As Greenville personal injury lawyers, we see lots of dog bite cases. When you see commercials for dog toys and dog food, they tend to show cuddly, adorable dogs who are friendly as can be. People love animals. In fact, research shows that more than 62% of all people in South Carolina have pets. And more than 45% of them have dogs. Dogs offer people unconditional love. They make us happy when we’re sad. They curl up next to us when we feel sick.
The thing about dogs is that, at the end of the day, they are still animals. No matter how well we think we know a dog, they could turn on us at any time. If a dog gets hungry or tired, they may not be in a great mood. They could snap on anyone. Dogs who are serving as guard dogs also tend to be very touchy. This is why Greenville personal injury lawyers always recommend that you stay away from dogs you don’t know. You have no idea when they may turn on you. And if it’s a dog you’ve never met before, you are at a much greater risk of getting bitten or attacked.
The good news is that, if you’re bitten by a dog in South Carolina, you may have a claim for damages. This is because South Carolina law is very strict when it comes to animal attacks. Greenville follows strict liability when it comes to dog bites. This means that, for the most part, if you’re bitten by a dog, the pet’s owner will be held liable for any injuries you experience. The only way to know for sure, however, is to meet with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Greenville, South Carolina.
South Carolina is a Strict Liability State When It Comes to Dog Bites
With most personal injury cases, your Greenville personal injury lawyer will need to prove negligence. They’ll have to show that the defendant did something (or failed to do something) that any other ordinary person would have done in the circumstances. For example, if you’re involved in a car accident, your lawyer will need to show that the other driver was speeding or drunk driving. If you suffer a slip and fall, your attorney will need to demonstrate that the property owner didn’t keep their building in a safe condition. This isn’t the case when it comes to a dog bite lawsuit in South Carolina.
The great thing about Greenville is that it follows something called strict liability. This means that a dog’s owner will be liable for any injuries caused by their pet no matter what. of course, there are some situations in which a dog owner is found not liable. For example, if they can show that you were provoking or antagonizing their dog, they may not have to pay damages. Or, if they can show that you were trespassing at the time of the attack, you may not be able to collect damages. However, for the most part, dog owners will be held liable for any injuries caused by their dog.
As long as your Greenville personal injury lawyer can show that you didn’t do anything to cause the dog bite, you have a good chance of winning your case. If someone owns a dog in South Carolina and their dog bites someone, they’ll be on the hook for any medical bills and out of pocket expenses you suffer.
Do You Have to Prove the Dog Bit Someone Before?
In a lot of states, your personal injury attorney needs to show that the defendant’s dog had bitten someone in the past. This is per se proof that the dog was vicious or dangerous. In South Carolina, you don’t have to do this. It doesn’t matter if the dog attacked someone in the past. All you need to show is the following:
- The dog was not on a leash while out in public
- The dog attacks you
- you suffer an injury
- your injuries are directly caused by the dog bite
You’ll notice that, in order to be held strictly liable, the dog has to be out in public. It also has to be unrestrained. This doesn’t mean that your Greenville personal injury lawyer can’t sue if the attack takes place on private property. There are cases where a dog’s owner is found liable even if the bite takes place in their home or yard.
The best thing to do is to call and talk to a skilled dog bite lawyer at Brumback & Langley in Greenville as soon as possible.