Many dog owners can’t believe that their dog has the capacity to bite a person. Unfortunately, even the best-behaved dog is still an animal that could attack and harm others – especially children.
All too often, dog owners fail to recognize the dangers posed by their pets or do not keep their dogs properly restrained in public or when people visit their home. When this happens and the dog attacks someone else, the pet’s owner – and their insurance company – could be held responsible for financial hardships including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.
Jebaily Law Firm represents people who have been bitten by dogs across South Carolina. We know how traumatic dog bites can be for the victims and their families. We are committed to holding dog owners responsible for their careless and negligent actions. Call us or complete an online contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our South Carolina personal injury attorneys today, we offer consultations for car accidents, truck accidents, wrongful death claims, bicycle accidents, workers compensation claims, and much more.
South Carolina Code § 47-3-110(A) establishes that a dog owner will be liable for the damages suffered by the person bitten or otherwise attacked by a dog, as long as the victim is in a public place or lawfully in a private place. This law essentially creates strict liability for dog bites.
Under South Carolina Code § 47-3-110(B), the liability does not apply if the dog bite victim provoked or harassed the dog, or the dog was working in a law enforcement capacity. In the latter case, it must be proven that the dog’s attack must have been ordered by the animal’s handler. The actions of the handler and the dog must not have violated the department’s written policies and cannot be considered excessive force. Also, the dog must not attack or bite third-party bystanders.
In South Carolina, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury action is three years. This means a person has three years from the date of a dog bite to file a legal claim, otherwise, they will lose the ability to hold a dog owner legally liable in virtually all cases.
No matter how serious or minor a dog bite appears to be initially, a victim should always seek medical attention. One reason why it is always important to have a dog bite treated right away is to minimize potential infection risks. It is also a good idea to create an immediate medical record as soon as possible after the incident.
The need for medical care is even more important in cases involving stray dogs because of possible rabies risks.
Commonly reported injuries from dog bites include, but are not limited to:
The physical signs of dog bite damage are important in South Carolina personal injury claims, but it is also critical to keep in mind the significant but less visible psychological damage that can stem from dog bites. Many dog bite victims are children, who may be more likely to be adversely impacted by these events and suffer negative psychological consequences.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than half of the 4.7 million people bitten by dogs annually are children. The CDC states that 1 in 5 dog bites require medical attention.
Other diseases besides rabies that the CDC lists as possibly resulting from dog bites include Capnocytophaga bacteria, Pasteurella, tetanus, and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Dog bite victims occasionally express some concerns about filing injury claims relating to their attacks because the dog owners are usually friends, family members, or neighbors with whom the victims had very special relationships. Victims may fear that these acquaintances will be personally liable for paying the damages caused by a dog bite and any claim will cause undue financial hardship.
In actuality, most dog bites are covered by a dog owner’s homeowners’ insurance policy.
Depending on the extent of the hardships caused by a dog bite, victims could be entitled to multiple types of damages. Victims may be able to recover economic damages for such calculable losses such as medical expenses and lost income. Other awards may include noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, or emotional distress.
Insurance companies will try to minimize the amounts they have to pay in these types of cases. Many times, insurers will offer victims lump-sum settlements to resolve their cases before they have even had the opportunity to talk with lawyers. These proposed settlements are usually much less than what victims are actually entitled to.
Did you or your loved one sustain serious injuries because of a dog bite in South Carolina? An experienced attorney can help you pursue all of the compensation you are entitled to.
Dog bites can be extremely complicated injury cases for people to resolve on their own. Fortunately, you do not have to struggle alone to obtain the compensation you need and deserve after a dog attack.
Jebaily Law Firm can immediately commence an independent investigation of the dog attack, secure key evidence, and begin negotiating for a settlement that provides for all of your past, present, and future needs. Call us or contact us online today for a thorough evaluation of your case. Our consultations are free, and we won’t charge you legal fees unless we secure compensation for you.