Dog bites can be serious, even fatal. South Carolina has provisions to ensure that victims of dog bites and their loved ones need not suffer. Dog bites can do much more than cause a break in the skin. In some cases, an attack could leave you incapacitated for long periods of time.
The reality is: anybody can be a victim of a dog bite. Children, though, are especially susceptible according to statistics. Unfortunately, child related injuries can be the most dangerous.
Dog bite statutes often make it clear who is at fault for dog bite incidents. In South Carolina, the laws are generally on the side of the victim. Still, you need to read up on the laws and work with an attorney to ensure that you can seek the compensation you deserve.
Owner Liability for Dog Bites
In South Carolina, the owner of a dog is liable for damages caused by the dog, even if the incident occurs in a private place. The individual may have express or implied invitation to enter the premises. For instance, the victim may have been a friend coming over after being invited.
The victim doesn't need to have been bitten in order to have a valid case according to the law. Any dog attack, such as causing a fall, is valid. A dog could jump on somebody, resulting in a broken bone. Dogs can also cause injuries and infections with scratches.
Dog owners in South Carolina are expected to keep their pets on their property. They must restrain dogs via fence or leash so that the pet cannot reach individuals not on the private property.
Proving Liability for Dog Bites
For dog owners to be proven liable, the injury victim must demonstrate that the animal in question attacked or bit them. South Carolina has a strict liability law, meaning that the owner need not have known that the dog was dangerous ahead of time.
Unlike other states, South Carolina does not have a "one bite" rule that might say that a dog must have previously bitten somebody in order for the owner to be held liable for future injuries.
Exceptions to Liability for Dog Bites
Dog owners may not be considered liable for dog bite damages if provocation occurred. Provocation may include abuse or teasing. For example, a person walking by and vocally taunting a dog may be considered harassing the animal.
The other situation in which dog owners are not liable is if the victim was trespassing. Trespassing does not include those who have a duty involving entering the property, like delivering the mail.
Liability for the dog owner does not apply if the dog is working with law enforcement as part of a government agency and the attack was in compliance with commands of the officers involved. The dog must also meet training and certification standards of the state.
South Carolina also requires that you file a lawsuit within three years of the date of the injury to meet the statute of limitations laws.
Compensation for Dog Bites
To seek compensation for costs related to dog bite injuries, you need to gather the appropriate evidence to bring to court. This will include your evidence of medical bills, dates of appointments you had to take off work, and general loss of income.
You may also be able to seek compensation for pain and suffering or property damage if this applies to your case.
Philpot Law Firm PA is here to help you with your personal injury case. We take dog bites seriously. If you have suffered a personal injury, we are prepared to help represent your rights in court.