South Carolina Dog Bite Lawyers

Even the gentlest and most obedient canines can attack at any time. Many dog owners, however, attempt to defend themselves from liability by highlighting their animal’s bite-free history.

Regardless of the breed or demeanor of the dog that attacked, you have a right to work with a dog bite lawyer to hold a responsible owner or other party liable for your injuries. The attorneys at Rikard & Protopapas in South Carolina have the experience to recover compensation involving a wide range of circumstances.

Is South Carolina a Strict Liability State for Dog Bites?

Dog owners and handlers owe a strict duty of care to control their animals in both public and private areas. The duty of care can require an animal to remain on a leash or muzzled. Keeping a dog calm is often a requirement to prevent unprovoked attacks in public.

South Carolina dog bite laws require owners to control their dogs while on their own private properties. Fences can restrain canines from escaping and help owners avoid liability for injuries caused by their dogs running off their properties. When dog owners or handlers lose physical control of an animal and it goes on the attack, its bite victims may file negligence lawsuits.

Because South Carolina dog owners have strict liability, you may sue dog owners when they carelessly lose control of their animals. The Palmetto State’s laws do not require classifying a dog as “dangerous” or “vicious” for bite victims to seek relief.

Unlike some other states, South Carolina does not give dogs a “free” bite.

Regardless of an animal’s bite history or lack of it, one of our attorneys will remain focused on getting you the relief you deserve.

Could a Dog’s Owner Blame a Bite Victim for the Attack?

To defend themselves and avoid liability, some dog owners attempt to shift the blame for losing control of their animals by arguing that the bite victim provoked the attack. A homeowner may, for example, hire an animal law attorney to persuade a bite victim to drop a claim. Homeowners often have a strong incentive to escape liability, such as avoiding raised insurance premiums for animal attacks that occurred on their private property.

South Carolina dog bite laws generally absolve animal owners of strict liability for injuries if they can prove that the attack came about because their dogs reacted to a bite victim’s provocation or harassment. Owners may attempt to show that their dogs are normally well-behaved, obedient, and gentle; their animals would not have attacked but for the victims provoking them.

Depending on the circumstances that led to an injury, bite victims may need to prove they did not provoke the animal into attacking them. Videos or pictures taken before, during, or after the bite occurrence may help show what actually took place.

If you have reason to believe that a dog’s owner will assert in court that you provoked the attack, having a South Carolina dog bite lawyer by your side could help counter the owner’s claim. Some of the intentional harassment actions that the court may consider include hitting or throwing things at a chained dog. The court may also review unintentional provocations such as petting strange dogs in public or tripping over a dog playing in a park.

What Should a Bite Victim Do After a Dog Attack?

Get prompt medical treatment

Visiting an emergency room after a dog bite can help prevent serious complications from developing. Infections or diseases that result from untreated canine wounds can begin developing several hours after the bite occurs. Consider exercising caution and seeking medical treatment as soon as possible even if the bite appears to have only caused minor scratches and the dog’s teeth didn’t puncture the skin.

Canine saliva can contain harmful bacteria and viruses. A dog bite can spread disease-causing pathogens to humans. Preventing dangerous infections such as rabies requires immediate attention and treatment from medical professionals. Timely injections of vaccines or antibiotics can help stop serious conditions from developing.

Sepsis, a severe and life-threatening infection that can result from animal saliva transmitted during animal attacks, can prove fatal. A knowledgeable South Carolina dog bite lawyer at our firm could assert your rights to recover and seek relief if an animal attack results in a loved one’s death.

Report the dog bite to authorities

All dog bites require filing a report with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. A healthcare professional who treats a dog bite injury will file a report as required by law. If you do not seek medical treatment, however, you must then report the incident to the DHEC on your own within one business day. Official reports filed with law enforcement or the DHEC may prove helpful if you file a lawsuit against the animal’s owner.

How Can I Show That an Animal Bite Caused Injuries?

The medical attention needed for dog bites can prove costly. If the dog’s attack left you or your child with severe disfigurement, the injury may require reconstructive surgery or skin grafts. Keeping copies of your bills from the emergency room, follow-up visits to doctors, and prescriptions can help build your case.

A severe animal bite may leave a victim with a temporary or permanent disability. Bites that puncture deep enough could result in a permanent disability because of nerve damage. Damaged or compressed nerves may result in paralysis. After a dog bite, our experienced and aggressive South Carolina personal injury attorneys can help you recover the unexpected costs required for physical therapy or rehabilitation sessions.

The court may also review the loss of income from the time off from work to recuperate or take care of an injured child or spouse. If an animal attack leaves you unable to carry out your routine activities, South Carolina dog bite laws allow you to seek relief from the dog’s owner. Successful outcomes could include compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, reconstructive surgery, and time lost from work.

Don’t Delay — Contact a South Carolina Dog Bite Lawyer

If a dog owner tried to blame you or your child for causing an attack, consulting with our South Carolina dog bite lawyers could put you on the path to relief. When you need legal help after an animal attack, contact one of our attorneys at Rikard & Protopapas to learn about your rights to recover from damages.

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