North Carolina Legal Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When you or a loved one is injured in an accident, no one hands you a pamphlet containing all of the information you need to understand your case. In this section we strive to answer the basic questions that everyone has in the time following a car accident, on-the-job injury, medical malpractice, abuse, or other accident.
If you don't find the answers to all of your North Carolina injury questions here, we encourage you to contact our Raleigh injury lawyers for answers to questions specific to your case. The consultation is free and confidential.
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Do I Need an Attorney's Help for My Dog Bite Case?
By hiring an attorney to assist you and your dog bite case, you can:
- feel at peace knowing the attorney wants to see you receive the compensation you need
- be informed of your rights as a victim of a dog bite,
- and have your case settled quickly
You may want to consider hiring an attorney for your dog bite case if:
- The owner's insurance company is not compensating you for your injuries,
- Your injuries caused life-altering problems,
- You had to see a medical professional about your injuries, or
- You had to have surgery.
If you believe you have a dog bite case and you want to speak with an attorney, click here or call 877-273-6823 to schedule a free consultation.
What Laws Cover Dog Bites: State Laws or Local Laws?
Both state and local laws are put in place to protect you from dog bites.
Section 67-12 of the North Carolina General Statutes states:
"No person shall allow his dog over six months old to run at large in the nighttime unaccompanied by the owner or by some member of the owner's family, or some other person by the owner's permission. Any person intentionally, knowingly, and willfully violating this section shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor, and shall also be liable in damages to any person injured or suffering loss to his property or chattels."
Local communities also create rules such as leash and vaccination laws.
Click here for more information.
What is Raleigh, N.C.'s Leash Law?
According to thecityofraleigh.gov, dogs and cats are not allowed within the city limits without a leash. If domesticated animals are not walked on a leash, they must be confined to their owner's. This includes parks as well. Dogs are not allowed off the leash in Raleigh parks, and they are not allowed on play grounds. Allowing pets to run freely within the city limits of Raleigh could result in a misdemeanor.
What is the General Award for a Dog Bite Case?
There is no standard award for a dog bite case. The factors that go into determining the amount of compensation you are eligible to receive are the following:
- The cost of your medical bills.
- If you lost any wages.
- The amount of pain and suffering you experienced from your injury/injuries.
- The price of plastic surgery (if you have to receive plastic surgery).
- The cost of psychological counseling (if necessary).
If I am Bitten By a Dog, Do I Have a Lawsuit?
Just because you have obtained an injury from a dog does not mean you have a case. Several factors go into whether or not you can file a claim.
- If you received broken bones or your injuries that required surgery, contact an attorney.
- Most statutes state that if dog bites are obtained on public property or private, you are entitled to compensation. Check your local and state laws, and if there were any violations regarding your incident, contact an attorney.
- If the owner knew the dog had a tendency to bite and did not warn you, contact an attorney.
Brent Adams and his team of lawyers have been serving the community for over forty years. If you believe you have a dog bite case, call 877-273-6823 or click here. The initial consultation is free, and there is no obligation.
The Dog Bite Did Not Break My Skin. Do I Have a Claim?
A dog bite does not necessarily have to break through your skin in order for you to have a claim. You may have a claim even if the dog's bite did not go through your skin completely because a dog attack, even a small one, can have a lasting impact on your mental health. A lawyer will have to assess your situation in order to determine whether or not you have a dog bite case.
If you would like to speak with an attorney, click here. The initial consultation is free, and there is no obligation.
What damages are collected for dog bite injuries in NC?
Dog bites cause a number of injuries. The extent of injuries, where the attack occurred, and the circumstances surrounding the accident (the dog's history) can affect out-of-court claim negotiations as well as a jury's decision should the case move to trial.
Common awards for damages involve pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages. Medical expenses might not be limited to wound care. Some attack cases require facial reconstruction, multiple surgeries, rehabilitation, therapy for emotional trauma, and more. Severe nerve damage could permanently impair mobility for some victims, who might need to rely on disability payments as a result.
The owner of the dog might be liable for local fines in addition to compensation due to the victim. For example, Cumberland County approved of an Animal Control ordinance in May 2015 that imposes a $500 fine on the owner of a dog that causes injuries requiring medical attention.
Depending on how the accident occurred and if the dog has a history of aggression, the owner might be found liable for inadequately containing their animal or not providing appropriate restraints for a 'dangerous dog.'
Generally, a victim of an attack can pursue a claim through the dog owner's homeowner insurance policy - which might be possible even if the accident occurs off premises. Dog bite claim payments from homeowners insurance liability claims in 2011 totaled approximately $479 million, which accounted for one-third of all homeowners claims, according to the Insurance Information Institute. However, not all dog owners also own houses, which means an insurance claim is not always available to victims. Schedule a complimentary case review with one of our dog bite attorneys to learn about every available option for compensation in your case. We have offices in Fayetteville, Dunn, and Clinton, as well as parts of the Triangle, but we can come to you or your hospital if needed.
My son was bit by a dog a year ago in North Carolina. Is it too late to file a claim?
The statutes of limitations affecting injury cases in North Carolina vary depending on the type of accident. You may be worried it's too late and that you lost the legal opportunity to file a claim. For dog bite injury cases in the Tar Heel State, as of this writing, victims have three years from the date of attack.
Basic North Carolina dog bite laws not only include this deadline, but other critical requirements like the One-Bite Rule. Owner liability is important to review, but there may be other areas of negligence that contributed to the dog bite victim's injuries. Was the victim a minor and a guardian failed to maintain adequate supervision? Was someone other than the dog owner responsible for the animal at the time of the accident? Before pursuing a claim, meet with dog bite injury attorneys. Our lawyers in Raleigh, Fayetteville, and Dunn offer complimentary case evaluations in our offices, your home, or your hospital.
What do I do if I’m Bitten by a Cat in North Carolina?
Cat bites can create different injuries than dog bites. Our Raleigh injury lawyers often receive calls from victims of dog bite attacks, but there are also instances of aggressive cat attacks. Medscape cites that approximately 10-20 percent of animal attacks in the United States are attributed to cats. Since our North Carolina law offices handle cases for victims of any type of animal attack, we wanted to give you the basic first steps about what you need to do if you or someone you love is wounded by a cat.
Surgeries After Cat Attack
Many cat bites are not superficial scratches or tiny punctures of the skin’s surface. Cats have the strength in their jaws and claws to cause serious structural damage. Delicate and expensive surgeries may be necessary to repair tissue, tendon or ligament damage caused by a cat attack.
When it comes to quarantines, cats are regulated the same as dogs:
- It is mandatory to report every cat attack and dog attack to your local health care director. Who is required to report the animal attack? The victim, the animal owner, and the person who had possession of the animal at the time of the attack.
- A 10-day quarantine is required by North Carolina state law for any cat or dog that bites a human. This quarantine will take place even if the animal has up-to-date vaccination records. If the animal dies during the 10-day quarantine, they will be tested for rabies.
Cat Bites: North Carolina Personal Injury Cases
Cat bites rapidly seal and trap dangerous bacteria below the victim’s skin. Cat bite wounds commonly turn into abscesses, which may require surgery to drain. Symptoms of abscesses include an oozing sore, fever, lethargy, swelling/inflammation, and in some cases a strong odor. It is critical to have wounds from cat bites cleaned immediately and carefully by medical professionals. As soon as the victim receives medical care, notify the treating staff that the wounds were caused by a cat. Medical records documenting all treatment associated with cleaning the wounds, future infection care, surgeries, and all medical care caused by the cat attack will be necessary for a strong North Carolina personal injury case.
Stray Cat Bites
Were you bitten by a feral cat? As far as personal injury cases go, injuries from a stray cat are most likely not compensable. However, if your child was bitten by a stray cat while under the care of a babysitter or other caregiver who was not providing adequate supervision, you may have a case against the person caring for your child. Contact a personal injury attorney if you’re concerned about liability in an animal attack case – 877-BRENT-ADAMS
What are some of the top dangerous dog breeds in Dunn?
The top dangerous dog breeds will depend on where you get your data from. Some might point to pit bulls as the most dangerous, while others will identify another breed. Still, others claim that breed has nothing to do with propensity to bite, pointing out that any dog could potentially bite or attack and that the owner shares responsibility in some cases.
Dog Bite and Attack Statistics
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that pit bulls were the most dangerous dog breed in terms of number of dog bite related fatalities from 1979 to 1998 with 76 deaths. Next were Rottweilers (44), German Shepherds (27), and Husky-types (21). Keep in mind several factors could contribute to error reporting, such as mixed breeds.
Meanwhile, statistics shared by the American Humane Society indicate that 92 percent of fatal dog attacks involved dogs who were male; 94 percent of those dogs were not neutered. What’s more, nearly a quarter of the fatal attacks involved dogs that were not restrained and were off of the owner’s property, and more than half of the fatalities involved dogs that were unrestrained on the owner’s property.
Although certain breeds have been labeled as the top dangerous dog breeds, whether or not a dog is likely to attack may also depend on how it is treated. As such, this has led some to blame owners more than the dog. Dogs trained to be aggressive, for example, may pose a greater danger to dogs raised not to bite or attack regardless of breed.
Dog Bite Safety & Prevention
Despite some dogs being labeled as the most dangerous dog breeds, many dogs who belong to those breeds may be friendly and good companions. Take steps to keep yourself and your family safe from dog bites. If you are attacked, seek medical attention to ensure you get proper medical tests completed after a dog bite. You may also be able to pursue legal action with help from a dog bite attorney if you experience damages.
Get advice from a veterinarian when raising a dog and become knowledgeable about what may make a dog a dangerous. Always supervise young children around strange dogs, inform them of safe behaviors, and make sure they know not to approach dogs they do not know.