Are North Carolina Dog Owners Liable for Dog Bite Injuries? | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

Yes, but some conditions apply.

Generally, a dog bite victim in North Carolina will have grounds for filing an insurance claim or civil lawsuit against a dog owner when the attack results in severe injuries or death. It will also be essential that the victim did not provoke the dog into attacking.

Note that minor nips or mild bruising do not count as severe injuries. Section 67-4.1 of the North Carolina General Statutes defines a severe injury as “any physical injury that results in broken bones or disfiguring lacerations or required cosmetic surgery or hospitalization.”

The owner of a dog that is older than 6 months and attacks someone while running free and unaccompanied after dark can also be held liable for injuries.

A final provision of North Carolina state law that makes dog owners financially responsible for dog bite injuries concerns attacks by “dangerous dogs.” By statute, a dangerous dog is one that inflicts severe injuries or that has previously bitten someone or previously attacked another domestic animal.