Dogs are incredibly popular pets in the United States, and many people living in the Morganton area enjoy spending time with “man’s best friend.” However, some people, unfortunately, suffer bites and other injuries when dogs attack unexpectedly. No matter how well-behaved a dog may seem, ultimately, they are animals, and there is always a chance for unforeseen aggression. Unfortunately, many victims of dog bites face very difficult roads to recovery.
If you or a loved one recently suffered injuries in a dog attack, a Morganton dog bite attorney is the best resource to consult to determine the best options for legal recourse available to you. Unfortunately, holding a dog owner accountable for the injuries sustained could be very challenging, and the average person may not know the full breadth of compensation available to them after a serious injury from a dog attack.
The attorneys at Helton, Cody & Associates, PLLC, have years of professional experience in personal injury law, and we have successfully represented many past clients in a wide range of personal injury cases in the Morganton area. We take time to learn each client’s story to ensure we address their unique needs and concerns as their case unfolds. You’re likely to have many pressing legal questions in the aftermath of a dog attack, and a Morganton dog bite attorney you can trust is the best resource to consult in this situation.
If you believe another party is responsible for injuries their pet caused to you or a loved one, it’s reasonable to assume you should be able to hold the dog owner accountable for your losses. Unfortunately, dog bite claims in Morganton are rarely so straightforward. The average person may not know how to successfully establish liability for a recent dog attack. They may also struggle to accurately calculate the full range of damages they can seek from the defendant.
Hiring experienced legal counsel ensures you will meet the procedural demands of your case while being able to rest and focus on your recovery with peace of mind. Your legal team will handle the administrative end of your case and advise you of your options as the case unfolds. Most personal injury claims end in settlement, but there is always a chance that a personal injury case will need to be resolved by a judge in litigation. Therefore, it’s essential to hire not only an attorney with established professional legal experience but also specific experience handling cases like yours. The sooner you secure legal counsel, the more time your attorney has to build a compelling case on your behalf.
The state enforces a one-bite statute that applies whenever a dog attacks another person. Under this rule, a dog owner essentially has one free pass when it comes to injuries their dog inflicts on others. As long as the owner did not do anything to enhance the dog’s aggression, did their best to exercise reasonable care in handling the dog, and did not have any reason to think the dog could attack someone else, the one-bite rule may apply, and they would only face limited liability for the victim’s economic damages. However, once a dog has attacked someone, its owner must use appropriate caution to prevent them from injuring anyone else in the future. If the dog attacks a second time, the owner will face full liability for the victim’s personal injury.
To assert the strict liability rule, the victim must prove the dog had a history of at least one prior attack. Additionally, strict liability only applies if the victim was legally present at the location of the attack and did not intentionally provoke the attack in any way. If the dog owner failed to keep their pet properly restrained, encouraged the dog to be aggressive, or otherwise contributed to causing the attack, they could face several legal penalties in addition to their liability for the victim’s civil damages.
Dogs may be popular pets, and most people are fortunate enough to only have positive interactions with dogs. However, it’s vital to acknowledge that any dog is capable of inflicting severe injuries on a person when they attack, especially if a dog attacks a child. Therefore, whether you are pursuing compensation on your own behalf or on behalf of a family member, it’s understandable to wonder how much you could potentially recover from a successful personal injury claim.
The biggest obstacle in your recovery efforts following a dog attack is likely to be establishing liability for the attack. Asserting strict liability in light of the state’s one-bite rule is challenging enough, but even once you assert a dog owner’s strict liability, they may attempt to claim you contributed to causing the incident in some way. North Carolina upholds a contributory negligence law, and this law upholds that when a plaintiff bears partial fault for causing their claimed damages, however slight, they lose their right to claim compensation from the defendant.
An experienced Morganton dog bite attorney will help their client gather the evidence and testimony necessary for proving exactly how a dog attack happened. When you choose the attorneys at Helton, Cody & Associates, PLLC, to handle your dog bite injury claim, we can potentially uncover options for strengthening your claim you may have overlooked on your own. We may also be able to identify avenues of compensation you may not have considered to enhance your final recovery. The damages available in your personal injury claim may include:
The attorneys at Helton, Cody & Associates, PLLC, strive to help every client we represent maximize their recovery. However, time is a critical concern for anyone who intends to file any type of civil claim for damages, and it’s best to consult a Morganton dog bite attorney right away if you believe you have grounds to file this type of claim.
A: The state’s strict liability law for dog attacks upholds that if another person’s dog injures you in any way, the dog’s owner is liable for your injuries. There are only two legal prerequisites for the victim to file their civil action: They must have been legally present at the location of the attack, and they must not have done anything intentionally to provoke the dog.
A: State law enables the victim of a personal injury to seek full compensation for all the damages they suffered as well as reasonable compensation for the pain and suffering they experienced. You could face a range of damages, from immediate medical treatment costs to long-term complications from severe injuries. An experienced Morganton dog bite attorney can give you an estimate of the total compensation you could obtain if you succeed with your case.
A: Some states, including North Carolina, enforce one-bite rules that allow a dog owner to avoid liability for a dog attack, but only once and only under certain circumstances. Once a dog has bitten someone in a one-bite state, the dog owner would be strictly liable for any harm they cause to others in the future. The state enforces a one-bite rule, but there are some situations in which the strict liability rule applies. For example, if a dog owner trained their dog to be aggressive, or if the owner did not restrain the dog at all and allowed it to wander, strict liability would likely apply.
A: Technically, no, there is no legal requirement to hire an attorney for any personal injury claim in the state. However, doing so tremendously improves your chances of succeeding with your civil action; you will also be more likely to maximize your compensation in this manner. Your legal team can make a tremendous difference in the quality of your experience in the civil court system.
The team at Helton, Cody & Associates, PLLC, has helped many dog bite victims secure the compensation they need to recover, and we have held many defendants accountable for the harm they’ve done to our clients through negligence and intentional misconduct. Whatever you believe to be the underlying cause of your recent dog attack, as long as you did not provoke the dog or trespass on the dog owner’s property, you likely have grounds to seek compensation. Our team can review the details of your recent dog attack and let you know how we can assist in your recovery. Contact us today to schedule your consultation with a Morganton dog bite attorney.