North Carolina Dog Bite Laws And Owner Liability

As a dog owner, it is important to understand the laws and regulations surrounding dog bites in North Carolina. North Carolina dog bite laws are designed to protect both dog owners and victims of dog bites. In this article, we will discuss the details of North Carolina dog bite laws and the owner’s liability.

Strict Liability

North Carolina follows the doctrine of strict liability related to dog bites. This means that a dog owner can be held liable for any damages caused by their dog, even if they did nothing to cause or contribute to the bite. The owner is responsible for the actions of their dog and any resulting injuries.


Moreover, if the victim can prove that the dog owner was negligent in their actions or inaction, they may also be able to recover damages. For example, if a dog owner allows their dog to roam free in a public area or fails to place a warning sign, they may be found negligent in the event of a dog bite.


In North Carolina, a dog owner is typically not held liable for damages caused by their dog if the victim was trespassing on private property at the time of the bite. However, if the dog owner knows that their dog is dangerous and doesn’t take any steps to prevent harm, they may still be held liable.

Statute of Limitations

It is essential to note that there is a statute of limitations for dog bite claims in North Carolina. Victims have three years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. If the victim does not file the lawsuit within this time frame, they may lose their right to sue for damages.

Defense of Provocation

It is important to note that North Carolina dog bite laws provide a possible defense for dog owners if the victim provoked the dog. For instance, if a child is teasing or taunting a dog, and the dog bites the child, the dog owner may not be held liable if they can prove that the child provoked the dog.

Insurance Coverage

Most homeowner’s insurance policies in North Carolina offer coverage for dog bite injuries. The policies usually cover both damages and legal fees. Before buying homeowner’s insurance, it is crucial to check whether the policy covers dog bites or not.


In conclusion, understanding North Carolina dog bite laws is crucial for dog owners. As a dog owner, you are responsible for controlling your dog’s actions and ensuring that they do not cause harm to others. If your dog bites someone, you may be held liable for any damages caused. It is vital to take all necessary steps to prevent a potential attack, including keeping your dog on a leash, keeping your dog under control, and placing warning signs if necessary.

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