In the United States, dogs are incredibly popular. According to one study, 38.4% of households in the U.S. have at least one dog – which works out to more than 48 million homes! Dogs can be great companions and often make wonderful pets. But when they bite a person, they can cause serious harm.
If you have been bitten by a dog, you may be able to file a claim for compensation with the dog owner’s insurance company. In South Carolina, dog owners are generally responsible for any injuries that their dogs inflict on others. Through a personal injury claim, you may be able to recover financial compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other losses.
The Derrick Law Office represents injury victims in the greater Greenville area. We are fierce advocates for our clients and work hard to help them get maximum compensation for their losses. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team.
Can I File a Lawsuit If I Am Attacked By a Dog in Greenville, SC?
In South Carolina, dog owners are strictly liable for any injuries that their dogs cause. Strict liability is a legal concept that essentially means that an injury victim does not have to prove that the other person did anything wrong in order to recover money. By comparison, for most other types of personal injury claims, an individual will have to demonstrate that the at-fault party’s negligent or intentional conduct caused their injuries.
Dog bite cases are different. Under South Carolina’s statute, an owner can be held responsible if their dog bites or otherwise attacks someone. It does not matter if the dog has never bitten someone or shown aggressive tendencies before. If someone’s dog hurts someone, the owner is typically liable for any losses that they suffer.
However, there are some exceptions to this general rule. To hold a dog owner strictly liable, you must either be on public property or have permission to be on someone’s private property. In other words, this law won’t apply if you are trespassing. It also does not apply if a dog bite victim provoked the dog in some way.
Most dog bite cases start with filing a claim with the owner’s insurance company. Dog bites are usually covered by a homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy. This means that the dog owner won’t usually be personally on the hook for whatever damages their dog causes – their insurance company will pay for it.
An experienced Greenville dog bite lawyer can help you file a dog bite claim. In most cases, your attorney will be able to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company. If the insurer won’t offer you the money that you deserve for your injuries, then your lawyer will file a lawsuit and fight for your right to full compensation.
What Should I Do After a Dog Bite?
The most important thing that you should do after being attacked by a dog is to seek medical attention. Getting prompt medical care will ensure that you get a proper diagnosis and the right treatment for your injuries. It will also create a record of your injuries that can be used to bolster your case.
If you are able to do so, try to identify the dog and its owner. This may be easy to do if the dog is known to you. It may be more difficult if you have never seen the dog before. Identifying the dog is a critical step in getting the money that you deserve.
While still at the scene, try to take photos and videos of your injuries. You may even be able to get a picture or video of the dog and its owner, which may be helpful in the future. You can also write down the names and contact information of the dog owner and any witnesses.
Once you have gotten medical treatment, you should also file a dog bite report with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SDHEC). This report will be useful when you file your claim.
Finally, reach out to an experienced Greenville dog bite lawyer for a free consultation. Don’t talk to an insurance adjuster or give a statement until you have had a chance to talk to an attorney. A lawyer will protect your interests and handle all communications with the insurance company on your behalf.
How a Greenville Dog Bite Attorney Can Help
After a dog bite, you may not know what to do. You may be dealing with significant medical bills, lost wages, pain from the injury, and trauma from the attack itself. An experienced Greenville dog bite lawyer can help you with the next steps of the process.
Insurance companies are in business to make money. They make massive profits by paying out as little as possible on claims like yours. In short, insurance companies – and the people who work for them – don’t have your best interests at heart.
By contrast, a Greenville personal injury lawyer is bound to fight for your rights and to protect your interests. They will take on the massive corporations for you. An attorney will use their knowledge of the law and experience with similar cases to help you get maximum compensation.
Studies show that people who are represented by counsel recover an average of 40% more money in personal injury claims compared to people who represent themselves. Because personal injury lawyers work on contingency fees, you won’t pay anything upfront – and you won’t pay a fee unless they recover money for you.
Having a lawyer can also smooth the process of filing a claim when you are bitten by a dog that is owned by a friend or family member. They can allow you to preserve your relationship with your loved ones while advocating for your right to full compensation.
Does South Carolina Have a One Bite Rule?
No. In the past, South Carolina followed a “one bite rule,” which meant that in order to recover for a dog bite, an injury victim had to prove that the dog had dangerous tendencies. In 1986, the South Carolina Legislature passed a law that made dog owners strictly liable for any injuries that their dogs caused in most situations. This law abolished the “one bite rule” in South Carolina.
Even though this law is on the books, it can still be challenging to prove a dog bite case. A Greenville dog bite lawyer can advocate for your right to full compensation. Call the Derrick Law Office today to schedule a free consultation.
The Dog Owner Says That I Was Teasing His Dog. Can I Still Recover for My Dog Bite Injuries?
South Carolina law provides that dog owners are responsible for injuries that their dogs cause unless the victim (1) unlawfully trespassed at the time; or (2) provoked the dog. To avoid liability, dog owners and their insurers may try to argue that a dog bite victim provoked the dog in some way, such as by teasing it.
A skilled Greenville dog bite lawyer can help you fight back against these sorts of claims. We’ll put together a strong case to show that you were an innocent victim – and that you are entitled to full compensation for your injuries. Reach out to the Derrick Law Office today to schedule a free consultation.
A Friend’s Dog Bit Me. Will It Be Put Down If I Report It or File a Claim?
Not necessarily. In South Carolina, dogs who are aggressive or who bite someone may need to be euthanized to ensure that they do not have rabies; the only want to test for rabies is to euthanize the animal. Otherwise, if the owner has records of vaccination and the dog does not have a history of attacking people, it will probably not be put down.
These cases can be emotionally difficult, especially when you know the dog’s owner. A skilled Greenville dog bite attorney can help you navigate the process. Contact Derrick Law Office today to talk to a personal injury lawyer about your case.
How Our Greenville Dog Bite Attorney Can Help
Being attacked by a dog can be incredibly traumatic. It can also lead to serious or even life-threatening injuries. If you have been bitten by a dog, our law firm is here for you.
The Derrick Law Office is dedicated to helping injury victims get top dollar for their Greenville, SC dog bite claims. We offer free initial consultations, and never charge a fee unless we recover money for you. To learn more or to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with a Greenville dog bite lawyer, give our law firm a call at 864-349-5359 or fill out our online contact form.