of attacks or aggression, as well as signage advising visitors to “Beware of the Dog” could all provide support for a claim that the owner knew the dog was dangerous. Inadequate fencing or failing to restrain an animal are examples of negligence that could give rise to claims in some cases.
Dog bite attacks may fall under premises liability
If a dog bite attack occurs either in someone’s home or at a business where the dog was permitted to interact with people, premises liability insurance may cover the expenses related to the incident.
Both premises liability insurance for businesses and homeowners insurance typically extend protections against liability incurred because of a dog bite to the policyholder. That means that the victim may not need to file a lawsuit but instead a claim against an insurance policy. That solution is often a better one, particularly if you have a friendly relationship with the owner of the animal involved.