If a dog has bitten you or your child, you likely have many questions. Is the dog’s owner responsible for my injuries? Am I eligible to get compensation for my medical bills and other expenses?
In South Carolina, the dog owner can be held financially accountable for the actions of their dog. That means you could pursue a dog bite claim in Florence, South Carolina if someone else’s dog attacks you.
Dog bite injuries can be severe – particularly for children – as the personal injury lawyers at Jebaily Law Firm see all too often. Knowing more about dog bites and what to do after a dog attack can help make sure you aren’t left struggling with injuries and medical expenses on your own when someone else’s dog causes you serious harm.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You With Your Dog Bite Case
When seeking compensation after a dog has bitten you, it is important to have a full understanding of South Carolina law. You will also have to be able to gather the correct evidence to connect your injuries to the attack.
This process usually requires the assistance of a personal injury lawyer with experience handling dog bite cases. It is important to note that in most cases, you will not be seeking compensation from the dog owner themselves, but against their insurance company.
This is important because victims are often reluctant to file injury claims if the dog’s owner is a friend, family member, or neighbor. They, understandably, do not want to cause the person any financial hardship, even if they are struggling with medical expenses associated with the attack. Most of the time, however, these claims are settled and paid by the person’s homeowners’ insurance policy with little to no effect on the person’s finances.
Common Dog Attack Injuries and Damage Caused by Dog Bites
While some dog bites result in only minor abrasions or puncture wounds, some can lead to permanent injuries and scarring and disfigurement. In the most severe cases, a dog attack could be fatal.
Commonly reported physical and emotional injuries include:
- Puncture wounds
- Lacerations and abrasions
- Serious bruising
- The spread of infection, including rabies, staph infections, and tetanus
- Tearing of the muscle and skin
- Bone fractures
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Depression or anxiety
- A phobia of dogs
No matter the nature of the injuries you suffer, victims could incur significant medical expenses after a dog bite. These expenses may include trips to the emergency room, surgeries, and physical therapy, among others.
What You Could Collect After a Dog Bite Injury
You should not have to cover these losses yourself when someone else’s dog is responsible for the harm you suffered. If you pursue a dog bite claim, you could get compensation for more than just the initial doctor’s bill. You may be able to recover compensation for all of the following:
- All medical expenses, in the present and the future
- Lost wages while away from work recovering
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Damage to property, such as jewelry, glasses, and clothing
- Pain and suffering related to your attack
- Disfigurement and disability
- Emotional distress
- Wrongful death
While not all of these damages may be recovered in your case, you could be owed significant compensation if someone else’s dog bites you.
Who Is Liable When a Dog Attacks Another Person in Florence?
The ability to pursue a claim against the owner of a dog in a dog bite case depends on the state where the bite happened. In some states, there is a “one bite” law that exempts the owner from liability if the dog has never bitten someone before.
South Carolina does not have a “one bite” law. Therefore, regardless of the history of the dog, the owner can be held liable if their dog bites someone. That does not mean that every bite can necessarily lead to a successful claim, however. Specific requirements have to be met to prove liability against the dog owner. These include:
- The dog bite must happen either in a public place or on private property where the victim had the legal right to be.
- The dog must not be a trained police animal.
- The victim was not harassing or antagonizing the dog before the attack.
If the circumstances of your attack meet these criteria, then you can pursue a claim that places liability on the owner of the dog.
What to Do If a Dog Bites You
Dog bites can be very serious, and they are far more frequent than many people realize, especially during the summer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about half the time, the victim of a dog bite is a child, and about 20% of the time, a dog bite is severe enough that it requires medical attention.
To avoid the worst possible consequences of a dog attack, you must be prepared and know what to do once the attack has occurred.
If a dog attacks you, you should first protect yourself by getting away from the dog. At that point, assess and treat your injuries. If they are minor, use antibiotic creams and bandages. For more severe injuries, try to limit blood loss. In both instances, you should then seek medical assistance. Even if your injuries don’t seem serious, it is possible there is damage you cannot see that a doctor can detect and start treating.
Once you have seen a doctor, you should decide whether you want to pursue a claim for the damages related to your dog bite.
Contact a Florence Dog Bite Lawyer
The experienced South Carolina dog bite lawyers at Jebaily Law Firm are here to help you if you or someone you love has been bitten by a dog. For Over 50 Years, we have worked tirelessly to protect the rights of people in Florence, Myrtle Beach, and across the state. We have recovered significant compensation on behalf of our clients, and we’re ready to put our experience to work for you.
Get 100 years of legal experience on your side and schedule a confidential consultation with us today. Call us, chat with us live, or fill out a contact form and get the help you need today.