Dog bites are not always the most news-worthy topics -- but a dog bite that cost the victim $60,000? That definitely calls for a second look. One North Carolina man said he has suffered serious personal injury because of a dog attack in his neighborhood, which left his left hand with permanent problems. Even though the man's medical costs are sky-high, the victim will not receive recompense; the owner of the dog has been deemed not liable for the animal's actions.
The victim, who had just recently moved from Maryland to the Winston-Salem area, was attacked in September 2013 by a dog in his neighborhood. The man was simply standing outside his home when he saw the animal sniffing the bushes. Seconds later, the 7-year-old Labrador mix was attacking the victim, causing him serious injury by ripping his hand and arm apart.
The man called for help from emergency responders, who arrived on the scene quickly. Officers were able to identify the home where the dog lived. The woman who answered the door said the dog belonged to her son. She said it was possible that the backyard gate was left open and the dog got loose.
What happened next may surprise you. Since the dog is not considered a dangerous breed -- and the animal did not have a history of violence -- the owners are not held financially responsible for the man's medical costs. Negligence is difficult to prove in such cases, as the owners had to anticipate problems with the dog. In the case of many family dogs like a retriever, it is presumed that the owner could not have foreseen the danger.
Victims who have suffered serious injury because of a dog bite may have other legal options to help them obtain financial compensation for their injuries. A North Carolina attorney can explain state-specific statutes related to dog attacks. No one should have to suffer in silence after he or she has been brutalized by someone's pet.
Source: Winston-Salem Journal, "Sexton: Life-altering dog attack leaves man with debt, few option" Scott Sexton, Mar. 30, 2014