Dog Bite Attorneys in Wilmington, NC

A male German shepherd bites a man by the hand.

Although popularly considered “man’s best friend,” dogs still behave in ways we don’t understand. Sometimes, they lash out or attack people seemingly without provocation or warning. Victims of injuries inflicted by other people’s dogs in Wilmington may have the right to claim compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, and other losses. 

After you’ve sustained a dog bite from someone else’s pet, let a Wilmington dog bite injury lawyer from the law firm of Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC, help you pursue the financial compensation you need for your recovery. 

Contact our firm today for a free initial case evaluation to learn more about how we can assist you through the claims process and advocate for your right to maximum compensation for your injuries. 

Why Do I Need a Wilmington Dog Bite Attorney?

After getting bitten by someone else’s dog, you may assume that filing a compensation claim will be a simple matter. However, pursuing a dog bite claim could quickly become complicated, especially if the dog that bit you belongs to someone you have a personal relationship with, such as a family member, friend, or neighbor. 

A Wilmington dog bite attorney can help you pursue a legal claim to recover compensation for your injuries and losses by handling communications and negotiations with the dog owner’s homeowners’ or renters’ insurance company. Our dog bite attorneys can handle all communications with them, so you won’t have to be directly involved in pursuing compensation, and your relationship is preserved.

We are ready to demand the compensation you need from the insurance company. If they won’t make an appropriate offer, we can file a lawsuit to seek maximum compensation in court.

What Are Common Dog Bite Injuries?

A dog bite can cause a wide range of physical injuries and secondary complications. Examples of the harms dog bite victims can suffer include:

  • Puncture wounds – Many dog breeds have a bite force powerful enough for their teeth to break through a person’s skin, even if the dog only “play bites” or nips at a person. Depending on the location of the wound, a puncture wound may lead to severe bleeding that may become life-threatening without prompt first aid. 
  • Broken bones – Larger breeds can bite with enough force to break a person’s bones, particularly the smaller bones in the hands and feet. Children are particularly vulnerable.
  • Eye injuries – When a dog launches an attack, it may aim for a victim’s head, potentially causing eye injuries if the dog’s teeth or claws reach the victim’s face. 
  • Scars – Lacerations and puncture wounds from a dog bite or attack may leave permanent scarring once healed. Scars over joints can restrict mobility due to the less-flexible nature of scar tissue and the fact that scars contract and pull on surrounding healthy skin. 
  • Head and neck injuries – Dogs frequently aim for the head and neck area when attacking a person and can more easily reach these vital areas on younger children or if the dog knocks an adult victim to the ground. 
  • Face injuries – A dog that can reach a victim’s face and bite them may cause injuries and scarring, especially to the ears or nose. 
  • Soft tissue injuries – Lacerations from a dog attack may reach deep enough to damage soft tissues underneath the skin, including muscle, tendons, and ligaments. 
  • Nerve damage – Dog bite wounds that get deep enough below the skin can also damage or sever nerves. 
  • Infection – Dogs carry viruses and bacteria in their mouth and saliva that can cause an infection if the dog bite breaks the skin. Secondary infections may also result from an improperly cleaned and bandaged dog bite wound. Rabies is a major concern with unvaccinated dogs.
  • Loss of digits – Dog bites to the hands and feet may result in traumatic amputation of fingers and toes, or digits may become permanently damaged and require surgical amputation. 

Dog Bite Laws in Wilmington, North Carolina

In most cases involving dog bites, North Carolina applies the “one-bite” rule, which imposes liability on a dog owner only if they had reason to believe the dog had the potential to be violent and their negligence led to the dog bite. Examples could be failing to maintain an enclosure that the dog escaped from or if the owner knew about their dog’s aggressive or vicious tendencies through a prior biting incident. 

However, North Carolina law imposes strict liability for dog bite injuries inflicted by a “dangerous dog,” which the statute defines as a dog that has killed or inflicted severe injury on someone without provocation or that a local animal control officer has deemed potentially dangerous due to having exhibiting particular behaviors. 

Who Is Responsible for a Dog Attack in Wilmington?

Typically, the owner of a dog that bites or attacks another person in public or lawfully on private property will bear responsibility for the bite victim’s injuries and losses. In many cases, the dog’s owner can turn to their homeowners’ or renters’ insurance company to pay the injured victim for their losses under their policy’s liability coverage. 

In less common cases, someone else in control of the dog could be liable, such as a dog walker, trainer, groomer, or kennel operator. 

Compensation Available for a Wilmington Dog Bite

In a dog bite injury claim or lawsuit, you may have the right to recover compensation for losses you sustain due to your injuries. At Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC, our Wilmington dog bite injury lawyers are prepared to fight for money for your:

  • Medical treatment and physical therapy expenses
  • Costs of long-term care you need for permanent disabilities
  • Loss of income if you temporarily or permanently cannot work due to injuries or disabilities
  • Pain and suffering
  • Reduced enjoyment or quality of life caused by disabilities or visible scarring and disfigurement 

Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Dog Bite Lawsuit in Wilmington?

Under North Carolina’s statute of limitations on injury claims, you typically have three years after the dog bite injury to file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner or other responsible party. If you wait to file a lawsuit after the limitations period expires, the court will likely dismiss the case as untimely. Due to the deadline for filing a dog bite lawsuit, you should talk to a Wilmington dog bite lawyer as soon as possible. 

What to Do After a Dog Bite in Wilmington

Steps you should take to protect your legal rights to pursue financial recovery for injuries you suffered in a dog bite or attack include:

  • Report the attack to the dog’s owner if you can locate them.
  • Seek immediate medical attention for any injuries. Follow your doctor’s recommended treatment plan.
  • Keep copies of any medical bills or records of other expenses you incur due to your injuries. Gather your pay stubs or income statements if you need to miss work during your recovery.
  • Start a journal to document the pain and physical limitations you experience from your injuries and medical treatment.
  • Contact a dog bite victim attorney from Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC, to discuss the next steps you need to take to pursue compensation for your injuries.

Contact Our Dog Bite Lawyers in Wilmington Today

If you’ve sustained injuries after somebody else’s dog has bitten you, you need experienced legal counsel who will fight for the money you need. Contact Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC, today for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your options with our legal team’s dog bite liability lawyer.