Dog bites can cause severe and sometimes life-threatening injuries. Children are the victims of about half of reported dog bite cases, and they often suffer the worst harm. The injuries can be devastating because a dog can easily reach a child’s head and face.
For both children and adults, physical injuries can be painful and often result in lasting scars or disfigurement in severe cases. The emotional toll of the experience can last years or a lifetime.
Further complicating these cases is the fact that the dog’s owner is often a neighbor, friend, relative, or acquaintance of the victim. This can result in an uncomfortable situation in which the victim desperately needs financial assistance to pay their medical expenses and other bills after the attack, but does not want to cause the person they are close to any financial harm or damage their relationship.
The good news is that you may be able to recover compensation without making the dog owner pay out of pocket. Many people don’t know they can recover medical and other costs that they need by hiring a personal injury attorney and filing a claim against the dog owner’s homeowners’ insurance policy.
If you have been injured in a dog attack in North Myrtle Beach, Jebaily Law Firm offers free, no-obligation consultations to provide an honest and thorough assessment of your case. Contact us now to find out how we can help.
What Is South Carolina Law on Dog Bites and the Dog Owner’s Responsibility?
In South Carolina, dog owners may be liable for a dog bite because we have a strict liability law. Strict liability means an unprovoked attack by a dog, even if the owner has no idea the dog was vicious or had violent tendencies, may make the dog’s owner liable.
To prove the owner’s liability, the victim of the dog bite should produce evidence that the dog owner had a legal duty to control the dog, the owner breached that duty by not controlling or restraining the dog, and the dog bite was directly a consequence of that breach of the owner’s responsibility.
A lawsuit can be filed to recover economic damages like medical costs and time away from work to recover from the dog bite, as well as emotional and mental noneconomic losses. The personal injury lawsuit can be filed up to three years from the date of the dog bite.
Why Hire an Attorney for a Dog Bite Lawsuit?
An experienced personal injury attorney will help sort out the legal requirements for a successful lawsuit. Did the dog bite occur in a public place, or on private property where the victim had a legal right to be? Was the dog a trained police animal or just a pet? Owners of trained dogs have a different civil standard regarding the behavior of their dogs. Was the person who was bitten harassing the dog, being inappropriate, for example, by taking its food away or playing roughly with the dog?
If the answer to all of these questions is no, the attorney can help you sue the owner by making a damage claim against the dog owner. Some people may not want to go after the owner in civil court because they are friends, but keep in mind two things.
First, medical and other costs associated with a dog bite will be expensive. Not many people can cover that type of expense out of their own pocket. Second, the compensation awarded in a dog bite claim will likely be paid by the dog owner’s insurance company, which is precisely why people get homeowner’s insurance in the first place.
Can the Jebaily Law Firm Help Me?
We are an experienced personal injury law firm that has helped clients seek compensation in North Myrtle Beach dog bite incidents. We know how to get all the relevant information from you in order to craft a strong damage claim.
We have negotiated with all the top homeowner’s insurance carriers in South Carolina and we also know the best weapon we have is our willingness to take your case to trial if the insurance company won’t agree to a fair settlement amount.
What Types of Injuries Can Occur from a Dog Bite?
Dog bites can result in devastating injuries that can be extremely costly to treat. Some of the most common injuries include:
- Lacerations – Tears and lacerations can frequently occur, especially to the face, hands, arms, and legs. The way a dog attacks is to clamp down on its prey, lock its jaw and then shake the victim vigorously. This can cause the skin to tear. These lacerations can also produce scarring that can last a lifetime or might require plastic surgery.
- Puncture wounds – These can be very serious because they take a long time to heal and need to be cared for continually in order to prevent infection. They also can be very painful.
- Tearing of muscle and skin – The bite is just the beginning of the attack. The dog’s real purpose is to debilitate you by shaking your body vigorously until you cannot fight back, then go in for the kill by biting your throat or neck.
- Crushed and broken bones – The jaws of some breeds of dogs can generate hundreds of pounds of pressure, easily enough to break a forearm, hand or ankle.
- Infections – Dog bites that break the skin can easily become infected when bacteria in the mouth or saliva enters the wound.
It is particularly important that you see a doctor to treat your wounds and make sure that they are healing and are not infected. Once you’ve received treatment, be sure to contact a knowledgeable dog bite lawyer to discuss how you can recover compensation to help pay for treatment and other expenses.
What Do I Do If I Am Confronted by a Vicious Dog?
Stand absolutely still most dogs will not notice you unless you are moving. Do not engage with the dog, do not talk to it and do not look it in the eye, look away. If the dog knocks you down or lunges at you, get into a tight ball with your back facing the dog, and try not to expose any body part that the dog can bite down on.
If possible, use any object that is nearby that will allow you to shield your body from the dog. The wider and flatter the object, the better, so the dog cannot bite down on it. This could include umbrellas, purses, backpacks, bags, or anything that can be used as a wall between you and the attacking dog.
Contact a North Myrtle Beach Dog Bite Lawyer
If you have been bitten by a dog in North Myrtle Beach, call the dog bite attorneys of Jebaily Law Firm to schedule a free consultation. We will work with you to determine the best course of action to pursue the compensation you deserve.
You don’t have to suffer alone, nor should you pay out of pocket if you’ve been bitten by someone else’s aggressive dog. Contact us today to schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation.