How Much Is My Dog Bite Claim Worth in North Carolina?

If a dog bite has injured you or your child, you may be able to hold the dog's owner financially responsible for your medical bills. In North Carolina, victims of dog bites can hold dog owners accountable for injuries caused by their dogs through a personal injury lawsuit. North Carolina uses what is called the "one-bite" rule. When the victim can prove that the owner knew or should have known that the dog had a propensity for being dangerous or had already bitten someone, they can pursue a legal claim against the owner.

How Much Can I Obtain in a Dog Bite Claim?

The best way to learn more about the value of your potential dog bite lawsuit is to discuss it with an experienced attorney. It is easier to predict precisely how much your case is worth by knowing all the facts about your unique case. For example, not all dog bite cases result in severe injuries that equate to significant monetary damages. Typically, victims will recover more prominent monetary awards if the dog bites incident results in one or more of the following:

  • Leaves the victim with visible scarring or disfigurement
  • Requires emergency medical treatment
  • Result in permanent disability
  • Requires surgery or extended medical care
  • Results in need to pursue mental health therapy for anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder

When a victim has visible scarring or disfigurement, the case can be valued at over $100,000. Similarly, when the victim is permanently disabled, they may be able to obtain a settlement of at least $200,000 or more. If a child or young adult becomes seriously disfigured and unable to work in the future, the case could be worth over $1 million. 

Most dog bite cases that cause injuries award around $50,000. Still, the settlement will depend on the seriousness of your medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, and other consequential damages. Minor dog bite cases May settle for $10,000 or less in small claims court. 

As with any legal claim, the victim has the burden to prove that the owner did not use enough reasonable care to stop the dog from biting the victim. The ability to prove that the dog's owner was negligent depends on the evidence in the case. Additionally, suppose you receive a settlement that includes compensation for your medical bills. In that case, you may be required to pay back a health insurance company or pay outstanding medical bills if you have any. Most of the money recovered will go to covering these medical bills.

Whom to Sue After a Dog Bite 

Generally, a dog bite victim can bring a lawsuit against the dog's owner for injuries. The owner can pass some of the responsibility to the insurance company to handle payments. In most cases, the dog bite victim should discuss their case with an attorney. There may be several different options for recovering compensation. For example, homeowners' and renters' insurance may cover damages resulting from dog bite incidents on the respective property. The amount of compensation available depends on the insurance company's policy limit. A homeowner's insurance policy may pay up to $300,000 for a dog bite, while another policy may only cover up to $100,000.

Insurance companies may try to settle the matter out of court to save time and money by avoiding litigation. The dog bite victim may obtain less money by settling out of court, but it may be a viable option for those who need immediate cash to pay their medical bills. Regardless of the type of dog bite case, it is crucial that you only accept a settlement from an insurance company after speaking to an experienced attorney. Insurance companies will try to offer dog bite victim settlements far too little, hoping they will accept the settlement due to desperation. An attorney can review your case, help you understand the total value of your damages, and negotiate aggressively with the insurance company.

Reach Out to a Charlotte Dog Bite Attorney Today

After receiving medical attention from a dog bite, you must reach out to an experienced attorney. Your attorney can help you gather evidence showing that the dog who bit you may have been dangerous or bitten someone previously. Your attorney can also help you negotiate the best item possible. Contact the Charlotte dog bite attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, today to schedule your free initial consultation and learn more about your rights. 

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