Dogs may be man’s best friend, but all too often we hear stories of people who are seriously injured in dog attacks. In fact, statistics from the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that almost 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year, with half of these victims being children. One in five dog bites cause injuries serious enough to require medical attention.
South Carolina offers strong protections to victims of a dog bite. When victims suffer injuries caused by dog bites or attacks that could have been prevented, there are laws in place that can help them recover their damages, including medical bills, reconstructive surgery costs, physical and emotional pain and suffering, and more.
Understanding your rights and the steps that can be taken after a dog bite is crucial to protecting yourself and your ability to file a dog bite claim. Here’s what you should know:
- Get medical treatment. Just as with any accident or injury, it is best for your own safety to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Dog bites can result in serious infections and some dogs may transmit certain diseases such as rabies.
- Identify the dog and its owner. Depending on the situation, it may be difficult to determine to whom a dog may belong. Be careful when attempting to identify a dog, especially after an attack. If you don’t know the dog or its owner, you can ask neighbors, witnesses, and other bystanders if they have seen the dog before or if they know the owner.
- Collect information and evidence. After a dog bite, you can protect your potential personal injury claim by collecting any relevant information and evidence – including photos. Collect the information of the dog owner, information about the dog, and contact information from any witness who may have seen the attack. You can also take pictures or video of the dog, the scene, and any visible injuries.
File a report. If you are able to do so, file a report with law enforcement or your local animal control. The report will help provide further evidence of your attack, and will include information recorded by a neutral third party.
- Contact a lawyer. If you’ve been injured by a dog, you should always contact an attorney who can help you understand your legal rights, the dog bite laws that may apply to your case, and whether you may be able to file a successful claim for damages. It’s important to seek legal representation as soon as possible and to work with attorneys who have experience handling dog bite cases.
- Time is of the Essence. Time is of the essence in this sort of case. Preserving evidence, finding the dog’s owner and getting witness statements are best done immediately. Let our experience, legal knowledge and investigative resources help you while you recover from your injuries.
After a dog bite, we believe it’s important to work with experienced and proven lawyers who know the laws and how to protect the rights of injured people and their families. Here at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers, our South Carolina dog bite attorneys are prepared to help victims of dog attacks determine if they have a recoverable claim. We’ve seen the pitfalls of these dog bite cases and we know how to fight to get your medical bills taken care of, and to get you paid for your pain and suffering. We want you to be fully compensated for permanent or serious injuries you suffer.
The South Carolina Dog bite statute can be found here, S.C. Code Ann. §47-3-110
If a person is bitten or otherwise attacked by a dog while the person is in a public place or is lawfully in a private place, including the property of the dog owner or person having the dog in the person’s care or keeping, the dog owner or person having the dog in the person’s care or keeping is liable for the damages suffered by the person bitten or otherwise attacked.