Financial Compensation for Dog Bite Victims
By The Elmore and Smith Law Firm, PC on October 31, 2019 | In Dog Bite Injury
When a person is attacked by a dog, they can sustain many injuries and losses, including would include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In a serious dog attack, the medical bills alone can be tens of thousands of dollars and the person may suffer lifelong physical consequences. The person who owns the dog can be responsible for these losses and injuries.
Sometimes, the owner of the dog doesn’t have insurance to cover the claim. If there is no insurance, the owner would be responsible for paying any verdict out of their own pocket.
Unfortunately, many dog owners (especially those who rent) do not have the financial means to compensate the injured victim of a dog bite. An injured person might obtain a judgment, but if they do not have the financial resources to pay the judgment, it might never be paid. In these situations, the injured person may not recover compensation for some or any of their injuries and losses.
However, if the dog owner owns a home, the homeowner’s insurance usually will cover the dog bite attack. Further, many apartment complexes require dog owners to carry renter’s insurance. Renter’s insurance is also likely to cover injuries suffered in a dog bite attack.
North Carolina also expands liability to landlords who allow dangerous dogs onto their rental property. In Holcomb v. Colonial Associates, 597 S.E.2d 710, 358 N.C. 501 (2004), the N.C. Supreme Court expanded liability for vicious dogs in some situations. Under Holcomb, if a landlord retains the right to force the tenant to remove the dangerous dogs in their lease (i.e., retains control), and the landlord knows or should have known of the dog’s vicious propensities, then the landlord can be held liable to the victim for the dog bite attack.
Finally, if a store owner allows dangerous dogs onto their property, the store owner could be liable for a dog bite attack. For example, Lowe’s and Home Depot allow dogs of any breed into their stores. If a dangerous breed enters the property and bites someone else, the store may also be liable.
When looking for an attorney to represent you in a dog bite attack, it is important to select an experienced lawyer familiar with the laws pertaining to dog bites and the various avenues for recovery. Contact our experienced personal injury attorneys at The Elmore and Smith Law Firm, PC today for a free case evaluation.