South Carolina law gives you the right to file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit after a dog bite, even if the dog does not have a history of aggressive behavior. By taking action against the dog owner, you may be able to collect damages for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. A dog bite lawyer in Charleston, SC can help.
At George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers, we know how South Carolina’s dog bite law works and the issues you may encounter trying to win this type of claim. We can explain your rights, and help you build a strong case to allow you to recover compensation for your damages. The case review is free, and we handle all Charleston dog bite cases on a contingency basis. This means we do not get paid unless you do.*
Call us today at 843-628-0100 for your complimentary consultation in Charleston.
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Recoverable Damages in a Successful Charleston Dog Bite Case
Many dog bites do not cause serious harm, but significant injuries are possible. In some cases, an attack can cause permanent scarring and disfigurement, as well as lasting impairments. We will fight to help you recover compensation for the treatment of:
- Wound infections
- Deep puncture wounds
- Broken bones
- Nerve, tendon, and ligament damage
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional trauma, physical suffering, and mental anguish
When a serious injury does occur, it may cost your family thousands of dollars for treatment alone. You could still need reconstructive surgery and other ongoing care, as well. The costs of these treatments are all recoverable if we can win your case. We can also try to recover damages for your noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Some common damages we have obtained for past clients include:
- Medical treatment and related expenses
- Physical therapy and other necessary outpatient treatment
- Reconstructive and plastic surgery, when needed
- Ongoing and future care costs
- Lost wages
- Diminished earning capacity
- The cost of emotional counseling to help with any emotional trauma
- Pain and suffering damages
- Mental anguish
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Understanding South Carolina’s Dog Bite Law
You can find South Carolina’s dog bite statute in Section 47-3-110 of the South Carolina Code. This law gives dog bite victims the right to hold the animal’s owner accountable if the dog attacked without provocation. Unlike some states that still follow common law known as the “one bite rule,” South Carolina allows you to hold the owner liable without proving the dog has a history of biting or aggression.
According to the South Carolina law, we only need to meet four elements to hold the dog owner liable for the expenses and losses you suffered because of the attack. They include:
- The dog bit or otherwise attacked you; and
- You suffered injuries during the attack; and
- You were in a public place, had permission to be where you were or had a duty to be there; and
- You did not provoke the dog
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Proving Your Charleston, SC Dog Bite Case
We will identify and collect all available evidence to help us try to prove your Charleston dog bite case. Because of our decades of experience handling this type of claim, we know the tactics the dog owner and his homeowner’s insurance company are likely to use to try to counter our claim. Some challenges we might face include:
The Dog Owner Denying the Attack Ever Happened
We occasionally face a dog owner who denies your injuries came from a dog attack, or claims another dog attacked you. This is more common when the attack occurred in a public place, such as a park. The best way to beat this type of challenge is to contact police and/or animal control immediately after the attack to document exactly what happened and establish a link between the dog and your injuries. Getting prompt medical attention also helps establish the attack as the cause of your injuries.
Claims You Were Trespassing When the Attack Occurred
If an adult trespasses on someone else’s land and a dog attacks, it is much more difficult to recover compensation than if he was legally on the property. Dog owners and their insurers know this and may try to use it to their advantage. The dog owner or insurer may claim you trespassed and the attack occurred while you were illegally on the property. We can fight this challenge by proving:
- You were not on the property when the attack occurred; or
- You had a duty to be on the property; or
- You were an invited guest on the property
You Provoked the Dog to Attack
Perhaps the most frequently challenge we encounter is the claim that you or your child provoked the dog to attack you by teasing or harassing the animal until it became aggressive. Often, it is your word against the dog owner’s, and this may be difficult to prove. However, we may be able to build a case strong enough to overcome this type of challenge and win compensation on your behalf.
Our Charleston personal injury attorneys will investigate the dog’s owner, talk to witnesses, and research past complaints to learn whether the dog chased or bit other people in the past. If the owner knew or should have known the dog was dangerous, we could start from there. Talking to witnesses, checking security cameras on public and private properties, and even enlisting the help of medical experts or animal psychology/behavior specialists are all means to prove your case and win you the compensation you deserve.
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Navigating the Charleston, SC Dog Bite Insurance Claims Process
We may be able to negotiate a fair settlement agreement with the insurance company and avoid having to file a lawsuit against the dog owner, in some cases. We will usually attempt this by sending the insurer a demand letter that includes:
- The evidence we have against its policyholder
- Details about your expenses and losses
- A demand for a fair payout
This letter often triggers settlement negotiations, and we are sometimes able to work out an agreement with the insurance company that covers your damages. Negotiating a settlement will allow us to keep your case out of court.
However, in some cases, the insurer will refuse to offer a fair settlement. If this occurs, we will not hesitate to litigate your case in civil court. South Carolina law gives us three years from the date of the attack to file a lawsuit against the dog owner.
Talk to a Dog Bite Lawyer in Charleston, SC
If you or a member of your family suffered injuries from a Charleston, SC dog bite or other attack, the personal injury lawyers from George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers are standing by to evaluate your case. Our attorneys will handle every aspect of your case, fighting to help you recover the money you need to pay for your treatment, cover lost wages, and make up for other losses.
Call us at 843-628-0100 for your free case review today.
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