Charleston Dog Bite Attorney
What happens when a man’s best friend isn’t so friendly? The reality is that dogs are animals and you may not always know when an ordinarily sweet dog will turn on you. When dogs do attack, they can cause serious and devastating injuries. In certain situations, those attacks can be deadly.
You can’t always anticipate a dog bite and you may not know where to turn when they happen. At Mickelsen Dalton law firm, we understand how serious dog bites are. Our Charleston personal injury attorneys can help you recover, both from the injuries themselves and from the financial strains that they create. Call today for a free and confidential case evaluation.
How a Dog Bite Attorney Can Help You
If you’ve experienced a dog bite attack, you may be asking yourself what steps you can take to seek justice and get the financial compensation you deserve. Fortunately, a dog bite attorney can help you navigate the legal system and fight for your rights as a victim. Here’s how they can help you:
Listen To Your Story
The first thing a lawyer will do is listen to your story. They’ll ask you questions about how and where the bite occurred, the severity of your injuries, and what kind of medical treatment you’ve received. They’ll also be able to answer any questions or concerns you may have about the legal process and what you can expect moving forward.
Once the attorney has heard your story, they’ll start investigating your case. This may involve gathering evidence, such as witness statements, medical records, and photos of your injuries. They may also consult with experts, such as medical professionals or animal behaviorists, to build a stronger case. Through their investigation, the attorney will be able to determine who is legally responsible for the dog bite and what damages you should be compensated for.
File an Insurance Claim and Negotiate
In many cases, the owner of the dog will have liability insurance that covers dog bites. If this is the case, your attorney will file an insurance claim on your behalf and negotiate with the insurance company for a fair settlement. This may involve going back and forth with the company until a settlement is reached. Your lawyer will ensure that you’re not taken advantage of by the insurance company.
Take Your Case to Trial
If the insurance company is not willing to offer a fair settlement, your attorney may recommend taking your case to trial. This is a more complex and time-consuming process, but it may be necessary to achieve the outcome you deserve.
Your attorney will prepare your case for trial by gathering evidence, consulting with witnesses, and arguing your case in court. Throughout the process, they’ll work closely with you to make sure you’re prepared and informed every step of the way.
Steps To Take After a South Carolina Dog Bite
Taking the right steps after a dog bite can help you protect yourself and ensure you get the help and justice you deserve.
Get Contact Information from the Owner
The first step after being bitten by a dog is to get the owner’s contact information. You’ll need the owner’s name, phone number, and address. This information will help you initiate legal action if necessary.
Confirm the Dog Has a Rabies Vaccine
The next step is to confirm if the dog has a rabies vaccine. If the dog is not up to date on its vaccinations and you were bitten, you may need to receive a rabies shot from the hospital. Ask the owner for proof of the dog’s vaccinations, and if they cannot provide it, seek medical attention immediately.
Take Photos of the Injuries
After being bitten, take photos of your injuries as soon as possible. This will help document the extent of your injuries and may be useful in court if legal action is necessary. Take photos from various angles and ensure that they are clear and focused.
Wash the Wound
Immediately after the incident, wash the wound with soap and water. Rinse with clean water and pat dry with a clean cloth. If the wound is deep, apply an antiseptic solution and cover it with a sterile bandage. This will help prevent infection and promote healing.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if the bite seems minor, it’s important to seek medical attention. Dog bites can cause serious injuries and infections, especially if the dog is not vaccinated. Go to the emergency room or urgent care and explain that you were bitten by a dog. The medical staff will ensure that you receive the appropriate treatment and vaccinations.
Contact a Lawyer
After receiving medical treatment, it’s important to contact a personal injury lawyer. A dog bite can result in serious injuries and long-term medical costs, and you may be entitled to compensation. A personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and help you get what you deserve.
What Is My Dog Bite Case Worth?
Every dog bite case is different. The specific facts leading to your dog bite, and your life after, determines the value of your case. We may not be able to give you a number here, but we can promise to fight for every penny you deserve. However, there are factors that influence the value of these types of claims, including:
Severity of The Injury
The severity of the injury is one of the most significant factors that influence the value of a dog bite claim. If the dog bite results in severe injuries that require extensive medical treatment, the value of the claim will be higher. The courts will also consider the extent of permanent scarring or disfigurement of the bite victim when determining the value of the claim.
Another factor that affects the value of a dog bite claim is insurance coverage. In some cases, the dog owner may have liability insurance that covers dog bites. The amount of insurance coverage and the terms of the policy will impact the value of the claim. If the insurance coverage isn’t enough to cover your losses, you may have to take your case to court.
The Dog’s History
If the dog has a history of aggressive behavior or previous attacks, you could be entitled to more compensation, as this indicates that the dog owner was aware of the dog’s potential danger and failed to take appropriate measures to protect others. While there’s no requirement that the dog has shown vicious behavior in the past, it could impact the value of the claim by leading to punitive damages.
Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant, and can only be awarded if the plaintiff “…can prove by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant acted willfully, wantonly, or recklessly.”
Emotional distress is another significant factor that can increase the value of a dog bite claim. A dog bite can cause significant emotional trauma to the victim, resulting in anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. These emotional damages can result in a higher compensation amount for the victim.
To learn more about your case and what it may be worth, schedule your free consultation with Mickelsen Dalton’s dog bite lawyers now.
What Kind of Damages Are Available to Dog Bite Victims?
The laws in South Carolina are strict and help hold dog owners accountable for damages caused by their dog. Damages that may be awarded to victims include but are not limited to:
- Medical bills
- Reconstructive surgery
- Nerve Damage
- Miscellaneous medical care
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
We’ll Fight for Compensation for All of Your Dog Bite Injuries
When fighting for you, we take over dealing with the insurance company and help gather the evidence you need to prove your case. Mickelsen Dalton is prepared to help fight for the compensation you deserve.
Strict Liability Laws
South Carolina has a strict liability law when it comes to dog bites. What this means is that dog owners are held responsible for their dog’s behavior, regardless of whether the dog has a history of biting or not. In other words, if a dog bites someone, the owner is liable for the damages caused by the dog.
However, there are certain circumstances where the owner may not be held liable. For instance, if the victim provoked the dog or was trespassing on the owner’s property, the owner may not be liable. Similarly, if the dog was performing a duty for law enforcement or the military, the owner may not be held liable.
To do this, our dog bite lawyers use:
- Your Testimony
- Eyewitness testimony
- Expert testimony or reports documenting your injuries
- Police reports
- Any animal control reports that show that the dog has a previous bite record
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit After a Dog Bite in South Carolina?
When dealing with personal injuries, including dog bites, there’s a time that you’re allotted to file your claim. When dealing with an individual, you have 3 years from the date of injury to file. If your injury was caused by a government agency or entity, you have 2 years.
What Does a Dog Bite Lawyer Cost?
We believe that we get paid only if you get paid. We offer free consultations during which we will examine your evidence, take all your information, and get started working for you.
This is known as a contingency fee agreement. Under this agreement, the lawyer only gets paid if the client takes home a settlement or damages award. If there is no recovery, the lawyer will not receive a fee. The fee percentage is typically a percentage of the total amount of damages awarded, usually around 35% to 40%.
Your Trusted Charleston Dog Bite Lawyers Are Standing By
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in a dog attack or from a bite injury, you need experienced legal representation. Mickelsen Dalton is a top-rated firm that has successfully recovered millions for our clients. We will fight to help you receive the compensation you deserve after a dog bite or other personal injury. We won’t stop fighting until we win what you deserve. Contact us today for your free consultation.