Do I Need a South Carolina Dog Bite Attorney?
In South Carolina, 45% of households own at least one dog which makes them, unofficially, “dog people.” But real responsibility comes with this title, and when an unprovoked dog bites you, you may be able to seek compensation from its owner’s insurance company. Man’s best friend sometimes turns unfriendly, and when this happens, you shouldn’t have to shoulder the bill for the doctors’ bills, emergency care, and lost wages that often follow. A South Carolina dog bite attorney can help determine if you can recover damages for your injuries.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States, and more than half of the victims are children. The CDC also reports that nearly 1 in 5 people bitten by a dog require medical attention.
Luckily, South Carolina dog bite laws can help victims recover possible damages for their injuries. A report published by the Insurance Information Institute states that, nationwide, homeowner insurers paid out approximately $797 million in liability claims related to dog bites and other dog-related injuries in 2019. And the average cost per claim rose 134% from 2003 to 2019 due to higher medical costs and larger settlements and jury awards for victims.
Dog bite injury claims in South Carolina are sometimes covered by homeowners or renters insurance. People carry this type of insurance to cover these, and other, liability claims against them. So, when your neighbor’s dog bites you, it’s his insurance company, rather than he, who will probably cover the expenses if you have a claim resulting in a settlement or judgement.
If you or a loved one has been bitten or injured by a dog, contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin immediately. We will listen to the details of your case and give you a free evaluation of your claim. If you decide to file a dog bite claim, we work on a contingency fee basis so you will not have to pay anything up front.2 We only get paid an attorney’s fee if we recover compensation for you.
What Are the Dog Bite Laws in South Carolina?
The laws that cover dog bites and attacks differ by state. If you have been attacked by a dog In South Carolina, the law states that the dog’s owner, or handler, can be found liable for your injuries if the following three conditions exist:
- Your injuries were caused by the dog bite or attack.
- You were not trespassing when attacked by the dog.
- You did not provoke the dog into attacking you.
Insurance companies will often try to prove that their clients are not liable by focusing on these last two conditions of the law. If you were trespassing on the dog owner’s property, the law may not find them liable, or responsible, for your injuries. Likewise, if you provoked the dog into attacking you by teasing it roughly or abusing it, the dog owner may not be found liable.
A South Carolina dog bite attorney will walk you through the steps for trying to prove the dog owner’s liability. Our attorneys know that South Carolina’s Dog Bite Statute follows the “strict liability rule” and also includes more than just bites. For example, if you or a loved one breaks an arm when a dog knocks you over, you may have a claim worth pursuing in South Carolina. And, in extreme cases, if a family member dies from injuries sustained in a dog attack, our attorneys can help you file a wrongful death claim.
Breed-Specific Legislation in South Carolina
Breed-specific legislation (BSL) is dog law that aims to prevent dog attacks by limiting the public’s exposure to and regulating ownership of well-documented dangerous dog breeds. Currently in South Carolina, there are several municipalities that presume pit bulls to be dangerous, and one city expands the list to include rottweilers, doberman pinschers, and chow chows as well.
What Damages Can I Try to Recover in a Dog Bite Settlement in South Carolina?
When you are attacked and injured by a dog, an attorney can help you file a claim for compensation for your injuries, or damages. In South Carolina, damages awarded to victims fall into two categories:
- Economic Damages – medical expenses, lost wages
- Non-economic Damages – pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life
The South Carolina lawyers at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin will:
- Consult with you about the details of your case
- Research your medical records and bills
- Obtain your employer records to document time missed from work and lost wages
- Request physician letters to establish medical diagnoses and treatments
- Seek other expert opinions, as needed, to help establish damages
- Negotiate with insurance companies and fight for a fair settlement