American families love their pets, especially when it comes to dog ownership. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, nearly 40% of households in the United States include a family dog.
While most South Carolina owners view their dog as a member of their family, any dog has the capacity to bite and leave a serious wound. At Rikard & Protopapas, we provide legal assistance and representation for any individuals who need a Columbia dog bite lawyer when someone else’s negligence causes serious injuries.
What Types of Wounds Can Dog Bites Cause?
Any breed of dog can bite if it feels threatened, afraid or if the dog owner raised the animal in a way that made it aggressive. Some dogs may bite only once, but others may attack and bite repeatedly. During any type of dog attack, the animal can leave a variety of wounds, including:
- Deep punctures
- Tissue trauma
- Eye trauma
If more than one dog attacks during a biting incident, the victim may suffer multiple injuries and could require hospitalization. A Columbia animal attack attorney from our office can provide information about how to build a personal injury lawsuit and hold negligent dog owners responsible for their animal’s behavior.
Who Might Suffer More Serious Injuries In a Dog Attack?
While anyone can experience serious dog bite injuries, young children and elderly individuals may receive life-threatening trauma. Attacking dogs can knock over young children, especially toddlers, and claw as well as bite them. Elderly dog bite victims can break a hip, arm or leg when knocked to the ground by a large dog.
People with pre-existing conditions may also suffer injuries that can affect them far into the future. Illnesses that prevent healing, increase the chance of infection, and cause secondary medical issues can cause lingering problems at the site of the bite for years.
How Do Dog Bites Cause Psychological Trauma?
Dog attacks can leave victims with considerable mental anguish and trauma. They may develop post-traumatic stress disorder, which can cause nightmares about the attack, anxiety and a fear of the dog breed involved in an attack. Young children may develop a fear of dogs in general and exhibit new behaviors after the incident, such as bed-wetting or a sudden fear of being alone.
When Are Dog Owners Liable for a Dog Bite?
Some states have a “One Bite” rule that allows an owner to escape liability when an aggressive dog bites and must only take action to control the dog after that first bite, such as posting warning signs and keeping the dog securely gated. However, South Carolina has no such law, and regulations hold those with biting dogs liable for a variety of situations.
Failure to restrain a biting dog
Owners who realize that their dog has a tendency toward aggression must take steps to build a fence that keeps it confined. The owner cannot let an aggressive dog wander freely where it may attack other pets and people. Dog owners with aggressive animals who escape their kennels or yards may find themselves held liable for a bite or attack.
Some dogs, even if they never bit anyone in the past, might become aggressive and attack if they see another dog near their territory. For example, if a dog owner leaves a gate open and that dog rushes across the street to attack someone else walking a leashed dog, the owner of the unleashed dog is responsible for any damages that might occur during the attack.
Loose dogs entering a private yard
When South Carolina dog owners allow their pets to run loose in the neighborhood, these animals may enter someone else’s yard if they smell food or other animals. This could lead to a serious dog attack, especially if the owner of the home gets in the middle of a dogfight in defense of a pet.
Young children playing in a backyard could find themselves embroiled in a sudden dog attack if a neighbor’s aggressive animal jumps a fence in response to the sound of kids playing.
The owner of an aggressive animal may deny liability or claim that the victim caused a dog bite, and a Columbia personal injury lawyer from our offices can help those in need of representation.
How Does a Columbia Dog Bite Lawyer Build a Case?
Our Rikard & Protopapas attorneys can help dog bite victims by building a case that seeks damages for medical bills, lost wages, mental anguish, and punitive damage due to owner negligence. Meeting the burden of proof is paramount in any case like this, and our attorneys take many steps to do so:
- Speaking to witnesses
- Reviewing any former dog bite incidents connected with the owner
- Examining actions that led up to the biting incident
- Reviewing police reports
While South Carolina practices comparative negligence laws, our offices can offer a Columbia animal attack attorney who can build a dog bite case on the foundation of animal owner negligence and the results of those actions.
Contact Us Today for Assistance
Dog bites can cause far-reaching physical and mental trauma. At Rikard & Protopapas, we work to hold negligent dog owners responsible for their animals and the pain and suffering their victims endured. Call us to speak to a Columbia dog bite lawyer today for further information.
FAQs About Dog Bite Cases
Do large dogs bite more often than small breeds?
Any dog has the potential to use its teeth for self-defense or when it feels aggressive. Even small-breed dogs can cause serious injury to the face or hands.
Do dogs give warnings before they bite?
Some dogs may growl, show their teeth, or hold their tail stiffly before biting. Others may attack suddenly and for no apparent reason. Dogs raised to act with aggression may charge and bite without warning.
Is it illegal for dogs to run loose in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, no dog owner may allow his or her dog to run loose and off that person’s property. Owners must keep their dogs fenced or on a leash when the animal is off the premises.