Dogs may be considered man’s best friend, but at the end of the day, they are all animals and can be unpredictable. In addition, dogs (and animals in general) are remarkably strong and can cause significant injuries to people. Unfortunately, each year, many South Carolina residents are bitten or otherwise injured by dogs. To make matters more difficult, oftentimes, they are injured by pets that belong to friends, family-members and neighbors.
Unfortunately, dog bites and attacks are most likely to affect children, since children are less likely to understand the appropriate way to approach animals, are less likely to appreciate the danger that animals can pose and are also less likely to know how to defend themselves against an aggressive animal. Due to their smaller size, children are also more likely to suffer facial injuries and life-threatening injuries.
Common injuries from dog attacks include:
- Facial and eye injuries
- Deep puncture wounds
- Nerve damage
- Post-injury infection
- Exposure to rabies
Dog Bite Laws in South Carolina
First, dogs (and other animals) can cause injury to people in ways other than biting. For example, a dog may knock someone down, causing them injury. No matter how the injury occurs, if it is caused by a dog (or other owned animal), South Carolina is a “strict liability” state. Strict liability cases are very different from negligence cases (like car wrecks). In negligence cases, in order to be compensated for your injuries, you must basically prove that the other party did something wrong. In a strict liability case, no wrongdoing is required. When a dog in South Carolina causes injury to a person, the dog’s owner (or caretaker in control) is responsible for the resulting harm – plain and simple. This rule applies to all dogs – not just “aggressive” ones. The only notable exception to the general strict liability rule is when the injured party provokes the attack.
A common misconception regarding animal liability is that there is a “one free bite” rule. Many people mistakenly believe that if a dog has no history of aggressive behavior, then the dog owner is not responsible for the injury. This is not correct.
Another common misconception regarding animal liability is that the dog owner’s responsibility depends on where the attack occurs. As long as the injured party is lawfully in the location where the attack occurs, then the dog owner is responsible. This includes public spaces, as well as private places, including the dog owner’s home. As an example, if you are at your neighbor’s home and their dog attacks you, your neighbor is still responsible for any harm that results from the attack.
The types of compensation you may seek after a dog bite injury in South Carolina are similar to those in other types of personal injury cases – medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.
If you’ve been injured by a dog (or other owned animal), Contact Hundley Law right away to discuss your case. Our legal team will ensure that you have a little less to worry about – while you focus on healing, our focus is on making sure you are compensated fairly for your injuries and for what you’ve gone through. Whether your case will involve settling a claim, negotiating with an insurance company, or filing a lawsuit and going to trial, our professional and compassionate team will be there for you every step of the way.