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.