Dogs are popular pets across the United States, but while most people have only positive experiences with “man’s best friend,” seriously damaging dog attacks can and do happen in the Jacksonville area. A dog attack can happen unexpectedly, and it’s possible for a stranger’s dog to escape confinement or its owner’s control and bite someone, just as it’s possible for a dog you have known for years to cause a devastating injury.
If you or a loved one is recovering from injuries another person’s dog inflicted, you have the right to seek accountability for the resulting damages. A personal injury claim against the dog’s owner can potentially yield compensation for your losses, but the actual legal process of holding the dog owner accountable is likely to be far more challenging than you may initially expect. If you want the best chance of maximizing the results of your legal efforts, you need an experienced Jacksonville dog bite attorney handling your case.
Christina Rivenbark & Associates has a team of attorneys with the skills and experience necessary to guide you through the toughest civil claims in the Jacksonville civil court. First, we take time to listen to each client’s unique story. Then, we’ll review the extent of the injuries you suffered and the economic impact of your accident. Our goal in handling your dog bite claim is to ensure the dog owner’s accountability and maximize the compensation you secure from your civil suit.
The state is one of many that enforce a strict liability rule for dog bites. Some states enforce “one-bite” rules that essentially give a dog owner one chance to avoid liability for injuries their pet causes to another person. After one bite, the dog owner would then be strictly liable for any damage their pet causes to others. The state does not uphold any such provision, so if a dog injures someone, the owner is liable for the damages regardless of whether they used reasonable care in handling the dog or had any reason to believe the dog could be dangerous.
A dog bite claim falls within the scope of personal injury law, so the statute of limitations for this type of case is two years from the date of the injury. This might seem like plenty of time in which to file your case, but there are many variables that could arise and complicate your recovery and/or the preliminary stages of your civil claim proceedings. Therefore, it is best to consult an attorney you can trust as soon as possible after addressing your immediate medical needs following the incident.
The strict liability rule may be relatively straightforward, but there is always potential for disputes regarding liability for a personal injury to arise in any type of civil claim for damages. The state upholds a contributory negligence rule that prohibits a plaintiff from claiming compensation from a defendant if the plaintiff is in any way partially responsible for causing their damages. It’s relatively common for defendants in Jacksonville personal injury cases to assert contributory negligence in their efforts to deflect liability for plaintiffs’ damages.
In the event you are accused of causing the dog attack in some way, you are likely to need an experienced Jacksonville dog bite attorney’s help to prove the truth of the matter. If an investigation reveals that you did contribute to causing the attack in any way, even slightly, this will prohibit you from seeking compensation from the defendant. An experienced Jacksonville dog bite lawyer can help their client gather the evidence needed to firmly establish fault for a dog bite and then guide them through the proceedings necessary for securing the compensation they legally deserve.
Once a plaintiff has established fault for a dog attack, the next phase of their case requires proving the full scope of damages they suffered from the incident in question. A dog can easily inflict a host of painful and debilitating injuries on a person, some of which can be life-threatening and/or permanently damaging. Broken bones, crushing injuries, puncture wounds, and lacerations are just a few examples. A victim could also hit their head and suffer a brain injury if a large dog knocks them to the ground unexpectedly.
You can seek full repayment of all your medical bills when you have a Jacksonville dog bite attorney handling your claim. They will assist you in gathering whatever evidence you may need to prove the full scope of medical treatment costs you have incurred and will incur because of the attack. In addition, state law permits the plaintiff to seek compensation for immediate and future medical expenses from the defendant.
Your injuries may prevent you from working for an extended time, meaning you and your family may struggle to manage household finances and pay your bills. The defendant is responsible for your lost wages during recovery, and if you have been permanently injured in any way that diminishes your ability to work and earn income they are responsible for this lost future earning capacity, too.
North Carolina law allows personal injury plaintiffs to claim compensation for the pain and suffering they experienced due to the negligence or misconduct of the defendants named in their cases. The average person may wonder how to assign dollar values to things like physical pain and emotional distress, but their attorney can guide them through this aspect of their case. There is no limit on the amount of pain and suffering compensation a Jacksonville personal injury plaintiff can include in their lawsuit, but the amount claimed should reflect the severity of their condition after the accident.
Proving fault is the first step toward recovery from a dog attack in Jacksonville, and then the victim must prove the full extent of the losses they suffered from the incident. After you have firmly proven fault and established the scope of the damages you are seeking from the defendant, your case can go one of two possible ways. The defendant may accept liability and agree to negotiate a settlement, or they may deny liability and demand a trial. Litigation will take longer to complete, and the judge has the final say on the outcome and the plaintiff’s total compensation.
The attorneys at Christina Rivenbark & Associates have the professional legal experience you want on your side after suffering injuries from a dog. These incidents can cause not only a host of physical complications for the victim but mental health problems as well. In addition, your ability to work and live independently may have been negatively impacted, and taking full advantage of your legal rights is vital if you want to maximize your recovery. Our team is ready to answer your most pressing legal questions and guide you through the civil court proceedings necessary to secure the compensation you need to recover.
North Carolina enforces a strict liability rule for dog bites, meaning a dog owner is responsible for any harm their pet causes to another person regardless of whether they used reasonable care in handling the dog. As long as the victim did not provoke the attack in any way, and as long as they were legally present wherever the attack occurred, strict liability applies.
The potential value of any personal injury claim hinges on the severity of the victim’s damages and the long-term complications they are likely to face because of their injury. Your Jacksonville dog bite attorney will be invaluable for proving liability and holding the at-fault dog owner appropriately accountable for your losses.
State law requires any dog that bites a person causing serious injury to remain in quarantine for 10 days. A public health officer will determine whether it can be quarantined in the owner’s home or in a local kennel. In most cases, nothing happens to the dog, but a judge may order an excessively dangerous dog with a history of causing multiple injuries to be euthanized.
The attorneys at Christina Rivenbark & Associates accept personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay nothing upfront for our legal representation and only owe a fee once we win your case. The contingency fee is a percentage of the total case award, ensuring you receive appropriate compensation for your damages with minimal risk.
It’s natural to wonder whether you can handle your dog bite claim on your own, especially in light of the strict liability rule. It is technically possible to file your own claim and you may even win, but you have the best chance of success when you have an experienced attorney representing your case.
The attorneys at Christina Rivenbark & Associates have represented many dog bite victims in Jacksonville and we know how damaging and traumatic dog attacks can be for a victim and their family. Whatever your unique case entails, you can expect compassionate, personalized legal counsel from our firm through every stage of your recovery efforts. Contact us today and schedule your case review with a Jacksonville dog bite attorney to learn how we can empower your recovery.