Personal Injury

Dog Bite & Animal Attacks

Because of the high standard for proving liability in cases involving animal attacks, North Carolina dog bite claims should typically not be handled without a personal injury attorney. Despite what some folks may assume, North Carolina does not have a “strict liability” rule. This means that the owner of a dog is not automatically liable for injuries it causes.

Proving Dog Bite Liability

North Carolina dog bite cases typically involve showing either (a) that the dog by its very breed had a vicious propensity (e.g. American Pit Bull Terriers and Rottweilers); or (b) that the dog had previously attacked, placing its owner on notice of its individual vicious propensity. In some circumstances, it may be possible to show that the dog had been negligently trained and socialized. Similarly, the chances of winning liability in the courtroom are increased if the owner violated a local ordinance. Raleigh, for example, has strict leash laws that must be obeyed.

Insurance Coverage

We will assist you with every aspect of your dog bite claim, including finding sources of financial recovery. Unlike a car accident, where there is almost always a source of insurance coverage to pay money damages – this is not always the case with dog attack claims. The owner of the dog may not have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance that provides coverage for your injuries, or the insurance company may file a “declaratory judgment” suit to argue that it should not have to provide coverage for your injuries (for example, if the policyholder did not disclose that he or she owned a dog). If such an insurance coverage suit is filed, our Raleigh dog bite attorneys will assist you both with your primary liability case and the coverage suit.

Landlord Liability

If the dog owner was a tenant, our firm will also investigate whether the landlord has any liability for your injuries. Landlord liability can be established where (1) the landlord knew the tenant had a vicious dog; (2) the landlord had the ability to remove the vicious dog; but (3) negligently failed to remove the vicious dog.

Dog attack claims often involve significant injuries, including permanent scarring. These scars can be particularly damaging when the victim is a small child who will live with those scars the rest of his or her life. The Raleigh law firm of Maginnis Howard can help you or your child fight for the full, fair compensation to which they are entitled under North Carolina law.

We handle cases involving animal attacks on a contingency fee basis. This means that you pay no attorneys’ fees unless we recover a settlement or verdict on your behalf. We routinely reduce our fee for all cases involving children. Our firm handles dog attack claims throughout North Carolina. Please use our contact page to send the confidential details of your case.