You have legal recourse if a dog in South Carolina bit you. You don’t need to prove that the dog was aggressive; you only need to prove that the animal caused you harm.
A Columbia dog bite lawyer from George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers can build your case in accordance with state law and pursue damages from the liable party. We offer free case reviews and will handle your Columbia dog bite case based on contingency. This means you pay nothing up front and don’t pay anything unless we win your case.
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We Can Pursue These Damages on Your Behalf
You can recover a range of damages following a dog bite in Columbia. Some compensable damages in your case may comprise:
- Medical expenses, including treatment and hospitalization
- Physical therapy and other necessary outpatient treatment
- Reconstructive surgery, when needed
- Future care costs
- Lost wages
- Diminished future earning capacity, when applicable
- Mental health counseling
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
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You Generally Have Three Years to File Your Dog Bite Injury Lawsuit
Per S.C. Ann. § 15-3-530, you generally have three years to file your civil lawsuit. If you fail to file your case within the deadline:
- You risk having the courts dismiss your case.
- The insurance company has no incentive to pay your claim.
- The financial burden of your accident could fall on you.
We can file your case within South Carolina’s statute of limitations and advise you of any exceptions.
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What You Can Expect from the Claims Process in South Carolina
When our dog bite injury lawyers take your case, you can expect the following:
We Will Send Your Demand Letter
After we investigate your case, we will write a demand letter and send it to the liable insurance company. This letter will explain:
- The circumstances of the dog bite
- A list of your damages
- The time and date of the incident
- What you expect from the claims process
We will also include that you have secured legal representation. This may compel the claims adjuster to consider an out-of-court settlement.
We Will Negotiate a Settlement
After sending your demand letter, the insurer may offer to negotiate. Hopefully, we can reach a fair settlement agreement during this process.
If the insurer won’t agree to our terms, we can litigate your case in a South Carolina civil court. However, our experience has taught us that, most of the time, we can reach a settlement without going to trial.
We Can File and Handle Your Civil Lawsuit
As noted, we usually have three years to file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner and ask the judge for compensation. To build your lawsuit, we will:
- Interview witnesses
- Calculate your damages
- Present your argument in civil court
- Cross-examine witnesses and take depositions
- Argue against any unfair trial proceedings
- Advise you on what statements you should make
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South Carolina Law Advocates for Victims of Dog Bites
S.C. Code § 47-3-110 outlines the state’s dog bite laws. Under this statute, you can hold the dog’s owner liable for your injuries without proving the dog was aggressive.
Additionally, under this statute, we can hold the dog owner financially responsible for your expenses if we can show:
- The dog bit or attacked you in some way;
- You suffered injuries because of the dog attack;
- You were in a public place, had a duty to be where you were, or had permission; and
- You did not provoke the dog in any way.
Richland County, SC, Ordinances May Apply to Your Case
Richland County outlines the responsibilities of dog owners in the county. Consider how the following could support your injury case:
All Dogs Must Be Licensed
When you get a dog or cat, you must register the animal, per Richland County. Failure to do so could result in a $500 fine. If the dog’s owner didn’t register their pet, we could use this information to supplement your case.
You Should Report the Incident to Richland County Animal Control
Richland County Animal Control keeps records of dog bites. If you were harmed by a dog that was a “repeat offender,” this information can prove the dog’s history of aggression.
You Have the Right to Trap Animals
You have the right to set traps and capture stray animals. If you were bitten by someone’s dog that escaped and then entered your property, you could still hold the dog’s owner liable.
We Can Push Against These Challenges to Your Dog Bite Injury Case
In general, there are four ways the dog’s owner and their homeowner’s insurance company may challenge your claim. During our investigation, we will search for evidence that counters the following arguments:
The Dog did Not Attack You
For whatever reason, the dog’s owner may argue that their pet didn’t attack you. They may contest that your injuries came from something else or a different dog hurt you altogether.
We can use your medical records to prove the nature of your injuries and interview witnesses to the event. Using this information, we can prove that the dog’s owner is financially accountable for your losses.
You did Not Suffer Your Injuries in the Attack
The owner or their insurance company may question whether your injuries really stemmed from the dog attack. For this reason, we recommend getting medical attention immediately following the attack and documenting your injuries with photographs.
You did Not Have Permission to Be on the Property
The dog’s owner might claim that you were trespassing, and their dog acted accordingly.
To counter this, we will need to show:
- You were not on their property when the attack happened; or
- You were legally allowed to be on the premises, such as when making a delivery; or
- The dog’s owner invited you onto their property.
You Provoked the Dog
The dog’s owner might claim that you teased, hit, or taunted the animal prior to the attack. We can use witness testimony to assert otherwise. We may also conduct an investigation into the dog’s history to show that it had an inclination toward violence.
You Can Seek Compensation If You Suffered These (or other) Injuries
Many people think of dog attacks as relatively minor, but that’s not the case. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), infections are common after dog bites. Additionally, lacerations and puncture wounds can lead to permanent scarring and disfigurement.
You could qualify for compensation if you suffered:
- Deep puncture wounds
- Torn flesh and soft tissue injuries
- Broken bones
- Nerve, tendon, and ligament damage
- Emotional trauma and mental anguish
Treating your injuries can cost thousands of dollars. With the help of our dog bite lawyers in Columbia, we can recoup these damages.
Connect with Our Team About Your Dog Bite Case in South Carolina
If you, your child, or an immediate family member suffered a dog bite, the team at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers can handle your case. We will use our years of experience to pursue the full cost of your injury-related losses. Dial (803) 999-2993 to speak with our staff.
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