Court Upholds Dismissal of North Carolina Dog Bite Injury Lawsuit

Dog bite injuries are typically extremely painful, shocking, and traumatic for the victim. Dogs are incredibly popular as pets with the number of households owning a dog increasing regularly. Although many owners exercise caution and use good sense when it comes to controlling and training their dogs, some owners are incredibly careless. This creates opportunities for the dog to act out and attack another person. If you were injured in a dog bite attack, Burton Law Firm is available to assist you with seeking the compensation that you deserve for your injuries. While you cope with the stress and disruption the incident has caused, attorney Jason Burton will ensure that your rights are being protected at all times.

A North Carolina appellate court recently handed down an opinion in a case in which a dog attacked a person while she was walking down the street. The owner of the dog, the defendant, allowed their two children to take the family dog for a walk in the morning. The plaintiff was walking her daughter to the bus stop on the opposite side of the street. The dog barked at the plaintiff and tugged at its leash. The collar eventually broke, and the dog charged the plaintiff. It attacked her and bit her several times leaving marks on her body. She required medical treatment and was taken to a nearby hospital via ambulance. An animal control officer who was involved with the incident indicated that the dog had not been involved in any prior incidents.

In her complaint, the plaintiff alleged that the defendants were negligent, strictly liable, and caused her to experience emotional distress. The defendants moved for summary judgment arguing that there was no prior knowledge indicating that the dog had a propensity for aggression or hostility. There were no complaints regarding the dog, for example, and no prior reports about the dog to the local animal control authorities. To oppose the summary judgment motion, the plaintiff obtained an affidavit from a veterinarian testifying that the dog was part of a breed that tended to be aggressive and dangerous. The defendants took the expert’s deposition and she testified that not all members of the breed acted dangerously and that by using a collar the owners were taking reasonable precautions. Both parties made amendments to their motions. The defendants added a declaration from a veterinarian testifying that breed is not a sufficient factor by itself for determining whether a dog would be aggressive.

The lower court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants and the plaintiff appealed. The appellate court reviewed the evidence in the record and concluded that there was not enough evidence to show that the dog had acted aggressively in the past. N.C. Gen. Stat. Section 67-4.1(a)(1) defines a dangerous dog as one that has killed or inflicted serious injury without being provoked or classified as potentially dangerous. It also noted that evidence showed that a collar and leash were reasonable restraints.

If you were injured in a dog attack and wonder if you have a personal injury claim, North Carolina dog bite attorney Jason Burton is ready to assist you with understanding your legal rights. He offers a free and confidential consultation to discuss your situation. To schedule your appointment, call him at 1-833-623-0042 or contact him online to get started. Don’t wait, time may be running out on your claim.