The North Carolina dog bite law varies across the state and can be rather vague. Currently, North Carolina is one of 18 states to generally use the “one-bite rule.” The one-bite rule means that the owner of a dog involved in an attack can’t be liable if that was the dog’s first incident. However, one exception to this involves the situation of the attack. If the dog was running at large at night without its owner, the one-bite rule does not apply. In addition, North Carolina can label dogs as “dangerous” or “potentially dangerous,” in which the owner would be responsible for the damages. A dangerous dog is classified as a dog that has injured a person without being provoked in the past or has had history with dog fighting. Classifying potentially dangerous dogs is more difficult, but North Carolina typically labels them as dogs who have attacked another animal in the past or tend to act aggressive when approached by people. Local animal controls are responsible for determining if a dog is potentially dangerous.

Every state has a law called the statute of limitations which sets a deadline on when you can claim a personal injury lawsuit. If injured by a dog in North Carolina, you have three years to file a lawsuit. You should also identify the owner of the dog and keep all medical records. The North Carolina dog bite law handles cases using a “strict liability” framework. This means that the injured person does not have to prove that the dog owner was negligent or careless. Ultimately, anyone who owns a dog is completely responsible for the dog’s damages, no matter the intent of the attack. Those injured by a dog may be eligible for compensation for their medical bills or personal damage and should reach out to a lawyer to learn more about their rights.

Finally, there are some conditions that can protect a dog owner when their pet injured someone. If the victim was trespassing, attempting to commit a crime, tormenting the dog, or assaulted a relevant party, the owner may not be liable for the injury. Furthermore, there are special considerations for dogs that are used for law enforcement, hunting, or herding.