The physical and emotional trauma that comes with being attacked by a dog or other animal can be extreme. While a dog bite can seem like a freak incident, the reality is that dog bite injuries are all too common in our society. A Taylorsville dog bite lawyer from Law Office of Lyndon R. Helton, PLLC, understands the unique complexities and sensitivities inherent to dog bite cases. Our team can offer clients clarity, support, and powerful legal representation as they seek recompense for dog bite injuries.
Many of us love the dogs in our lives very much. They can provide companionship and protection as well as perform a variety of important jobs in society. Many people even consider their dogs full-fledged family members.
However, things can go wrong due to lack of training, outside stimuli, or environmental factors, and a dog suddenly turns into a dangerous attacker. It’s important to remember that dogs do not have legal rights and liabilities the way human beings do. In short, this means that you can’t sue a dog. A negligent pet owner who allows their dog to attack others, however, can face a civil claim for the resulting damages.
North Carolina has various laws and regulations in place to protect citizens, several of which can apply in dog bite scenarios. Some of the key legal concepts to keep in mind after an animal attack include:
North Carolina operates under a “strict liability” principle. This means that a dog’s owner is held fully liable for any injuries or damages caused by their dog, regardless of any extenuating factors, like the dog’s previous behavior or the owner’s knowledge of the attack. This allows victims of dog bites to pursue a claim in North Carolina, even if the details of the case are unclear or complex, as long as the animal’s ownership can be accurately determined.
While strict liability is the primary legal doctrine that oversees dog bite cases, North Carolina (and over a dozen other states) additionally employs a “One-Bite Rule.” This rule can significantly change the dynamics of a case when a dog owner has knowledge of their dog previously attacking someone or otherwise displaying aggressive behaviors and fails to prevent it from happening again.
Even after serious dog bites, victims sometimes hesitate to file a claim for a dog bite out of a sense of compassion and love for animals. They worry that a dog will be automatically euthanized if they bring their dog bite claim to court.
Generally, this is not the case. However, such measures can indeed be ordered if there is a pattern of extremely aggressive behavior. It may also apply if it is determined that the dog has suffered abuse by being specifically trained to be violent.
Instead, any dog that bites a person goes into a mandatory 10-day quarantine (typically at a veterinary clinic) so that it can be observed by animal health professionals for any signs of rabies. Animals that have neither rabies symptoms nor a history of attacks will typically be allowed to return home after the 10 days are up.
Victims of dog bites and other attacks by domesticated animals may be entitled to compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, similar to any other legally actionable personal injury.
Like many other types of incidents with a large emotional trauma aspect, it can be difficult to accurately calculate all the noneconomic damages that have been suffered due to a dog bite. Law Office of Lyndon R. Helton, PLLC, can assist in determining the full extent of your potential compensation package.
For an illustration, imagine two very different dog bite scenarios.
In the first, the victim suffers a painful but mostly superficial gash to the back of their calf after being bitten once by an overstimulated 20 lb. Boston Terrier that slipped off its leash. It requires a couple of stitches but no extended treatment or hospital stay.
In the second example, the victim permanently loses the use of several fingers on their right hand after being mauled by a poorly trained guard dog. This dog has escaped from an inadequate enclosure after being left outdoors unattended. The resulting injury also requires emergency surgery to save the victim’s remaining fingers.
The settlement or judgment in the second example could be many times more than in the first, as the damages are far more extensive.
If you’ve been bitten by a dog, you are certainly free to attempt to bring a claim against the dog’s owner without enlisting help from an attorney. However, most people without specific legal training will find this process confusing. It can quickly become overwhelming to manage all the details and timelines involved in a civil suit, even if the case seems quite straightforward at first. This is especially true if you’re already engaged in the process of recovering from a serious injury.
This is why it is considered crucial to have a reputable Taylorsville dog bite lawyer on your side before heading to court. Working from our main offices in nearby Hickory, NC, the full-service legal practice of Law Office of Lyndon R. Helton, PLLC is here to provide powerful legal strategies, valuable guidance, and a compassionate ear when they’ve been injured in a traumatic animal attack.
Here is just a sampling of what we can offer to our clients after a dog bite or other animal attack:
We can thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the dog attack. If they are not already known, then we work to identify the dog’s owner. We then gather and analyze all available evidence and testimony and then package it into an effective legal strategy to secure the compensation you deserve.
Many civil suits never need to go to trial because a settlement can often be reached collaboratively between the two parties at the negotiation table. Law Office of Lyndon R. Helton, PLLC, has a long record of success with these types of negotiations. Our team always puts your rights and interests at the forefront of any negotiations.
Ending a dog bite case through negotiation, rather than a trial, can often represent the ideal scenario for everyone involved. It:
When a settlement through negotiation is not feasible, or when the defendant offers an inadequate settlement, we are prepared to take your case to the courtroom. Once there, we can assertively represent your side of things and fight tirelessly for every cent of compensation that is owed to you.
Having the legal acumen to navigate a dog bite case is obviously important, but you’ll be working closely with your dog bite attorney, so making sure you “click” with them on a human level is also crucial.
At Law Office of Lyndon R. Helton, PLLC, we’re not just here to help you fill out paperwork and file motions. We understand the trauma and turmoil involved in suffering a traumatic dog bite injury, and our dedication to our clients extends to our company attitude, our overall business model, and our daily interactions. For powerful legal strategies with compassion and understanding, Law Office of Lyndon R. Helton, PLLC, is your trusted Taylorsville dog bite lawyer.
A: For compensation, a dog bite case works like any other personal injury case. Your eventual payout will be correlated with the actual damages you’ve suffered. Your attorney can help you accurately add up the full extent of tangible and intangible damages you’ve suffered so that you know what to ask for and what to expect.
A: A “One-Bite” rule refers to dog owners being held liable if they had prior awareness of their animal’s aggressive tendencies. North Carolina does have a “One-Bite” principle for dog bites that can guide cases, but this is not the foundational principle that governs dog bite cases in the state. North Carolina’s strict liability standard can effectively supersede the one-bite rule, allowing dog owners to be held liable for serious bites, even if the dog has no prior history of aggressive behavior.
A: Any dog that bites a human in North Carolina is placed into a mandatory 10-day quarantine so that a veterinary professional can observe for signs of rabies. Meanwhile, the police and/or your legal team may begin conducting investigations into the incident to bring criminal or civil actions, respectively, against the dog owner in court.
If you have been the victim of a dog bite, see to your immediate medical needs first, then contact the police to report the incident. If you then decide that you need help navigating the legal aftermath of your dog bite, please contact Law Office of Lyndon R. Helton, PLLC, at your soonest convenience.
A: In North Carolina, the victim of a dog bite typically has a 3-year window in which to file their claim. While you are free to bring your claim to court at any point during these 3 years, it’s often preferable to get the process started as early as possible. It can become significantly more difficult to gather quality evidence the longer you wait, as injuries heal and witness memories become less sharp.
If you allow the 3-year statute of limitations to pass without taking legal action, you may be unable to seek compensation for your injuries. For help with getting the process started, contact Law Office of Lyndon R. Helton, PLLC, for a no-pressure consultation.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog bite or some other form of animal attack, you have options for seeking legal recourse against the animal’s owner. Law Office of Lyndon R. Helton, PLLC, can help you hold dog owners responsible for the injuries and damages their animals cause, using powerful legal strategies.
We’ve built our reputation on helping clients throughout North Carolina access the compensation they need after traumatic injuries like dog bites, and we can help you, too. Contact our offices today for a compassionate consultation.