When you have suffered from dog bites in Greenville, South Carolina, it is important to realize that the law is on your side should you wish to seek compensation from the owner of the dog to cover injury-related medical expenses. Retain an experienced dog bite lawyer in Greenville, S.C. However, county, city, and state laws all govern this area of the law, making it rather complicated. If you have been the victim of a bite or attack, it is essential that you seek legal advice from a dedicated dog bite lawyer in Greenville, South Carolina, especially one familiar with this area of the law.


What a Dog Bite Lawyer in Greenville, South Carolina Can Do for You

In our state, the owner of an animal that attacks another person is strictly responsible, or liable, provided the injured person was in a public place or lawfully on private premises. So, unless the injured person was trespassing or in any other way breaking the law, the dog owner is required to pay for injury-related expenses as a result of the bite. There is just one exception, though, and that is if you provoked the attack.

Dog attacks and bites fall in the area of tort law. Tort law comprises four elements, namely: duty, a breach of duty, the causation, and the injury. To successfully claim damages, there has to have been a breach in duty of the dog owner towards the injured party.

In South Carolina, one has three years from the date of the bite or attack to file a lawsuit.

It should be noted that the statute does not apply if the injured person harassed or provoked the dog and the provocation is what caused the attack. So, if you were injured by a dog, you will not be able to seek compensation for your injuries if the dog was reacting to your aggressive conduct or provocation.

What Can One Recover in a Lawsuit for Greenville Dog Bites?

If you were the person that was injured as a result of such an incident, you can decide to pursue a lawsuit in an effort to get compensation for the bite-related costs, you might be able to sue to recover expenses such as:

  • Lost income from treating the injury and from future lost income should you be incapacitated as a result of the incident
  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering, which may include an all-new fear of dogs, particularly in children who may experience nightmares or panic attacks after the incident
  • Property damage, if applicable
  • Loss of consortium – this means that the injury, in some way, damaged your relationship with your loved ones

Does Insurance Have a Role to Play in Compensation for Dog Bites?

There are many homeowner policies that do cover the costs associated with dog bites in Greenville, South Carolina. Typically, liability policies might cover up to as much as $300,000. But, take note that some insurance providers will refuse to cover dog breeds that have a tendency to attack, such as Rottweilers. Furthermore, bites that occur in the dog owner’s vehicle may be covered by their car insurance policy.

If the owner of the dog has liability insurance, the owner’s insurance provider may pay for their defense in a lawsuit along with any judgment or settlement you win against the dog owner. In such a case, the help of a seasoned dog bite lawyer can be invaluable.

Defending an Injury Claim as the Result of Greenville Dog Bites

When a dog owner is faced with a bite claim, the owner may raise one of two defenses, namely, trespassing and provocation.

The law in South Carolina states that if the injured party provoked the dog, the owner may not be held liable for any resulting injuries. Provocation can take a number of forms, including harassment, teasing, and abuse of the dog.

For example, if a young child pushes a stick through a fence between the child’s garden and the neighbor’s garden and repeatedly pokes the dog, working it up to a point where it jumps over the fence and attacks the child, that is considered provocation. In this case, the dog owner could argue that the child provoked the dog and therefore cannot be held responsible for any injuries.

As for trespassing as a form of defense, the injured party has to have lawfully been on a private property or on a public property at the time of the incident. If the person was on private property without consent and with no need to be there, it is deemed trespassing. In many cases, homeowner liability for trespasser injuries is limited.

Is There a One-Bite Rule in South Carolina?

Many states in the U.S. have a “one-bite rule” when it comes to dog bites. This means that the owner of the dog can be held responsible for injuries caused by the dog provided the owner either knew or should have reasonably known that the dog had dangerous propensities. The one-bite rule tends to favor dog owners more so than victims.

However,  as any experienced dog bite lawyer in Greenville, South Carolina will confirm, such a rule does not exist. So, it is irrelevant if the owner did or did not know that the dog was aggressive. A victim may sue for injuries and losses based on strict liability as well as violation of the state’s statute.

But, to be effective, the bite victim must have in no way provoked the dog and should not have been trespassing when the attack took place. There may be other elements that require consideration, since each case is unique, which is why it is important to consult with a Greenville dog bite lawyer as soon as possible.

Do Some Dogs Have More of a Tendency to Bite Than Others?

While some people do associate certain dog breeds with aggressive behavior and the propensity to bite and attack, the fact is that all dogs may potentially hurt a person. While it may be true that some breeds may be more likely to bite than others, there are some situations in which any dog could harm a person. These instances are usually ones of provocation or where a dog is startled or feels threatened.

What Should One Do if a Child is Bitten by a Dog?

If your child is attacked or bitten by a dog, the first thing to do is call the police and get medical help for your child. It is vital that one reports the attack in order for law enforcement officials to report the incident. Immediate medical attention is also essential to ensure that the child has not suffered a severe injury and also to determine if that dog was infectious or rabid. Once the child is treated for injuries, you may pursue a claim against the dog owner, which means you should get in touch with a dog bite lawyer right away who will help you determine whether or not you do have a valid case and the next steps to take.

What Should I Do After a Dog Bite?

It may seem like the first thing to do is clean a wound and seek medical attention, and indeed one should, but, you should also get the name and address of the owner. These details will help you in the event that you wish to take legal action, and it can help your medical provider determine if there is a risk of you contracting a fatal disease or rabies.

In South Carolina, the law requires that any dog who bites a person must be quarantined for observation for a period of ten days. Quarantine can either be done at the local animal control shelter or even at the dog owner’s property, provided the owner allows a rabies control officer to monitor the dog daily for any signs of rabies.

It you were attacked by a stray dog and it fled, your medical practitioner by choose to administer a course of rabies vaccinations just to be safe.

If the injured person believes that the related medical expenses are going to be costly and you wish to file a lawsuit, it is important to document all injuries. To do this, you can photograph the injuries and retain any bloody and torn clothing.

What Should You Do If It Is Your Dog that Bites a Person?

If it is your dog that bites another person, it is important to immediately confine the dog and check on the victim and seek medical assistance if any is necessary. Give the victim your name and other relevant details, including whether or not your dog has been subject to serious illnesses and the date of the dog’s last rabies vaccination.

It is essential that a dog owner cooperate with animal control officials and obey any instructions with regards quarantine of the dog. You may further want to seek the assistance of an animal behaviorist to ensure the dog does not bite again.

What Are the Most Common Injuries from Dog Bites?

Almost half of all victims of dog bites in Greenville, South Carolina are minors, who are most likely to suffer injuries to the neck, face, or head. Some other common injuries that result from bites include:

  • Infections
  • Deep lacerations
  • Broken bones
  • Crushed bones
  • Scarring
  • Disfigurement
  • Punctures
  • Psychological trauma
  • Nerve damage

How Can I Prevent an Animal Attack?

It is often the case that nothing can be done to prevent a dog attack or bite. But, there are a few tips that may give a person a better chance of avoiding becoming a victim, such as:

  • Teaching children about the dangers of poking through cages or fences to pet a dog
  • Telling children not to approach stray dogs and to treat all animals gently and with care
  • Do not leave an infant or small child alone with an animal
  • Teach children that they should never run past a dog
  • Instruct children not to disturb a dog that is looking after puppies, sleeping, or even eating
  • Direct children to always seek an owner’s permissions before they pet a dog

It is also a good idea for families with dogs to implement several ground rules or tools that might help to reduce the chance of a dog behaving violently, such as:

  • Having the dog spayed or neutered, which may curb aggressiveness
  • Do not keep a dog chained or tied up for hours on end. Rather fence an open area so that the animal may move about
  • Avoid playing excitable games with a dog
  • Take time to bond with the animal every day
  • License the animal with the local government, if required
  • Always have the dog on a lead in public and under control
  • Train dogs to respond to basic commands
  • Maintain the dog’s health with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and annual vaccinations
  • Socialize puppies so that they get used to being around other animals and people

While these are in no way a guarantee that a dog will not bite, these tips can help keep children, dogs, and other people safe from unexpected attacks.

What Legal Responsibilities Do Dog Owners Have in the State?

Dog owners must keep dangerous dogs confined securely indoors or within a securely enclosed pen, fence, or run area on the premises. The area must have clear markings that there is a dangerous animal and should be designed in a way to prevent the general public entering the space or the dog escaping from the enclosure.

Further, a dangerous animal may not venture beyond the owner’s premises unless it is safely restrained. Dog owners are required to register dangerous animals with their local law enforcement and should maintain liability insurance of $50,000 or more to cover injuries the animal may inflict on another person.

Contact a Greenville Dog Bite Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Legal Options

Remember that you do not have to prove that the dog owner or person with custody and control over a dog knew that the animal was aggressive if you want to recover compensation for dog bites in Greenville, South Carolina.

If you, your child, or someone else has been bitten by a dog and you wish to pursue a lawsuit, contact a personal injury lawyer at Brumback & Langley, LLC to discuss your legal rights. We have a  dedicated dog bite lawyer to ensure that you are fully aware of your rights and that will work with you to fight for full and fair compensation for your injuries and losses as a result of the attack. Call us today at (864)-326-0424.