A dog bite can be a serious injury and can lead to infection, permanent scarring, and emotional trauma. Dog owners are responsible for keeping their pet on a secure leash and confined to personal property when unleashed. When a dog bites, the owner can be held liable for injury and damages.
At Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. we work diligently to hold dog owners liable for the injuries their pets cause when they bite. Our legal team is committed to helping our clients claim the maximum amount of compensation available for their injuries and damages.
Liability for Dog Bites
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report found that nearly five million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States. Almost 800,000 require medical intervention as a result of these attacks. Dog owners are legally responsible for the actions of their pets, including any injuries or property damage caused by their dog.
In South Carolina, there is no “one free bite rule.” Instead, dog owners are strictly liable for the injuries caused by their dog if the attack occurs outside of the owner’s property or if the dog attacks someone who is lawfully on the owner’s property, unless the victim provoked the dog.
State and municipal laws and statutes on dog bites hold dog owners responsible for the actions of their pets, regardless of whether the animal has exhibited aggressive or destructive behavior in the past. Dog owners need to have their pet on a leash or in a confined area at all times when they are in public areas. It is the owner’s responsibility to restrain the dog and keep a safe distance from unfamiliar people and children.
Dog owners who are careless or negligent can also be held liable for injury or damage caused by their pet, even if the negligence was unintentional. A dog that jumps up and scratches the neighbor’s child after it escapes through an open door is an example of negligence since the dog owner was careless in not making sure the door was secure.
Preventing Dog Bites
No matter how much we love our dogs and trust them, they are still animals with behavioral instincts. A dog that is frightened or feels the need to protect its human will instinctively bite to protect itself or its owner. Dogs that are chained up or in a fenced in yard can also bite or become aggressive if they feel threatened. The bottom line is, dog owners and everyone that comes into contact with a dog must practice safety.
Dog owners need to be familiar with their pet’s behavior and predict their actions. A dog that shows fear when around children should never be taken to a park or public place where children are known to frequent. Dogs should never be left unattended, even in the backyard when they have previously jumped a fence or dug their way out of an enclosed area. Skittish dogs should never be forced to interact with unfamiliar people in an attempt to socialize the animal.
The general public needs to take precaution whenever they are in the presence of a dog, even if they have interacted with the animal in the past. Dogs will show behavioral signs to indicate fear or anxiety, which should always be respected by those wishing to interact with the animal. No one should put their face down to the dog’s mouth level, and strangers should always ask the owner if it is safe to approach their dog.
Adults need to carefully supervise children in the presence of a dog. Children are often spontaneous and impulsive, which can frighten a dog. A child should never be allowed to lay or sit on a dog, even if they have done so in the past without incident. If a dog bites a child, the consequences can be dire.
Columbia Personal Injury Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Victims Injured in Dog Bite Accidents
If you or someone you know has been bitten or injured by a dog, the Columbia dog bite lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. can help you claim the compensation you may be entitled to receive. Call us at 803-929-3600, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today.
Our offices are conveniently located throughout South Carolina and we serve clients in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, as well as the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.