Dog Owner Liabilities

dog owner negligenceDogs offer unconditional love and companionship, and they teach us responsibilities. No matter how friendly and passive a dog may appear, every animal has the potential of causing harm. When this happens, dog owners learn about their liabilities.

In North Carolina, dog owner negligence comes in many forms. Examples of negligence include:

  • Failing to provide adequate warning signage. Were there prominent 'Beware of Dog' signs?
  • Not properly restraining a dog. This may address several types of restraints. On the owner's property this could be a poorly maintained fence, broken chain or other tether. This is not only important for the safety of house guests or pedestrians, but a loose dog could run in front of a truck, car, or motorcycle and cause an accident.
  • Not using a leash. Dog bites that occur outside the home may involve another person or another dog. Some dog owners ignore local ordinances that require dogs be kept on a leash. Instead they trust their dog will obey voice commands, however, anything can happen and a loose dog is not easily controlled.

A dog does not necessarily have to be aggressive to cause an injury. A playful dog may bounce and jump on a child, adult, or elderly person and cause them to trip and fall. 

Dog owners who own homes may have limited coverage of dog bite incidents under their homeowners insurance policy if they possess certain dog breeds. (Under some insurance policy terms, breed-specific violations could cause immediate cancelation of the policy.) Dog owners who reside in apartments and do not own property may have renters insurance, which may provide coverage for individuals hurt on premises. Understanding the liability of dog owners becomes more challenging when it comes to interpreting complicated legalese and insurance terms. Review the circumstances of the accident and insurance policies with an attorney to ensure coverage outlined in the policy is provided.

Dog victims are not necessarily people. A dog may attack another dog, cat, or pet. Dog owners are liable for the actions of their pet. Whether you are pursuing payment for medical bills that resulted from a dog bite to a child's hand, or your own dog required corrective surgery after another dog attacked--ask us your questions and we will answer.