Asheville, North Carolina personal injury lawyers know how complex an animal attack case can be. While there is often no question that a defendant's dog (or other domestic animal) caused harm to the plaintiff, North Carolina law provides three basic ways in which a person can be liable for injuries caused by his or her dog. The first method of proving liability in a dog bite case is under a theory of negligence. Basically, the owner of the dog owed a duty of care to the injured plaintiff, and the dog owner breached his or her duty of care. This is the same negligence standard used in most personal injury cases in the Carolinas.
The second way in which your dog bite lawyer could prove a case is through the North Carolina dog bite statute (Chapter 67 of the North Carolina Code). If the owner engages in certain dangerous behaviors such as allowing his dogs to run free at night or using a dog unlawfully in a hunt, he may be liable under this statute.
The third way to prove a dog bite case in North Carolina involves the issue of whether the owner of the dog knew or had reason to know that his or her dog had dangerous tendencies. This is what lawyers typically refer to as the "every dog gets one bite rule." What this means is that if you own a dog, and that dog has never bitten anyone, you should have no reason to know your dog is likely to bite someone. However, once your dog has bitten someone, you should know that your dog has such tendencies, and you must take appropriate precautions to prevent your dog from biting other people. With this theory of proof, your personal injury lawyer must present evidence that the defendant knew or had reason to know that his or her dog was likely to bite another person.