While the majority of dog owners are responsible, there are many owners who don’t properly care for their pets. Unfortunately, those individuals’ failures to properly train, monitor, and restrain their dogs can result in harm to others, including children. Some of the most common victims of dog bite attacks are the elderly and young kids. These are the groups that are least able to defend themselves against a powerful, angry animal. If your child has suffered injury because of another person’s failure to restrain their dog, including a pit bull, the Raleigh attorneys of Maginnis Howard may be able to help you recover compensation for your child. To speak with a Maginnis Howard attorney about a dog bite involving a child, contact our main line at (919) 526-0450.
Dog bite claims can be challenging in North Carolina. Like with most personal injury claims in North Carolina, there are 3 essential topics that our lawyers cover. The first is insurance coverage, because the simple truth is that in the vast majority of cases, if there is no insurance, there can be no meaningful recovery. The truth is that most owners of vicious dogs do not have the money to pay for the harm caused by their animal.
The most common type of coverage that may be applicable is homeowners’ insurance. Therefore, one of our first questions tends to be whether the person owning or keeping the dog owned their own home or lived with someone who owned the home. Aside from homeowners’ coverage, we will also typically investigate whether there is applicable renters’ insurance. In some cases, the owner will refuse to provide insurance information and you will have to file suit to obtain it.
Liability in Dog Bite Cases
The next issue our attorneys address at any initial consult meeting is whether the dog owner is potentially liable. The law in North Carolina for dog bite cases is complex and evolving. While many websites and attorney pages purport to say what the law is on dog bites in North Carolina, the reality on the ground is much different. Many of these websites describe North Carolina as a “one bite” state – meaning that there is no liability unless the dog had previously bitten another person, putting its owner on notice of its vicious propensity. However, Maginnis Howard has had success in claims under this traditional view of North Carolina law. There are many municipal codes in North Carolina that heighten the duty of dog owners. These more detailed codes can be utilized to prove an owner’s negligence.
Similarly, many insurance companies will pay compensation on dog bite claims even without evidence of a prior bite. This is especially likely if the dog is of a breed known to have a “vicious propensity”. If your child has suffered serious injury because of a dog attack, you should consult with a knowledgeable dog bite litigation attorney, even if you do not have evidence the dog has previously bitten anyone.
Recoverable Damages for Child Victims of Dog Attacks
When a child is injured, two different claims are created. The first claim belongs to the parent. This claim is primarily for medical bills related to the injuries until the time the child reaches age 18. The second claim is usually more substantial and involves reasonable compensation for the child’s physical pain, mental suffering, permanent injury, loss of use of part of the body, and permanent scarring, if these exist. Some claims will only involve pain and suffering and scarring, while more severe attacks result in permanent injury. The child is also entitled to any estimates for future medical bills once they reach the age of 18.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
Like most attorneys handling dog bite claims, Maginnis Howard can handle many dog bite claims on a contingency fee basis. This means that you pay no attorneys’ fees unless and until we recover a settlement for you or your child. The firm offers a reduced attorneys’ fee for all claims involving a child, including dog bite cases. Additionally, the firm provides a free consultation to all families of the victim of a dog bite. If necessary, we can travel across the state of North Carolina to meet with you to discuss the case.
If your child has suffered serious injury due to a dog owner’s negligence, attorney Shawn Howard may be able to help. He has successfully represented many victims of vicious dog attacks and is familiar with the impact an attack can have. To speak with our office about your case, call us at (919) 526-0450 or use our contact page to send a confidential inquiry. Our firm handles dog bite cases throughout North Carolina, including Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville and Garner.