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Being bitten by a dog can cause significant physical harm and emotional trauma. If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses under South Carolina’s dog bite statute. However, navigating this statute can be complicated, which is why it’s essential to understand the law before filing a personal injury claim.
In South Carolina, the law regarding dog bites is a strict liability statute. This means that the owner of the dog is responsible for any harm or financial damages caused by their dog biting someone. This means that the dog owner is held responsible whether or not they were aware that their dog had a history of biting or was a recognized dangerous breed. The statute also includes anyone who has the dog in their care or keeping, such as a dog sitter or walker.
“ If a person is bitten or otherwise attacked by a dog while the person is in a public place or is lawfully in a private place, including the property of the dog owner or person having the dog in the person’s care or keeping, the dog owner or person having the dog in the person’s care or keeping is liable for the damages suffered by the person bitten or otherwise attacked.”
However, the dog owner may have a provocation defense in their favor. If the victim provoked the dog in any way, the owner may argue that the victim’s actions led to the dog biting them. To prove provocation, the defense must show that the victim acted in a way that would cause a reasonable person to believe that the dog would be provoked.
“…This section does not apply if, at the time the person is bitten or otherwise attacked:
(1) the person who was attacked provoked or harassed the dog and that provocation was the proximate cause of the attack.”
If you or someone you know has been bitten by a dog, it is important to know what steps to take to ensure the best possible outcome.
It is crucial to seek medical attention immediately after a dog bite occurs. Even if the wound seems minor, there can be underlying damage that requires attention. If the wound appears infected, has broken skin, or if the victim was bitten multiple times, it is especially important to seek medical attention. Dog bites carry a risk of infection, and prompt treatment can prevent serious complications.
Take pictures of the wound and its surroundings, including the location of the injury, how deep the wound went, the size of the wound, the number of wounds, the type of animal involved, and any visible signs of infection. These pictures can be helpful in assessing the severity of the injury and can also be used as evidence if legal action is necessary.
Call 911 and provide information regarding the location of the attack, the breed of dog involved, and any identifying characteristics. This information can be used to track down the dog and its owner if necessary and can also be helpful in determining whether the dog has a history of biting.
Seeking legal representation after a dog bite is crucial to receiving proper compensation for your injury. A Charleston dog bite attorney can help assess the damages incurred from the incident and work towards getting you the compensation you rightfully deserve.
They can assist in handling communication with insurance companies and responsible parties, as well as representing you in court if necessary. It can be overwhelming navigating the aftermath of a dog bite on your own, which is why hiring a lawyer can help lighten the load and ensure you receive fair treatment.
For help, contact us to schedule a free consultation.