Pursuing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit After a Dog Mauling

A North Carolina woman was recently found unconscious after a severe dog bite injury. The paramedics who arrived at the scene initially thought she had suffered a stabbing or shooting and were not sure exactly what caused the injuries. She had severe injuries to her abdomen. Unfortunately, "freak accidents" involving dog bites are not isolated incidents. Some dog maulings end in fatalities.

Three days ago, a North Carolina woman was mauled to death by a dog she was dog-sitting while the owner was away. The 46-year-old grandmother was dog-sitting two Pitbulls, and the Animals turned to attack her in her backyard around 2 am. Police officers shot one of the dogs attacking the victim, and the other dog went to animal control.

Pitbulls are Responsible for a Significant Number of Dog Bite Injuries

Pitbulls are responsible for many dog bite injuries in the United States. Nobody knows exactly why these dogs began mauling the victim. In other similar cases, victims who have survived say they do not know what triggered the attack and that it happened out of nowhere. Unfortunately, in many cases, there is no warning sign that Pitbulls will attack until it is too late. Due to the size and aggressiveness of the dogs, it can be challenging to pull them away from the victim in time to save the victim's life. Many victims in Pitbull mauling-related incidents are elderly or young children. They cannot defend themselves against a vicious pitbull who has decided to attack them.

Pursuing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit After a Dog Mauling

If you have lost your loved one because of a dog owner's negligence, you may be able to pursue compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. Nothing can bring your loved one back, but pursuing compensation can help you and your family members move forward financially. Succeeding in a wrongful death lawsuit can also help you obtain justice for your loved one who should not have died in a mauling-related incident. Wrongful death lawsuits in North Carolina are complex, so we recommend discussing your case with an attorney as soon as possible.

Insurance Coverage for Dog Bite Wrongful Death Cases

The first step in pursuing a wrongful death claim involves addressing insurance coverage. There may not be any insurance coverage to compensate the victim. However, if the victim was attacked on commercial property, the victim's family members may be able to pursue compensation through the commercial insurance policy. The irresponsible dog owner may not have any insurance coverage or assets.

However, if the incident occurred at the dog owner's home or another person's home, the homeowner's insurance or renters' insurance may cover the damages. Additionally, Suppose a landlord is liable because they failed to remove a dangerous dog from the property, and the dog caused the victim's death. In that case, the business's insurance policy may cover damages.

Proving Liability in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The next issue involves whether the dog's owner is liable. Under North Carolina law, an owner is not liable unless the dog has bitten someone before. The first bite informs the owner of the dog's vicious propensity. However, recovering compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit may still be possible if your loved one was killed by a dog that had not bitten anyone before.

In some cases, an investigation will reveal that the dog has bitten someone before, even if the owner claims the dog has never bitten anyone. There are also many different municipal codes in North Carolina that heighten the legal duty of dog owners. You may be able to use these to prove negligence. Many insurance companies will still pay claims, especially if the breed is known to have a vicious propensity, such as a Pitbull.

Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

As mentioned before, nothing can bring your loved one back. Still, a wrongful death lawsuit can allow you to recover damages for the physical and emotional pain and suffering your loved one endured, their medical bills before death, and funeral and burial expenses. The victim's surviving family members can also recover costs for the lost net income of their deceased family member. Beneficiaries can recover compensation for the emotional and day-to-day losses caused by their loved one's death.

Contact a North Carolina Dog Bite Attorney

If you have lost a loved one because of a vicious dog attack, it is crucial that you reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. You only have a limited time to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. Contact the experienced North Carolina attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, today to schedule your free case evaluation and learn more about your legal rights.

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