If you are victim of a dog bite in South Carolina you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and resulting damages. According to State Farm, South Carolina is #19 in the nation for dog bites. It paid out approximately $1.7 million in 2016 for numerous dog bite claims – averaging nearly $25,000 per claim. The Carolina Law Group has recently represented such dog bite victims, including those with injuries to their hand, shoulder, face, infection from the dog bite, scarring, etc.
Of course, the number of claims and settlements reported by State Farm represent only a fraction of the dog bites that happen in South Carolina every year. Across the country, approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur annually, according to the CDC, and 20% of dog bites become infected, which can lead to medical complications. Most of the victims are children, and children between 5 and 9 are most at risk. We have seen an infection from a dog bite result in extended hospitalization, painful medical treatment and over $50,000.00 in medical bills. For these reasons, as well as others, dog owners are often wise to confirm that their pets are covered by homeowner’s liability insurance policies.
Dog bite prevention is an obvious goal, and the CDC and the SC DHEC have advice on preventing dog bites and on raising a well-behaved dog. But if it is too late, and you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog in South Carolina, here are some things you should know.
South Carolina Does Not Have A One-Bite Rule
Many other states have what is known as a “one-bite rule,” meaning the dog’s owner will be held liable for injuries caused by the dog only if the owner knew, or reasonably should have known, the dog was potentially dangerous or had a propensity to attack. This law favors dog owners but is not so friendly toward dog bite victims, who may have an uphill battle seeking compensation for their injuries.
South Carolina does not have such a rule. In South Carolina, it does not matter whether or not the dog was known to be aggressive; the victim can sue for damages based on strict liability and violation of South Carolina statute. To be successful, in general, however, the victim must not have provoked the dog and must not have been trespassing at the time of the attack. There may be other nuances to consider in evaluating a dog bite claim, as well, which is why it is important to speak with a personal injury attorney who is familiar with such cases as soon as possible if you or a loved one is the victim of an attack.
Compensation May Include Economic And Non-Economic Damages
Dog bite victims may be entitled to economic damages, including, but not limited to, medical costs and lost wages due to time out of work. Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and punitive damages, may also be sought.
Typically, damages will be paid out by homeowner’s insurance, personal insurance policies, or even, in some cases, animal or dog insurance. In cases where the dog’s owner has no insurance coverage, the owner may be personally responsible.
To Bring A Dog Bite Claim, Contact The Personal Injury Attorneys At The Carolina Law Group
Remember you do not need to prove the dog owner (or the person with control and custody over the dog) knew the dog was aggressive in order to recover compensation for dog bite injuries. If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog or some other type of pet, and you would like to know what legal rights you may have, please contact us today. We are personal injury lawyers who are dedicated to making sure you know your rights and receive the compensation you deserve.
The Carolina Law Group has four offices in South Carolina for your convenience: Greenville (principal office; call 864.312.4444), West Greenville (864.312.4444), Greer (principal office; call 864.757.5555), and Spartanburg. Call today for a free consultation.