Dogs make great pets and companions. Although most interactions with dogs are friendly, sometimes a dog may become aggressive or frightened and bite.
On February 8, 2010, a child was bitten by a wandering pit bull at Western Union Elementary School in North Carolina. The stray pit bull roamed onto the school's playground and bit a boy on the school's property. The dog may also have attacked a school employee earlier that morning. The injured boy's father filed a lawsuit against the school alleging the school was negligent. The lawsuit claims the school had knowledge of the dog on the property and knew the dog was aggressive.
Dog Bites at a School Playground May Cause School Board Liability
Under certain circumstances, North Carolina dog-bite statutes punish pet owners whose animals bite people. If a dog's owner knew - or should have known - that a dog either was dangerous or could potentially behave dangerously - than he or she will be held responsible for the effects of an attack including costs for medical treatment, cosmetic surgery, hospitalization and rehabilitation. Animals will be considered dangerous under the law if the dog has killed or seriously injured a person in the past or has been raised for the purpose of dog fighting. "Potentially dangerous" animals are ones that meet one of the following criteria:
- Previously bitten another person
- Previously killed or seriously injured another domesticated animal when not on its owner's property (regardless of whether the biting dog was leashed at the time of the attack)
- Previously - while not on its owner's property - approached another person in a menacing, vicious or terrorizing manner, causing the person to fear an attack is imminent
- Belong to a breed of dog (like a Rottweiler or Pit Bull) that is generally recognized for being aggressive by nature and prone to attack and is not properly restrained
The Center for Disease Control estimates there are over 4.7 million dog bite incidents each year. Dog bites can have serious and lasting effects on the victim, so if you or a loved one was bitten by a dog, contact a knowledgeable North Carolina personal injury attorney to learn more about your legal rights and options.