Dog bites can be a very traumatic and life changing event for adults and especially for children. A person's life can be altered in a matter of seconds from injuries suffered from a dog bite attack. Oftentimes injuries can be serious and permanently disfiguring. The costs associated with those injuries-emergency services, surgeries, future surgeries, physical and mental therapy, etc. can quickly add up and become overwhelming. And, in most cases, insurance companies fight hard to try to avoid paying victims adequate compensation. That is why it is critical for you to understand South Carolina's dog bite laws and contact a personal injury lawyer immediately to help you or your loved one recover the most compensation for your medical bills, pain and emotional suffering.
Do you have to prove that the dog owner knew the dog was dangerous?
No. Some states require the "one-bite rule" which means that the victim must prove that the dog owner knew or should have known the dog was dangerous to recover. In reality, in those states requiring the "one-bite rule", the dog owner gets a "free one-bite" pass before becoming liable.
Thankfully, South Carolina does not recognize this rule. In South Carolina, with a few exceptions, dog owners are strictly liable for damages suffered by a person who is bitten or attacked while in a public place or lawfully in a private place.
What are some of the exceptions to the strict liability rule?
Under Section 47-3-110 of South Carolina Code of Laws, the strict liability provision may not apply if: (1) the person who was attacked harassed or provoked the dog; and (2) that provocation was the proximate cause of the attack. Another example would be if the dog was working in a law enforcement capacity (i.e.-police K9 dogs) and complied with (1) the canine officer's command; (2) South Carolina Law Enforcement Training Council's standards; and (3) the agency's written policy on necessary and appropriate use of the dogs. A third example that would likely prohibit applying the strict liability rule is if the person attacked by the dog was trespassing on private property. However, if you or a loved one is bitten by a dog, it is imperative to remember to consult with a personal injury attorney because these exceptions can be very fact specific and you may still be entitled to recover damages.
If I am dog-sitting for my friend in South Carolina, can I be liable for a dog bite attack?
Maybe. This answer depends on the facts of the specific case. Under South Carolina law, if a dog owner allows someone to watch his or her dog and that dog attacks someone as a result of the dog-sitter failing to control the dog, then that dog-sitter may also be liable for the dog bite attack.
What should you do after suffering a dog bite attack in South Carolina?
First, call the police and seek medical attention right away. Even if you know the dog owner and do not think they will contest the facts, it is very helpful to get a police report for insurance purposes. Second, immediately call an experienced personal injury attorney who can guide you through the process. As mentioned above, homeowner's insurance companies will likely be fighting hard to build a case against the victim as to why he or she should not receive full compensation. That is why you need experienced dog bite attorneys like Young & Young on your side to fight even harder for you to be compensated for the serious injuries and pain and suffering. Call our office 24/7 at 843-724-1563 for a free consultation.