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3 Steps to Take After a Dog Attack

While many dog owners view their dog as “man’s best friend,” sometimes these animals can turn on others. Dog attack injuries can place a significant emotional and financial burden on the victim. In the state of North Carolina, you can take legal action to lessen the impact after a dog bite. If you are a victim of a dog attack, here are the steps you should take to ensure the best outcome:

Identify the owner.

Identification of the dog’s owner will be necessary information in the event that you decide to sue. In addition, this information is helpful to your medical provider; it allows them to determine if the dog suffered from rabies or any other disease that might be transferable to you.

Document your injuries.

It will be helpful to document any injuries and torn or bloodied clothing resulting from the attack. If you decide to pursue compensation for your medical costs, this documentation can be helpful in your case. Take photos of the evidence for future reference. If there were any witnesses, be sure to identify them and obtain their contact information.

Report the incident.

If you seek medical attention as a result of your dog bite, North Carolina law requires that you report this incident to the local health director. Following that report, the animal must be confined for a 10-day observation period. An owner who refuses this observation can face a Class 2 misdemeanor.

If you decide to file a lawsuit, the statute of limitations in North Carolina is three years after the incident occurred.

One Bite Free

In North Carolina, dog bite law can affect the outcome of a case. North Carolina is considered a “one-free-bite” state, meaning that if this is the first incident of the dog biting someone, the owner essentially receives a free pass. There are exceptions to this rule, such as the dog’s age and if they are intentionally let loose at nighttime.

If the dog has bitten other people, it may be qualified for labeling as “potentially dangerous” by animal control. If this is the case, the victim usually has a better chance of receiving compensation for their medical expenses related to the bite. A dog may be considered potentially dangerous if the dog has terrorized someone off the owner’s property, seriously injured another animal while not on the owner’s property, or attacked an individual to the point of broken bones or injuries resulting in the need for hospitalization, disfiguring lacerations or plastic surgery.

If you qualify for compensation as a result of your attack, you may be able to sue for the following expenses:

  • Medical costs
  • Lost income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage
  • Loss of consortium

If you have been a victim of a dog attack and feel that your circumstances qualify for compensation, contact us. We will work to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.

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