Victims and their families usually have many questions after a dog bite injury. While we can offer some general information to answer some frequently asked questions, it is important to remember that every case is unique, so it is a good idea for anyone who has suffered harm caused by a dog attack to consult a knowledgeable attorney for specific advice.
What should someone do after a dog bite?
Anyone injured by a dog in South Carolina should first take steps to keep safe from further harm from either the animal or anything else in the surroundings. Then the victim should take care of injuries right away. One of the first phone calls that should be made is to the police department and EMS. It is important to receive a prompt and thorough medical exam as soon as possible and to follow instructions from doctors afterwards. Prioritizing injury care not only gives a victim the best chance for a full medical recovery but also provides valuable evidence for legal action and financial recovery. The initial exam and follow up visits will provide reports that could be used to demonstrate the type and severity of injuries.
While the victim’s health and safety are the most important factors, it is helpful to gather facts and evidence because that information may not be available for long. The victim or someone nearby could take photos of the animal, the injuries, and the setting where the injury occurred. If safe to do so, someone could see whether the dog has any identifying tags. If the owner is nearby, someone should gather contact information and find out if there are security cameras in the area that may have captured the incident. Additionally, if there are any witnesses, it is important to collect contact information for them as well. A dog owner may claim that the victim provoked the dog to attack, but evidence from a witness could successfully refute that argument.
Does South Carolina follow the “one bite” rule?
Unlike some other jurisdictions, South Carolina does not let a dog owner get away with “one free bite.” Owners in South Carolina are held strictly liable for dog attack injuries so long as the victim was on premises where they were lawfully allowed to be and the victim did not provoke or harass the dog. That means victims do not need to prove that a dog exhibited dangerous behavior in the past to recover from their injuries.
How does strict liability affect an injury claim?
Strict liability is not usually applied in other types of personal injury cases. When a dog owner is held strictly liable, that owner must pay costs necessary to restore a victim even if the owner was not negligent.
In dog attack cases, the victim must show that their injuries were caused by the dog attack, but they do not need to show how a dog owner’s wrongful conduct allowed the attack to occur. Under the strict liability dog bite statute, the victim only needs to show the relationship between the owner and the animal, the victim did not provoke the dog, and they were lawfully located on the property where the attack occurred.
How is negligence established in a dog attack claim?
If a dog bite victim is not able to recover under the strict liability law, they might still receive compensation if they can prove that the owner was negligent in controlling the dog. The owner would be negligent if they did something irresponsible or failed to do something they should have done and that irresponsible behavior caused the injuries. Previous attacks or past aggressive behavior can also be evidence of negligence by the owner in dog attack cases.
A dog bite lawyer in South Carolina might establish negligence by demonstrating to the court what the dog owner should have done in a particular situation, proving that they failed in that duty, and how that failure enabled the dog to cause attack injuries. Evidence such as witness statements and photographs can be crucial to establishing negligence.
What compensation could be available after a dog bite?
Dog attack injuries can be extremely serious and lead to emotional trauma in addition to long-term pain, disfigurement, and other effects. Victims of dog bites could receive compensation to cover their medical bills and future medical needs and the impact on their ability to work. Additionally, they can often receive compensation to offset their pain, suffering, and emotional anguish.
Talk to a Knowledgeable South Carolina Dog Bite Attorney
Dog owners are legally required to take responsibility for the actions of their animals, but they often make it difficult for bite victims to recover. If you or a loved one suffered injuries caused by a dog attack, the experienced dog bite attorneys at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. are ready to fight for the compensation you deserve. Call us now for a free consultation and case evaluation.