What to Do After Being Injured by a Dog in North Carolina

Every year in the United States, over four million dog bites occur. In addition to scarring, pain, and potential disfigurement, victims also are at risk of infection. One out of five dog bites become infected and require additional medical treatment. Whether the dog bite occurred due to the owner's negligence or a dog escaping a fenced area, dog bites can result in severe injuries and even death. Elderly individuals and younger children are at higher risk of becoming injured from dog bites. However, anybody attacked is at risk of contracting tetanus, rabies, or infection at the wound site.  

Under North Carolina law, dog owners are responsible for the actions of their pets and can pursue compensation for the damages caused by their dog bites. If you or your loved one has been attacked by a dog, whether at a friend's house, a family member's house, or in your neighborhood, there are specific steps you can take to protect yourself and your future legal claim for compensation.

Seek Medical Attention

Seeking medical attention is the most important step after a dog bite. The wound or wounds need to be attended to by a medical professional. When vicious dogs maul a victim, uncontrolled bleeding, infections, and fever are signs that the wound needs immediate attention. If the victim has not received a tetanus shot in the last five years, they will need to get one quickly. When severe mauling incidents occur, it is crucial that someone calls 911 and requests an ambulance to come as soon as possible. Patients who have suffered severe injuries will typically need to be rapidly transported via ambulance or a life flight to the hospital for surgery.

Contact Your Local Animal Control

It is also crucial that you contact your local animal control center. If the animal seems to be acting strangely or is unfamiliar to you, local animal control authorities can investigate. They may be able to help you determine whether the dog has or has not been vaccinated against rabies and whether the dog is a threat to other people and animals in the area. In North Carolina, dogs who bite people must be quarantined for ten days.

Gather the Dog Owner's Contact Information

If you can do so safely, you should try to contact the dog's owner or get the owner's contact information. However, this is only sometimes an option. You may be severely injured and unable to find out who owns the dog and whether the dog has bitten someone before. In other cases, the dog's owner may be unwilling to have a conversation about their pet or may be unreachable. In these scenarios, dog bite victims should wait and allow the authorities and their attorneys to take the steps necessary to identify the dog's owner and hold them accountable for their injuries.

Understand North Carolina's Dog Bite Laws

North Carolina, along with many other states, follows a one-bite rule. In most cases, a victim can only recover compensation if it has been shown that the dog has bitten another person before. If the victim can show that the dog owner knew or should have known of the dog's dangerous tendencies, then the owner's liability is to be assumed. The victim needs proof that the dog's owner did not use reasonable care to ensure that the dog would avoid injuring someone else. This rule applies not only to dog bites but also to other injuries caused by dogs.

Discuss Your Case With an Experienced Dog Bite Attorney

Owners of dogs who attacked people frequently claimed that their dogs had never shown any signs of aggression or bitten anyone before. Working with a skilled attorney will increase your chances of gathering evidence showing that the dog had a dangerous disposition or had already bitten someone. If a dog bite in Charlotte has injured you or your loved one, contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC, today to schedule your free initial consultation. 

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